While we spoke about putting the board games created during Upside’s board game creation exercise up for download, it’s taken us a couple of weeks to get here. Designing, prototyping, developing and play-testing a board game is one thing, packaging it for everyone to play is another. The individual who was lucky enough to convert it from physical prototype to a printable version learned much about game design while creating the PDF.
We wanted to keep the packaging simple and easy to use. During the play-testing session the game creators and developers were around to guide players and make subtle modifications to the game environment, objects or rule-sets. Web-users downloading content will not have such inputs. Also, it was essential for the packaging to allow for easy printing, very different from the rough-hewn games the teams created using the resources provided.
I’ve always considered the design of computer based games as being more complex than that of a board game. There were a few realizations during this exercise that challenged my notions. You can’t expect humans to make millions of calculations as a computer can, this implies that your rules and rule-sets have to be simple enough for humans to process and be able to advance the game state. The game environment must have a limited number of positional options and there must be a limited number of objects to match in (a board game) that environment. All in all, the brute computational force of modern computers possess let them model extremely complex environments with dynamic rule-sets, which humans can’t. When designed, board games must account for basic human processing capabilities; that’s easier said than done. Perhaps the game that pushes those processing capabilities to the maximum is chess, an ancient game that’s evolved into the ultimate board game.
Enough about why it took so long, so here it is, the winning entry from Upside Learning’s board game building challenge. We hope you download, print, paste on card-board or mount board, cut and start playing. A single dice is required to play, not included. We’d like to hear about your experiences, good, bad or otherwise while playing this game. We’re especially interested in how you might have improved the game.