The most boring part of game design

For me, there are a few really exciting parts of game design, some average parts, and then there is one REALLY boring part. These kind of go in chronological order too.

EXCITING PART
The original idea is my favorite part. The moment you feel it click into place and realize that it all might work out.. is so awesome. It might be a mechanic or theme, or combination of both, but it just feels really good to know that you’re onto something.

The first prototype is a lot of fun too. I use cheap decks of cards, index cards, scraps of paper, or even computer printouts for early versions of games. Playing the game in this form is super important. It looks like crap and the mechanics need to speak for themselves, draw you in, and most of all.. work. I’ve saved most of the early prototypes of my games. Some look exactly like the final games and others are just cards with words. Those are my favorite.

The first playtests are great too. There is a level of excitement in those initial games that’s hard to match. Especially if everything is working out.

It’s all downhill from here.

AVERAGE PART
Creating artwork… more tests… researching materials to try and self produce the game… all of these are necessary steps and aren’t that bad, just a little tedious and frustrating. It’s like a “make it or break it” stage where most of my games are currently sitting. I’d love to continue but I’m not a real artist and I have very little money and very little time to get out and playtest. It’s easy to get stuck here.

But if you can get through all of it, you’ll make it to the worst part of all!!!!!

BORING PART
Typing out the rules to your game.

I hate this part so much. Think about how boring it is to read the rules before playing a game. Writing the rules is 1000X worse. In most cases I’ll have the rules written on various sheets of paper and I’ve also partially forgotten how to play. I’ll sit and stare at the paper until it all makes sense and then slowly type it out. It’s the most boring thing in the world.

That’s where I am with Cafe Catastrophe. I forgot some of the exact rules, but luckily found my notes from last year. I assumed the rules were lost and figured I could rewrite from memory. So glad I didn’t have to do that though, because there was one really fun bonus rule that I completely forgot. It’s not a gamechanger, but it definitely adds a little fun to each round.

As of tonight, I’ve typed up all of the rules. Glad to have that behind me. The next stage is to send the game off to print. I’ll be sending it off within the next few weeks and keep you posted about what happens after that. (SPOILER: it’s the promo stage, which is my weakest area…)

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2 Comments on “The most boring part of game design”

  1. Alex says:

    I actually (for soem reason) LIKE writing rules. Can’t explain why. If you ever want another pair of eyes to proof or just try ’em out, lemme know. I like to hand my rules and stuff off to other peopel (so Im not around) and find out later if they were able to get through it without me there. A simple test.

  2. Ben says:

    Good god you are right. I wrote the rules for Dungeon Adventure in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep one night. It’s very simple, but somehow took 6 pages to explain on paper.


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