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How to Make Your Own Board Game

Maybe you've got an idea for a board game. How do you get from idea to prototype to testing to product to selling the damn thing?

Well, pretty much that in exactly that order.

I'm going to list the bits that surprised us and what to look out for.

The Idea

Bam! You've stumbled upon the idea. Maybe it came in a flash, maybe it grew over some years. Doesn't matter. If you're here, then the important thing is that you think it's an idea that has legs. Maybe you're interested in spending some real energy on it. Important things to consider right now:

  1. Don't just tell people about the idea. Unless that person/those people are willing to get on board. Write up the idea as best you can. Get serious in your mind about it. You won't know if it's truly a good idea or not for a short while yet. There are some steps to take first.

  2. Are you really ready to follow this through? Do you have the time, the energy, the drive? Do you have anyone who can support you - whether it's financial, emotional, technical or creative? You will likely need support for all of these things.

  3. Are you prepared for failure? This is the easy one. Failure means you have a go, spend some time, perhaps a bit of money and find out that it's not a go-er. Worst case scenario is that you spend up to £10,000 and a year, bring it to market and then it bombs. It's bad, but if you know that's the risk, that's ok. (This was our mindset at the beginning of Game Off. We genuinely expected failure - after all we had no experience and no clue what we were doing. Still don't really).

  4. Are you ready for success? This is the big one. Success means that this becomes your life now. It's like having a child. Every day, every year it grows. It requires more and more attention. And love. And investment. If it succeeds, it will be a full on business with full on responsibilities.


Piece of cake. Whatever you are making, you should have the ability to mock up a crude version of the real thing. Cardboard, cards, drawings, tokens - EASY.

The hardest thing of all is the instructions. No kidding, they are the most boring bit to read and the most difficult thing to write. They encompass every detail of the game but you have to keep them succinct. It makes sense in a way - the instructions are the total sum of what the game is. You have to have them definitely 62% fleshed out by the time you come to your first testing.