Are you looking for a fun way to spend quality time with your family? Creating your own board game is a great way to do this! From coming up with the concept, to designing the board, to playing it together, designing your own game is a fun, creative way to bring your family together. In this guide, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to make your own family board game.
1. What You Need to Get Started
Making your own family board game is a fun, fulfilling activity that can be enjoyed by everyone. To help get you started, here’s a list of what you need:
- Supplies – Pencils, markers, scissors, paint and a big sheet of poster paper, foam board, or an old game board for your map.
- Ideas – Get creative with your game by adding unique ideas or themes that your family will love.
- Time – Set aside time to brainstorm, draw, and make the board game.
- Player – Have at least one other person help you to play test and see how the game works.
Once you have all these pieces, you’re ready to get started and make your own unique board game. Make sure you have plenty of fun and happy gaming!
2. Stories at the Heart of Your Family Board Game
Creating a board game for your family can be a great way to bring everyone together for a night of fun and entertainment. But the key to creating a successful game lies in its contents which are, in this case, the stories within it. In this section, we’ll provide tips to creating stories that will keep your family engaged and entertained as they play your home-made board game.
- Choose a Theme: When it comes to creating stories and tasks for your family board game, the best place to start is by choosing a theme. A theme can be anything from solving a mystery, to competing in a race, to engaging in a scavenger hunt. Think of something that would interest your family and use that to help create your game.
- Think of the Setting: After you have a theme picked out, the next step is to map out your game’s setting. Whether it be an ancient city, a themed park, or a mythical world, think of the environment where your game will take place and the characters that are in it.
- Create a Plot: With the setting in place, you can now create a plot for your game. Think of a problem or challenge that requires your characters to search for clues, solve puzzles, or outsmart opponents. When creating your plot, make sure it contains enough twists and turns to keep things interesting.
- Create Interactions: When writing your story, remember to include events that facilitate positive interactions between the players. This could mean designing tasks that require team-work or cooperation in order to progress within the game.
- Set Goals: Finally, make sure you set achievable goals within the game that will help players see progress. This could mean collecting pieces or answering questions correctly. Having a goal will help keep the game engaging and allow players to feel accomplished.
By taking the time to create an interesting setting and thought-provoking storyline, you can make sure your family board game is one that everyone will enjoy.
3. Rules for Your Game
Rule #1: Start off by choosing a category to base the game off of. It can be anything from popular culture to history, or something more imaginative like fantasy or science fiction.
Rule #2: Set the objectives for the game. Will each player have a specific goal they must reach, or will all players be trying to achieve the same outcome?
Rule #3: Establish the game pieces. Choose tokens or figures that represent the players, and determine how many pieces are needed as well as their individual values.
Rule #4: Decide on the playing surface. A large game board is nice, but it can also be played on paper or even pre-made board games.
Rule #5: Design the layout of the game. How many spaces are there between each turn? Which corners are bonus points? What are the consequences of landing on certain squares?
Rule #6: Construct the game pieces and board. This is the fun part, where you can let your creativity shine and truly make the game unique.
Rule #7: Choose game pieces that appear in each round. Will it be dice, cards, or a combination of both? Determine how these pieces will affect the game play and make sure they are balanced.
Rule #8: Finalize the scoring system. How will players add up their points? What rules are in place for getting extra points? Make sure the entire system is clear and concise.
Rule #9: Invite people to play. Test out the game with a few friends or family members to see how it works and make sure it’s actually fun. You may need to tweak a few rules before inviting a larger group.
Rule #10: Have fun! This game is completely yours and it should be just as unique and enjoyable as its maker. Enjoy playing with your friends and family and have a great time!
4. Crafting the Perfect Game Environment
If you’re considering creating a homemade family board game, take the time to craft an environment that’s both inviting and balanced. Crafting a great game environment takes some skill, but the results can be rewarding. Here’s how to get started:
- Set the Rules: Establish rules for how the game will be played, including winning strategies and acceptable player behavior. Keep the rules clear and concise but also ensure they’re flexible enough to account for contingencies.
- Animate the Theme: Use imagery and language to bring the setting of your game to life. Create a vivid backdrop that will inspire your players. Consider all the possibilities from the choice of colors and materials to the sounds that will accompany their play.
- Reinforce Debate & Chart Progress: Encourage players to debate their options and chart progress throughout the game. Keep the pace of the game steady by ensuring all decisions can be made quickly, while maximizing the chances for dispute and compromise.
- Adjust the Level of Difficulty: Don’t make winning the game a foregone conclusion. Carefully balance challenge and reward, with an eye on keeping the difficulty level consistent. Make sure there is enough of a challenge to stay interesting, but not to the point of frustration.
By taking the time to curate the right environment for your family board game, you can create an alluring and balanced play experience for all involved. Keep these guidelines in mind and you can craft the perfect game atmosphere in no time.
5. Making Your Game Pieces
Creating your own game pieces can be a fun and creative way to customize and personalize your board game. Depending on the complexity and level of customization you want to achieve, you may already have the game pieces you need around the house. Or, if you’d like to create more intricate game pieces, here are a few ideas:
- Sculpt game pieces out of clay or other soft materials.
- Design game pieces using cardboard, wood, or fabric.
- Re-purpose small items that resemble game pieces, such as marbles or buttons.
- Make gaming tokens from coins.
Make sure the game pieces are both visually attractive, and easy to move. Additionally, you may need to result in supplemental pieces such as roll of a die or a spin wheel. Finally, if you plan to store your game and take it around, make sure you have sturdy, travel-friendly pieces that pack efficiently.
6. Designing Visuals for Your Game Board
Now it’s time for the most creative step of the guide–designing the visuals for your board game! With the help of a few materials and some imagination, you can turn your board into a beautiful piece of work that’ll be a hit with everyone.
- Decide on a color scheme – go with something vibrant and fun but also something that ties the design together. For instance, pick a primary and a secondary color and incorporate them throughout the entire game board.
- Select pieces and tokens – don’t forget details like dice, game pieces, and game tokens. Think about what kind of game you created and choose pieces that correspond to it.
- Create the board layout – using graph paper or blank paper, sketch out a layout for your game board or cards. Once you’re satisfied with the design, transfer the elements to your board or cards.
- Design the visuals – incorporate words, images, and symbols in your game board or cards to make it look more visually appealing.
- Glue the pieces - for a lasting product, use a strong adhesive that will keep everything in place.
With a little patience and creativity, you’ll soon have a board game worthy of any family game night. Get ready to prove once and for all who the best board game designer in the house is.
7. Gathering the Right Supplies
Having the right supplies can be half the battle when making your own board game. Here is a list of items that you will need to create a fun and accessible family board game:
- Board: Be sure to draw or design a sturdy board that will lie flat and straight during gameplay. Make sure the board is balanced and able to fit all the pieces.
- Pieces: You will need pieces to move around your board. Anything from coins, stones, or small toys will do the trick.
- Dice: Think of a number that best fits the game. You can print your own custom dice or use the standard 6-sided ones.
- Chance cards: If you are making a game that involves chance cards, then you will need to decide what they should say and feature.
No matter how complicated or simple your game is, having the right supplies is key to you and your family’s gaming success! Be sure to gather all the items you need and store them neatly and safely for the next game night.
8. Drawing Inspiration from Other Board Games
When creating your own board game, it is helpful to draw inspiration from existing games that others have created. Doing so can give you ideas for game mechanics, components, visuals, and more. Here are eight starting points for inspiration:
- Monopoly – Monopoly is one of the most popular board games ever made, with a variety of interesting features which can be adapted for your own game. These include the option to buy and sell property, charge rent, and move around a board.
- Risk – Risk takes the idea of war and turns it into a board game. Players use strategy and tactics to capture and occupy territories, with bonus cards as rewards. Consider how you could convert a similar concept to your own game.
- Scrabble – Using words to create a board game can be a great way to get your family thinking. Scrabble helps to develop language skills, with players needing to form words from short and long letter tiles.
- Strategy games – Chess, checkers, and go may all seem simple at first but they contain a wealth of strategy and tactics. Which moves will benefit you and can you attack without leaving yourself vulnerable? Can you develop a board game with a similar concept?
- Carcassonne – Carcassonne is a tile game in which players build a medieval landscape. But you don’t need to stick to medieval castles and meadows; why not create a game based on a different theme?
- 30 Seconds – 30 Seconds is a party game which tests players’ ability to correctly guess different words. Could you create something similar, to test their knowledge of something else, like their own family history?
- Mancala – Mancala is an ancient game which dates back to the 6th century. Players take turns moving stones between different corners of the board. Could you create something similar, perhaps with a modern twist?
- Ticket to Ride – Ticket to Ride is a strategic game involving travel on rail routes, with players trying to acquire the longest route and score the most points. Can you develop a game which has a similar concept but differs in terms of theme?
Drawing inspiration from existing board games can really help as you develop your own game. In doing so, it is important to remember to make it unique. You do not want to replicate existing games and risk allegations of plagiarism.
9. Guidelines for Playtesting Your Board Game
The creation phase of your custom board game product is complete. But before the game can go to store shelves and be shipped out to players around the world, it needs to be playtested. To ensure quality and provide the best experience possible for your players, here are the guidelines for your playtesting process:
- EnLIST Volunteers: Reach out to potential volunteers through friends and family, local game meetups, and online discord groups. Make sure to provide plenty of information about the game and the playtesting process to potential volunteers.
- Host Multiple Sessions: Before your game is ready to hit store shelves, it needs to be playtested multiple times by different groups. Host playtesting sessions with various individuals, including children, adults, and experts, to get a variety of feedback.
- Solicit Feedback: Solicit feedback during and after playtest sessions. Listen carefully to player comments and discussions. Make note of any areas of confusion, frustration, or improvement and use these to better improve the game.
- Focus on Quality: Don’t just ensure your game is simply playable; focus on making a game that provides an unforgettable experience. Incorporate feedback and adjust the game and its components until you are certain it provides a quality, enjoyable experience.
- Take a Break: Take a break between playtesting sessions. Leave some time lapse between test sessions to ensure playtesters aren’t overfamiliar with the game. This will help give you a true account of how familiar players interact with the game.
By following the guidelines for playtesting, your board game is sure to become a family favorite!
10. Wrapping Up Your Creation
Once your game is complete, it’s time to wrap it up. Here are some final steps that will help ensure your game is ready to play:
- Check the Rules: Make sure all the rules make sense and can be understood by all players. Test the game out with a few people and have them tell you if anything needs to be changed.
- Organize the Pieces: Put all the pieces into labeled plastic bags or containers so that it’s easy to keep track of them. For extra protection, consider numbering each piece and adding them to an individual compartment.
- Create a Cover: If desired, you can make a cover or slipcover for your game board. This can be anything from card stock and fabric to a photo or painting of your own creation.
- Allow for Personalization: If you’d like, you can let players customize their own tokens, cards, or boards. This can add replayability and make the game infinitely more interesting.
Once you’ve finished these steps, your game is ready for play! Let your family and friends know that you’ve created a game, and let the good times roll.
If you’re not sure where to start, the best advice we can give is to just go for it. With your own unique family board game, you’ll be able to spend hours of quality time together as a family – which, after all, is really what it’s all about. So, what are you waiting for? Get creative and have fun!