Make a Board Game in 28 Days: A Challenge by Brandon the Game Dev

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I want to try something different today. Today, I have a challenge for you as a board game designer. I want to see you make a board game in 28 days.

I know! It’s a big goal. But I believe momentum builds on itself, and sometimes, the most important thing you can do is get started.

That’s why I’ve provided a 28-day game design challenge for you. You can download it as a PDF, or you can save this web page and read the text. Either’s fine with me – I just want to see you start realizing your goals!

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Full Text

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was Gloomhaven.

But all journeys start with a single step, and sometimes, you just need to build momentum. This 28-day challenge is intended to give you the structure needed to get into the habit of board game design.

Twenty-eight days may not be enough time to make a sellable board game, but it’s enough time to make something. And something is a lot, lot better than nothing!

When you’re done, share your creations to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #BoardGame28 and tag @PangeaBG – I might just share your work with the world. I can’t wait to see what you create!

Stuck along the way?

Check out my series for advice on specific game design challenges:
Start to Finish: Publish and Sell Your First Board Game

Day 1

Brainstorm game concepts for 30 minutes.

Pick one idea worth pursuing. (You can always switch later!)

Day 2

Decide what basic feeling you want to evoke with your game. (The fear of living in a wasteland? The joy of travel?)

Day 3

Pick a win condition!

(Again, don’t worry – if you need to pivot later, you can!)

Day 4

Choose some obstacles or constraints that players must overcome in order to win.

Day 5

Google “list of board game mechanics.” Pick 2-3 that you like and want to incorporate into your game.

Day 6

Write the first draft of your rules. It doesn’t have to be complicated – even bullet points will do for now.

Day 7

Test your game for the first time. Play alone, as all players.

Write down what works and what doesn’t. (You’ll do this a lot – be patient!)

Day 8

Based on what you learned from your first play-test, outline serious issues that need to be fixed before moving on.

Day 9

Attempt to fix the problems you identified yesterday.

Day 10

Write a 100-150 word story for your game. Even if your game isn’t “thematic”, it helps create a consistent experience!

Day 11

Play test your game again. Write down anything you find that doesn’t reinforce the story you want to tell.

Day 12

Attempt to fix the problems you identified yesterday.

Day 13

Find or make simple art for your game.

Don’t overthink it! Stock photos and stick drawings are fine.

Day 14

Look at your game as a whole, without playing it.

Swap out any art that doesn’t reinforce the feeling you’re trying to evoke.

Day 15

Think about components for your game. Find ones you can use, if possible.

You can borrow from other games or even buy cheap Game Crafter supplies.

Day 16

Play the game with your first draft art and components.

Write down what works and what doesn’t.

Day 17

Attempt to fix issues you identified with art or components yesterday.

Day 18

Try to explain your game to someone.

Do they find it easy to understand? If not, write down what they found confusing.

Day 19

Attempt to reduce the complexity of your game so that it is easier to explain.

That said, only remove complexity that serves no purpose.

Day 20

Share your progress on a board game design social media group or chat server.

Write down any feedback you receive.

Day 21

Implement any of yesterday’s feedback that you find useful into your game.

Day 22

Play-test your game alone again. Write down anything that breaks or doesn’t fit the story. (Or, alternatively, rewrite your story.)

Day 23

Attempt to fix the problems you identified yesterday.

Day 24

Play test your game alone once more (yes, seriously). Write down anything that breaks or doesn’t fit the story.

Day 25

Attempt to fix the problems you identified yesterday.

Game design is very iterative – so repeated play-testing is normal, and, in fact, good

Day 26

Play test your game with a friend. Write down anything that breaks or doesn’t fit the story.

Day 27

Attempt to fix the problems you identified in your latest play-testing session.

Day 28

Send your game to someone else for blind play-testing.

Congrats! You just developed a board game!

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