Board games


A huge number of board games have been created in the last twenty years or so. The best place to find out about them is at BoardGameGeek.

I tend to like games with a mixture of strategy and luck; not too heavy, but with enough depth that an experienced player has an advantage. I’m also a “social gamer” – everybody having fun is more important to me than winning (though I still want a challenge!).

Here are a few games I have enjoyed.

Bang!   Basari   Carcassonne   Cartagena   Catan   Chronology   Clans   Cleudo   Coloretto   Diamant   Dixit   Duell   Empire Builder   Galaxy Trucker   Glory to Rome   Hamsterolle   Hare & Tortoise   Hey, That’s My Fish!   Ingenious   K2   Kill Doctor Lucky   Liar’s Dice   Limits   Loot   Lost Cities   Mississippi Queen   No Thanks!   Outpost   Pack & Stack   Pandemic   Pitch Car   Powerboats   Ricochet Robots   Risk   RoboRally   Roll Through The Ages   Samarkand: Routes To Riches   Scrabble   Snow Tails   Starship Catan   Survive: Escape From Atlantis!   Thebes   Ticket To Ride   Tobago   Tumblin’ Dice   Valdora   Vikings   Village   Wits & Wagers  

Game design

I design board games as a hobby, but so far nothing is at the publishable stage. Three or four of them might be close, though.

A collage of some board game prototypes (mouse over for descriptions):

Travellers’ Tales game board Travellers’ Tales

Players travel around an island encountering strange creatures, then report their sightings in distant cities. The first to report a creature in a particular city gets the most points.

There are different transport types, each with its own speed and terrain restrictions. The winner is the first to reach the target score.
Artisan game board Artisan

Players are craftsmen learning various trades. Training costs money, but loans are available (with interest each turn). Each job has a minimum skill level, so more training means higher income.

Each town space has cards showing jobs and training opportunites. The winner is the player with the most money when the cards run out.
Escape game board Escape

Incomplete game. The idea was to escape from prison while avoiding the guards (who are controlled by all players). The escape route for each prisoner is from one of the six rooms to the room on the opposite side of the board.

Pink spaces are safe, but only have room for one prisoner each.
Colours game tiles Colours

Starting from nothing, players aim to get at least ten blue cubes and none of any other colour. There are six different cube colours.

The board is made of 6x6 tiles. Players roll a die each turn for movement (in a straight line; the board wraps around). Different spaces make you gain or lose cubes, or transform between colours.
DNA game tiles DNA

DNA uses twenty double-sided tiles, half red/yellow, half blue/green. Theses are placed randomly in a row. Players draw a secret “pattern” card, which shows a sequence of six colours. The aim is to be the first player to make their pattern appear somewhere in the sequence of tiles.

Players use one action card each turn. Actions include swapping two tiles, moving a tile 1-2 spaces, flipping over 1-3 tiles, rearranging three adjacent tiles and reversing a group of 4-5 tiles.
Gravbots game board Gravbots

Each player has a different kind of repair robot, which can walk, jump and change its own gravity. It can also move sliding platforms to help reach its targets. Each player always has two targets; whenever a target is repaired, a new one appears.

A robot cannot fall, or cause another robot to fall, more than four spaces. The winner is the first robot to finish five repairs.
Dino Harvest game board Dino Harvest

Players ride dinosaurs around collecting different types of fruit, delivering it to the towns. Each town wants just one type of fruit, which changes (to the next type in a queue) when the fruit is delivered.

Cards are used for movement. The cards also show where the next fruit will appear on the board, but the previous player chooses which type of fruit.
Chase game board Chase

This game uses a modular board of seven tiles with ten hexes each.

The rules have vanished, but the general idea was that each player chases one player, and is chased by another player. Movement cards let you travel through different kinds of spaces.
Map for an unnamed game Unnamed game

This map was the starting point for a game that didn’t end up being made; I might try it again one day.

There are land and sea routes, villages and some other special locations.
Herbalist game board Herbalist

Players are collecting herbs in a forest (tiles showing A-Z). All of the tiles are divided evenly between the players, who place them face down anywhere on the board.

To help remember where they are, the players draw anything they like (no letters or numbers) on the backs of the tiles. Players then move around the board collecting the herbs they require.
Symbols game cards Symbols

A game where you need to remember how to pronounce various symbols (pronounced differently every game). The set of symbols slowly changes, and multi-syllable words begin to appear.
The Usual Suspects game board The Usual Suspects

Eight people are suspected of a crime. Players secretly want some of them to look guilty or innocent.

As evidence is revealed, players use influence cards to make particular people look more or less guilty.
Travellers’ Tales game board (original version) Original Travellers’ Tales

This was the original version of Travellers’ Tales (top left).

Players had a rack of hexagonal tiles, which they placed on the board. Movement was only allowed through spaces with a tile on them.
Knights of Valour cards Knights of Valour

The players are roaming knights, performing valiant deeds to grow in six knightly virtues.

Performing a deed requires certain cubes to be collected; past deeds give a permanent bonus towards these requirements.
Knights of Valour game board Knights of Valour

The players are roaming knights, performing valiant deeds to grow in six knightly virtues.

Performing a deed requires certain cubes to be collected; past deeds give a permanent bonus towards these requirements.

If you are interested in designing a board game, the design forum on BoardGameGeek is a great place to discuss ideas. You might also like the Board Game Designers’ Forum.

(There is no need to worry about someone stealing your ideas: firstly, the game design community isn’t like that; and secondly, it isn’t worth stealing an untested idea anyway – it takes a lot of playtesting and revision to go from an idea to the final design).

A post about rule book writing might also be helpful.


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