A primer to game design
Written by Lex Ryan
My name is Lex Ryan, I have a degree in game design and development, have well over 200 board games in our board game room (yes, I have a board game room), and have been a Dungeon Master for D&D for over a decade. If that last credential raises an eyebrow, read on. Needless to say, I’m familiar with the topic at hand.
With some basic mindset explanations out of the way, let’s dive into a little advice for those of you with entire concepts you’d love to see realized on the table. As mentioned above, game designers are just people too, often with other primary jobs or means of income. In other words, you can do this! First up, grab some supplies: pencils, note cards, blank paper, you can even buy blank playing card sized cardstock. Much like software development, testing is key, so jot down your basic idea and rules, then, try it out! Yup, right away! No need to dilly-dally. I assure you; designers don’t dream up an idea, write it all up, and call it a day. It’s actually heavily iterative. And don’t go it alone either, drag your spouse, kids, family and friends into the mix as often as possible for feedback, always being attuned to what is fun.
“But Lex, my idea is for a video game!” I hear you, but even then, many video games start conceptually with paper and pencil too! In the end, when it comes to finally producing game components and assets, be they digital or physical, that’s a discussion for another day, after all, this is just an introductory primer, so get out there and make some games! And most importantly, have fun!