Designing a board game is a monumental task. However, you can take one step during the design process that will ensure your game is the best it can be. I want to share how we used that one step to make our game, Loot the Body, better than ever at delivering a great game experience.
Our design team has enjoyed playing Loot the Body since the very first prototype versions. The visuals and exact mechanics have evolved throughout our year long play testing. We recently sent out review copies and the responses have been fantastic. Game play is fast and easy to teach to gamers of all ages. Reviewers and play testers alike have shown a great deal of love for the artwork and style of the game. The themes are fun and work with the game mechanics in a way that make game play intuitive and enjoyable.
But, we wanted more. Like every designer and publisher, we want our game to be the “go to” game on everyones game shelf. With that in mind, we gave ourselves one last design challenge before we get our Kickstarter campaign going. If you want to make your game better, you can take on the same challenge we did.
“Simplify: Remove everything that gets in the way of fun.”
This seems like a no brainer for designing a board game, right? Not exactly. In the process of designing a game, there is a natural tendency to build the game up. It doesn’t matter if you are starting from a theme and then adding mechanics or if you have some great mechanic and you slap art on it later. Creating a game is largely an additive process.
It’s easy for a game to bloat out of control or include parts that just aren’t needed. Do your players really need that extra character ability? Is a third win condition going to encourage people to play a second time? Does your totally functional mechanic add to the game experience or just the component list? Thoughtful game designers keep these types of questions in mind. The answer to most questions like these is to simplify everything you can.
It isn’t always easy knowing where to begin. What needs to go, and what needs to be left alone? You are going to have to get your game in front of people and really listen to what they have to say. It is easy to talk about simplifying, but what does it look like in action? We’ll tell you about what we did to simplify Loot the Body and maximize the fun.
Recognizing the Problem
At its heart, Loot the Body is a card game with a focus on making smart decisions faster than your team mates. The intensity of the game is supposed to mirror the epic battles that occur in traditional Role Playing Games like Dungeons and Dragons. Players think on their feet and act quickly. Different cards are better in some situations than others. I won’t bore you with the math, but it was designed so that every player should always have one or two useful cards no matter the circumstances. Real life isn’t always as friendly as the math might lead you to believe.