The Board Game Developer - Become A Game Design Ninja
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The Board Game Developer - Become A Game Design Ninja

Learn the principles of game design by developing board games, paper prototyping video games and more.
4.5 (110 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
2,037 students enrolled
Last updated 9/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $100 Discount: 90% off
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  • 8 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • 4 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Learn game design theory and apply it in a practical way to developing engaging board games
  • Create / prototype your own board games as practice challenges throughout the course
  • Be able to create a compelling experience for your players
  • Quickly iterate and improve your game's design
  • Be able to self-publish and publicly launch your own board game
  • Come up with new board game design ideas and execute thoroughly on those ideas
View Curriculum
  • A love of playing games of all kinds and interest in being a better game designer
  • A desire to keep evolving a game idea until it snaps into life
  • Some prototyping tools will be useful such as dice (physical or virtual), and pens, paper and scissors.

Want to learn how to be a better game designer by applying the principles of game design to board games?

Do you have a great idea for a board game and need to know how to make it work?  Do you have some ultra smart mechanics but need to figure out the perfect theme?  Are you stuck trying to figure out where designers get their ideas from?

You're in the right place!  We're here to help you communicate your game design into an excellent player experience.

Starting from first principles and using fun projects we'll help you to make board games from scratch. You'll be having fun with your friends in just a few hours, and who knows - you may just make the next smash hit game...

Who is the target audience?
  • Budding board game designers
  • Video game designers who want to improve their games by having a stronger understanding of game design principles
  • People excited to turn their love of play into new and wonderful board games!
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Curriculum For This Course
47 Lectures
Grid Game: The Designer's Toolbox
14 Lectures 01:51:14

Yann and Rick welcome you to the course and explain what we'll be covering in Section 1 of the course.

Preview 01:06

Toolbox topic #1: Victory Conditions.

  • Where to start when designing your games?
  • What are some of the victory conditions that games use?
  • Let's start designing a (simple) game.

(Unique Video Reference: 2_TB_BGD)

Preview 09:10

We're going to be covering a lot of material in this course, so Rick and Yann have put together The Designer's Notebook.  In it you'll find all the lists and definitions covered throughout the course.  We encourage you to refer back to it often, and if you have any suggestions for things you'd like added to it, let us know in the discussions!

You can access it here: 

The Designer's Notebook

Toolbox topic #2: Mechanics

  • What are mechanics and how are they different from rules?
  • What are some basic mechanics we can play with?
  • What happens if we change a mechanic in our game?

Toolbox topic #3: Rules

  • What are the different kinds of rules
  • How does changing a single rule change our game?
  • Define the basic rules for our Grid Game

If we're going to design some games, it's probably a good idea to have a working idea of what that means.  In this video, Yann explores some of the facets of game design and suggests a working definition for the course.

Preview 04:53

Toolbox Topic #4: Player Experience (Option 1) - Building From the Mechanics

  • Where do we start the design process?
  • Player Experience
  • How do we find the right mechanics for a player experience?
  • How do we find the right theme for the mechanics?
  • Picking the right core mechanics and theme for our grid game.
Player Experience Option 1 - Building from the Mechanics

Toolbox Topic #5: Player Experience (Option 2) - Building From the Theme

  • Where do we start the design process?
  • Player Experience
  • How do we find the right theme for a player experience?
  • How do we find the right mechanics for the theme?
  • Picking the right theme and core mechanics for our grid game.
Player Experience Option 2 - Building from the Theme

Test Your Understanding 1.1
5 questions

Toolbox Topic #6: Components

  • What are some of the more common components?
  • How can we use them?
  • How do we pick the qualities of our components?
  • Picking the components for our grid game.
Preview 13:36

Toolbox Topic #7: Player Choice

  • What is player choice?
  • How much choice is the right amount?
  • How do we apply choice to our game?
Player Choice

Yann looks at Escape from the Curse of the Temple to see how the ideas we've covered in the course apply to the design.

Case Study 1: Escape From The Curse Of The Temple

Game design relies on good playtesting - how do we prepare for our first playtest?

Preparing to Playtest

In the first playtest of Yann's grid game, Future Sumo, we found that the intended player experience and the actual player experience didn't match.  In this video, Yann looks at what we can do about that.

Using Feedback

  1. Matching player experience to play test results
  2. How to solve issues such as being boring with tuning / tweaking rather than adding more features

Solve With Tuning

Test Your Understanding 1.2
3 questions
The Floor is Lava: Deeper into Design Theory
12 Lectures 01:37:46

It's time for section 2, where we'll be making a 2-4 player, 10-15 minute game featuring a pick-up and deliver mechanic.  Let's delve deeper into design theory!

Section 2 Introduction

Now that we have a working definition of what a game is, it's time to ask ourselves what it is we want the players to experience as they play.  In this video, Yann explroes the basic questions to ask when starting to design a game, and we being designing our first game.

Player Centric Design

We cover 7 methods for coming up with game design ideas.

Coming Up With Ideas

In this video Rick discusses his particular process for tapping into a high level of inspiration for coming improving his design.

Design Inspiration

Unifying all the elements of a game around a single key experience can vastly improve the players' experience.  In this video, Yann explores what the essential experience is and how that relates to our game.

Essential Experience

In this video, we explore the concept of user interface design as we create our prototype inventory system

Preview 07:06

Take a moment to check how well you've understood what we've covered in the beginning of this section.

Test your understanding 2.1
5 questions

With the core ideas of the game decided, it's time to create the play space.  In this video, Yann guides us through designing the prototype of the board.

Game Space: The Board

It's time to add movement to our game!  Yann walks us through the more common movement mechanics and explores what makes a choice "interesting".

Basic Mechanics: Movement

We're getting close to having a playable game.  In this video, Yann walks us through what other actions are needed in our game and explores the ideas of cost and risk.

Cost and Risk: Actions

Our game is almost ready - in this video, we fill in the gaps and design all of the items that players can find.  as we do so, Yann builds on the idea of choice while discussing trade-off.

Tradeoff and Choice: Designing Items

Our game is made!  But... it's not ready.  In this video, Yann explores the nuances of playtesting.

Iterative Design: The Why and How of Playtesting

Test your understanding 2.2
5 questions

We close out the section with a look at how the first playtest for The Floor is Lava went.

Playtesting The Floor Is Lava
Deck Builder: Adding the Awesome
18 Lectures 03:22:54

It's time for Section 3!  Here we'll be exploring advanced concepts and techniques while we make a deck building game.

Welcome to Section 3!

If we're going to make a deck builder, we should probably talk about what they are!

What's a Deck Builder?

Yann shows us Paperback by Tim Fowers, a thoughtful, light and lovely little deck builder.

Case Study 2: Paperback

There are a lot of things we can do when we feel like we don't have enough ideas for a game... but what do we do if we have too many?

Preview 10:37

This is a good refresher and overview for those of you not entirely familiar with probability calculations.

Probability Fundamentals

Let's talk about practical considerations for adding probability into your game.

Probability In Your Game

The scariest bit of making a deck builder is actually making the cards.  In this video, Yann talks us through how to design the economy of a game and apply it to a deck builder.

Creating a Game's Economy: Making the Cards

We want our players to know and understand all the information there is in a game... except when we don't.  In this video, Yann looks at how making some information secret can make a game amazing.

Secrets: Obscuring Information from Players

A lying mechanic can make or break a game.  On this video, Yann explores the tips and traps of using bluffing and betrayal mechanics.

Lies: Bluffing and Betrayal

Populating your Deck

Cooperative and team games rely on good communication.  in this video, Yann explores how to make these games even better by removing that communication.

Silence: Making Cooperative Games Awesome

Preparing to Playtest our Deck builder

Scrap Genius is ready for the first phase of playtesting, so Yann and Rick get together (under the watchful eyes of Ben) to see how the game feels.  Will Scrap Genius come together?  Or will Yann have to... scrap it?

Playtesting Scrap Genius

We're talked about tradeoffs and interesting choices.  But what about when every decision is a bad one?  In this video, Yann walks us through dilemma.

Advanced Choice: Dilemma

We've been talking about games where everyone plays with exactly the same resources and abilities.  In this video, we look at what happens when that's not the case.


You can have a truly amazing game designed... but how do you publish it?  In this video, Yann examines the pros and cons of finding a publisher and self-publishing, as well as looks at how to go about doing both.

Publishing Your Game

The future of board gaming or a terrible gimmick?  In this video, Yann takes explores Legacy games and talks about what's required to make one.

Legacy Games

A game can only be as good as its rules manual.  In this video, Yann discusses ways to make your manual as awesome as it can be.

Writing Rules
Let's make a CCG/LCG
1 Lecture 13:25

We get started on our Collectible Card Game/Living Card Game, and Yann explains what makes a card game a CCG or LCG and what the difference between CCGs and LCGs is.

Making a CCG
Bonus Content
1 Lecture 56:57

This is a bonus video of the first Group Coaching Session conducted by Rick and Yann. The video is quite long but is useful as a way to see what questions other people are asking and how their game ideas are coming along.

Bonus - Group Coaching Session #1 Recording
More Content Coming Soon!
1 Lecture 00:18
More Content Coming Soon!
About the Instructor
Yann Burrett
4.5 Average rating
109 Reviews
2,037 Students
1 Course
Theatre Educator, Adjunct Professor, Teaching Artist

Hi!  I'm Yann!

I'm a theatre educator with a Master of Science in Theatre Education degree from the City College of New York and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama and Theatre Arts from Goldsmith's College, University of London.  I currently live in New Jersey, where I teach classes in everything from undergraduate theatre history and public speaking to family retreat courses in group improvisation and theatre games.

I'm a passionate advocate for quality education in all fields, and my pedagogy is routed in a "learner-centered" model.  I love my cats, teaching, playing computer, board and card games, exploring forests and cooking.

Rick Davidson
4.7 Average rating
1,484 Reviews
17,405 Students
3 Courses
Game Career Coach with 13+ years in the Video Game Industry

Rick Davidson has been making video games for a living for more than 13 years as a Designer, Producer, Creative Director, and Executive Producer, creating games for console, mobile, PC and Facebook. He founded an Indie game studio, Inspirado Games, which was acquired in 2012 by Electronic Arts / PopCap. He has worked on cool IPs such as Mario, Transformers, Captain America and Mortal Kombat and created successful new IPs from scratch (such as "GardenMind" which was nominated for Canadian Game of the Year in the social / mobile category).

As a qualified Career Coach, Rick has helped thousands of people achieve their dream of making games for a living - both as Indie Game Developers and as valuable game industry employees. by Ben Tristem
4.6 Average rating
57,902 Reviews
279,391 Students
9 Courses
Learn to Make and Sell Games

GameDev tv was created by best-selling Udemy instructor Ben Tristem to help anyone learn how to develop, design, and sell indie games.  Our team supports Ben in making and maintaining high quality courses that are engaging and entertaining for more than 240,000 students.

GameDev tv offers comprehensive courses on Unity, Blender, Unreal and coding in C#, C++ and more.  Looking to learn about a topic that we don't cover?  Visit our community page and let us know.