Got big game ideas but struggling to start? Creating a board game, a dice game, or even a puzzle is no easy task. Beyond the creative process, there’s lots of intricacies to think about and many variables to be aware of. However, no need stress, here are some top tips for designing your first board game.



Choosing a theme is paramount in the design process of your first board game. The theme helps give your game an identity in terms of its setting, narrative, and artwork. The theme is what draws players in and keeps them hooked on your game. It also categorizes the game, therefore targeting a specific market audience within the huge tabletop game industry.

As important as the theme is, it should also correspond and tie into the mechanics of the game. The simplest way to achieve this is to establish the mechanics and use the theme to forge a story that justifies that game. For example, the strategy wargame, Diplomacy, can be categorized as a historical-themed game due to its narrative set in the early years leading up to World War I. The mechanics of this game involves the use psychology, negotiation, and war-like tactics to commandeer opponents’ land, similar to strategies used during the Great War.


When designing a board game, it is important to understand the audience that you aim to attract, and the players of the game. This means using an array of different game pieces that appeal to different genders, age groups, and interests. You can also use different colors and artwork in the design. Typically, fantasy game figure heroes are considered to be male characters, but it would be more inclusive to include female heroes as well. A great example, of a diverse and inclusive board game is Monopoly. This economics game uses different objects as game figures, different instructions for Chance and Community Chest, and different properties along the board to appeal to a wide family-friendly audience.


The game you design should also have some flexibility in terms of its mechanics. In other words, it can be beneficial to design an adaptable game that allows for a number of different players – for both solo and cooperative play. This way the game can be played easier and quicker between smaller groups and be made longer and more difficult for larger groups. You could also aim to provide variations of the game, such as an online version that involves using a mobile application, or a simpler mode of play for younger audiences.


The prototype phase is where your game truly comes to life. The prototype is not the final product, just a model of what you want the game to look like in the early stages of production. When creating your first prototype, there is no need to use the most expensive or top of the line resources. Instead, do the opposite. Take advantage of free resources and cheap game props. For example, FontSpace is an online database of free typography and plastic action figures (that can be found anywhere) can be used as players in a game.


Once you’ve designed a basic protype, be sure to test the game out for yourself. More likely than not, your game will need to go through phases where some aspects may be changed and improved. As such, the more you play, the better the end product will be. Play it on your own, with family, with colleagues, and with friends. Get different opinions from people and openly accept feedback. Testing it out will help you fix any overlooked details and help you gauge the level of interest and satisfaction that others have with your game. This will help not only improve the game but benefit your design skills for any future tabletop dice games.


With that said, it is important to note that designing a board game can be an extensive creative process. This can be a daunting task, but with these top tips in mind, you’ll be all the wiser to bringing your big game ideas to life.