Choose One and don’t forget to include the title.
Challenge : Pick a Game, Any Game
For this challenge, you have been contacted by Activision/Blizzard and asked to review the current year’s releases and create a board-game prototype for one of those games. They are considering simultaneous digital and non-digital releases in the future and want to get an idea of how your group would interpret a video game in board-game form.
Internet connection (for research)
Copy of video game you plan to turn into a board game (optional)
Polished, production-grade board game complete with all components
Prototype board game complete with all components
Complete set of written rules
Choose your game.
Make a list of the relevant games that you own, or at least have played. There are two ways to approach this. For an easier challenge, choose a game on your list that seems like it would make a particularly interesting board game. If you are an experienced designer (or just feeling a bit adventurous), choose a game that really takes advantage of the digital medium so that a direct conversion to a board game is impossible.
Choose a method.
Literal, thematic, or mechanic? Designing a board game based on a single core mechanic is different from starting with a narrative. Is a literal conversion even possible? Most of the time it is, but it may not make for the most compelling choice
Determine player expectation.
What will players of the video game expect when they play your board-game version of it? At minimum, they usually expect to see the same signs and symbols of the digital game, the familiar characters, and something reminiscent of the game-play. List everything you think players will expect in your game, and then determine which of those are actually possible to present.
Scavenge what you can.
List all of the elements you can lift immediately from your video game. This provides you with a starting point, either by giving you a narrative, a core mechanic, or an entire set of mechanics and dynamics. For instance, if your video game involves acquiring land, you can probably make the acquisition of land and the mechanics used to acquire it a central point of your board game.
Fill in the blanks.
List everything you’re missing before you have a complete game. You may need to design additional mechanics, or player goals, or a narrative, or several other things. Grow your game from your starting point in step 4, one item at a time, until you have enough of a game to play it.
Create a prototype and a tentative set of written rules. Use scrap materials, so that changes are easy to make. (You will be making many changes after your initial prototype, guaranteed.) Play the game a few times and see if you run into any situations the rules don’t mention, and make your rules more complete. Also pay attention to the experience. Is the game fun? Are players making interesting decisions? Does the game feel like a solid representation of the source material?
Challenge : Luck Tac Toe
Let’s start with a simple game, Tic-Tac-Toe (better known as Crosses and Naughts in some parts of the world). The original game is purely a game of skill—you decide where you want to put the X or the O. Let’s add some luck.
Modify this game by adding one or more chance-based mechanics. You may also add other skill-based mechanics provided that the game still resembles Tic-Tac-Toe at its core. At the same time, you must make the game good for adult players, a significant challenge, particularly since they are often jaded about the game. When’s the last time you heard someone over the age of eight say, “Yeah! Let’s play a game of Tic-Tac-Toe!”
Remember that rolling a d10 to decide where you place your X or your O isn’t likely to result in riveting gameplay. However, out there exists some combination of mechanics that can make this old standby compelling again.
The new game
Written rules modification for the new game
Analysis of whether your modification makes the original game better or worse, and why (optional)
Brainstorm and playtest.
There are many ways to add an element of luck to this game. A die roll. Selecting a card. Tiles. Select one and try it out against yourself. Notice the effect that adding luck has on this game. Also notice how different the game plays when you use different kinds of chance.