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...
Yann and Rick welcome you to the course and explain what we'll be covering in Section 1 of the course.
Toolbox topic #1: Victory Conditions.
(Unique Video Reference: 2_TB_BGD)
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: https://goo.gl/6sP1b1
Toolbox topic #2: Mechanics
Toolbox topic #3: Rules
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.
Toolbox Topic #4: Player Experience (Option 1) - Building From the Mechanics
Toolbox Topic #5: Player Experience (Option 2) - Building From the Theme
Toolbox Topic #6: Components
Toolbox Topic #7: 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.
Game design relies on good playtesting - how do we prepare for our first 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.
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!
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.
We cover 7 methods for coming up with game design ideas.
In this video Rick discusses his particular process for tapping into a high level of inspiration for coming improving his design.
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.
In this video, we explore the concept of user interface design as we create our prototype inventory system
Take a moment to check how well you've understood what we've covered in the beginning of this section.
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.
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".
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.
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.
Our game is made! But... it's not ready. In this video, Yann explores the nuances of playtesting.
We close out the section with a look at how the first playtest for The Floor is Lava went.
It's time for Section 3! Here we'll be exploring advanced concepts and techniques while we make a deck building game.
If we're going to make a deck builder, we should probably talk about what they are!
Yann shows us Paperback by Tim Fowers, a thoughtful, light and lovely little deck builder.
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?
This is a good refresher and overview for those of you not entirely familiar with probability calculations.
Let's talk about practical considerations for adding probability into 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.
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.
A lying mechanic can make or break a game. On this video, Yann explores the tips and traps of using bluffing and betrayal mechanics.
Cooperative and team games rely on good communication. in this video, Yann explores how to make these games even better by removing that communication.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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