So, I’ve primarily talked about living and working as an artist on this blog (when I’m not forgetting to add to it that is. My bad). But now, here is a little something else. One of my hobbies is board games, especially euro-strategy games on the lighter side. Carcassonne and Small World are two mainstays, though anything with area control is good.
In the last few years, I’ve added something else to my repertoire: game design. For me it has that perfect balance of creative brainstorming, problem solving and design. I enjoy working out the core mechanism and figuring out how that fits in with the theme, and then extrapolating out what other components should exist.
So, “where are these games?” you might be thinking… that’s the sad news. So far none of them have really seen the light of day. I’ve made prototypes of several and even play tested one design quite a bit. But one key roadblock is that I don’t really know anything about game publishing, and most of the early games I designed were somewhat involved (in fact the hardest thing I’ve found in my designs of how to have it be thematically and strategically rich, while still being simple). So it’s just way to much to bite off for a first attempt at publishing.
And then there’s the whole issue of time. It takes lots of time to make a game tick, not just in the conceptual phase, but also in the prototype, play test, edit phase that often feels like an endless circle. While being a game designer full time sounds like a pretty awesome job, that’s not where I’m at right now.
However, if I ever am able to devote more time to it in the future, I have a game book. It’s where I write down and sketch out all my ideas related to game design. If I think of a particularly interesting thematic element, it goes in. If I work out a new core mechanic, I sketch it out and describe how it works. Essentially, I’m giving myself a map to use later on to recreate the inspirations I’m having now. I’ve never been much of a journaler (as you can tell by my irregularity here) but this is about as close as I get.
As a result of this game journal, I’ve been able to focus my brainstorms on increasingly simpler games. My goal is to completely produce one of these games to cut my teeth on, and then as I am able to devote more time and gain expertise, I can develop more involved themes.
What’s exciting to me now, is that I’ve been prototyping and play testing one of these simplified games (it only uses just a single deck of cards) and it’s almost ready to get beta released. So, hopefully I’ll be posting soon with a much more finished game as I start on my gaming journey.