Connect with us


You Wanna Design A Boardgame? Here Are Some Resources To Help You On Your Way

So you wanna be a board game superstar, live large, big house, five cars? Start here.



Hey. How are you? It’s about 10 PM right now (22:00 for you militant types) and I’m thinking about a game my buddy Geoff has been working on for a couple of years now. It’s called Into the Dark. Not gonna try to hide it: we’re a bunch of Star Trek fans and wanted to make a game that had elements of the old Star Trek: CCG game from way back when (early 90’s). It kinda plays like an Atari game. You have 10 points each round to move different personnel types like security, engineering, medical across the board trying to uncover “missions” to solve. It sounds fun, right?! There’s combat, exploration, tons of random encounters….I love the idea. The game itself is admittedly a little…meh.

Pretty much since he started on his quest (aided by his trusty game testers), we’ve been talking about hitting up some board game design workshops to talk to and learn from people who know more about it than we do. It’s kinda like music or sports (or a bunch of other things)… creating a great song or making a great play isn’t as easy as just being able to appreciate someone else’s hard work.

I don’t know if that made sense. Sometimes my anecdotes are so tight and sometimes they just aren’t right. You get what I’m getting at though, right? Board games are hard to make. Finding and using the right mechanics. Keeping it fresh but also familiar. So anyway, if you’re like me and countless other, check out this list of resources that could help you take a vague game idea, flesh it out and make the next big thing!

Intro to Game Design: Building a Virtual Board Game (online)

Let’s start here. If you’re brand new to board game design and think that a structured approach would suit you best, the Vancouver Film School has you covered. For $150, you can sign up for their intro into game design. Here, you’ll learn how to build a virtual board game. Now, I know not everyone is looking how to make virtual games but you’re still going to be exposed to the different mechanics that make a game work and be given hints on how to best utilize space (so things aren’t cluttered and messy).

The course is taught by award winning game designer and publisher, Jay Cormier. With over a dozen games designed and published under his name, Cormier is a Canadian celebrity in the world of board games. You’ll not only learn how to create your own game using Tabletopia, but you’ll also learn how to deal with intangibles of board game design: uncertainty, feedback loops and general mechanics.

If you’re like me, sometimes you need to put a little money down to really prove that you’re serious about taking on a task. There’s a lot of free learning tools out there, but having a proven master to teach you and interact with is a huge bonus. The next course starts at the end of April, just in case I’ve piqued your curiousity.

Stonemaier Games: How to Design a Tabletop Game

We’re bouncing from a paid, official source of game design to a free, community centered site for all things related to board game building. Stonemaier Games has a slew of games under it’s belt including critically acclaimed titles such as the beautifully rendered Wingspan and Scythe (a game that garnered much attention when it’s Kickstarter campaign brought in over 1 million dollars).

Maybe they want to share the wealth and pay back from their years in the industry but whatever the reason, the nice people over at Stonemaier Games have compiled a sizeable data base for the aspiring game designer. There’s information on everything from how to get started, playtesting tips, communities to join and even how to effectively launch your own crowd funder. Check out the link here and get motivated!

The Board Game Design Course

this guy games

I don’t know how I feel about pitches that promise to get something done incredibly fast. Board game design, at least to me, is not a fast thing. It takes time and refinement, not just relating to the game itself but also to the individual. As you learn, and inevitably stumble on your journey, you’ll discover what you enjoy about game design and likely will gravitate towards a style all your own.

That being said, this course promises to teach you to make a board game in 10 minutes! Course creator, Joe Slack, has been designing board games since 2014 and has allegedly helped thousands of people to define, refine and produce board games of their own. Slack also teaches a course on game design and development at Wilfred Laurier University where, anecdotally, I dated a girl years ago who broke my heart. Her student card food program included Pizza Pizza so one time we ordered a pizza with every topping on it. It was glorious and disguting.

I’d say that, aside from the 10 minutes to learn to make a board game ploy, this guy looks pretty serious about game design and likely could teach you a couple things along the way. Check out the link to the course here.

True Talk With Tommy: Lynnvander Studios

Last on our list, if you’re more interested in joining a gaming community where you can sort of immerse yourself and rub elbows (virtually) with game designers, then this Twitch stream is for you. Founder of Lynnvander Studios and veteran board game designer, Tommy Gofton, hosts a somewhat ad hoc stream where gamers from all over the world can log in and interact with the Lynnvander design team.

They cover all sorts of things from game release updates, board game reviews and walkthroughs as well as just a bunch of shooting the proverbial shit. They’re a fun group and if you’re looking to learn what makes, or doesn’t make a game work, these guys generally have a lot to say and they’re pretty smart about it.

Here’s a link to the most recent episode for you to peruse!

To all board game fanatics! Check out our Twitch schedule and see what we’re cooking up over at sixsidesofgaming. Subscribers get access to giveaways, exclusive content, sneak peeks at upcoming games and most importantly, some damn fine entertainment.

Continue Reading

Recent Posts