You know how they say “for every movie made there are 100 scripts on the shelf”? Games are the same. I took one of my game ideas off the shelf recently. It had started as a video game riff on everyone's least favorite game mechanic, inventory management, but I have made some significant changes. Most notably, I’ve changed it into a board game.
The original intent for this game was for it to be a mobile or tablet, single player game that demanded fast reactions and decisions. Of course that sort of thing is not the strength of board games. Board games are slower, more contemplative, and usually turn based. The best board games are very communication focused. Creating an excuse for people to talk around a table is where board games shine.
With that in mind, I had one of those shower thought moments where it occurred to me that Adventure Caddie could become a cooperative multiplayer game. Then I figured out how it would work turn based. After that it became a matter of putting it together to test it.
I made some simple board and piece graphics in a vector program, printed them out, and glued them down to some cereal boxes. It’s a really quick way to make usable board game prototypes and I highly recommend it. Then I started playing parts of it to see what worked and what didn’t.
I was lucky that I had written quite a lot of documentation about the rules and mechanics of the video game version, so a lot of the toughest problems had already been solved. I had spreadsheets with different in game items, characters, and enemies already filled out. I started going through all of it and tuning everything to the slower board game pace.
Currently I have it working, but the numbers are all way off. The game isn’t balanced. It is far too easy to get caught in a loop of failure or success. It plays, but I don’t think that people would want to keep playing once they sense the ultimate outcome of all of their item moving and die rolling might have come down to one move early in the game. Like I said, it’s not balanced.
I have been going through my spreadsheets and tuning up the numbers and then copying them on to little cardboard squares. I hope to have it ready for some larger scale playtests soon to work out even more of the kinks. After that… who knows. Maybe I make it a print and play on my site, try to sell a few copies, or both. No matter what happens, it feels good to get one idea off the shelf and made real. Dozens more to go.