Mar 062008

My first full fledged attempt to design a game started about two years ago. It began when I read a description of a game on some webpage. The game was Light Speed by Cheapass Games. The game sounded awesome. So awesome that on my lunch break that was all I talked about. In my mind I had this image of an epic space game that took place in real time but had elements of strategy and lots of theme. There would be abilities, commanders, and many kinds of space ships that had different capabilities. The description did not talk about these things but I knew that a game this cool would have to have this stuff. I went to my local game store later that night and what I saw hanging up in a little zip lock bag shattered my dream of an epic real-time space battle game. I bought it, took it home, and played it with my wife. It was certainly not the game I wanted it to be. For what it is I think it is a cool little game. Just not the game I had imagined.

The next day at lunch I told my friend all about the true nature Light Speed. That’s when Kendrick suggested that I design the game that I had described to him. What a simple idea, design a game. I knew exactly what I wanted it to be like. I had already tinkered with one other board game design, and I had a growing collection of 3 modern board games in my collection. So how hard could it be? Well that was about two years ago and its still in development. But my game collection is now about 100.

It only took me about 3 days to get the first version of the game ready to play test. I had two very close friends that I had been playing games with for years. So I enlisted them to be my play testers. Our first play test of the game was a lot of fun. At the time I thought it went great. The game had many issues, but it worked. My two friends play tested the game with the same competitiveness reserved for tournament games of Magic where there is money on the line. I later realized that this is not the best way to play test your games.

I had the basic design for the game so I started to develop it. Of course, the more we played the game, the better we got at it. This meant the game got easier so to keep it interesting, I added more elements to the game. After about 200 plays, many revisions and tons of additions to the game I believed it to be done. My friends thought it was awesome! It was a game that required both speed and strategy to play. It was epic. It was thematic. What I failed to realize though, was that I had inadvertently designed a game that only we could play. We thought it was easy to play, and for us it was. We had over 200 games worth of practice. But it was way too much for a beginner to learn. I could teach it well enough but most people thought it had too many things going on at once, so I put the game on hold.

A few weeks ago I decided that I was going to dedicate the next 8 months to working on expansions to my game Taktika. Even with that goal, for some reason all I can think about is working on Galaxy in Flames again. My goal for the rest of this month is to finish developing GIF. Dan and I play tested the newest version of it Tuesday night and I think it went very well. I’m excited about the game again. Maybe I can even finish it this time.