The Board Game Design Course

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Game Design

What My 5 Year Old Son Taught Me About Breaking The Rules

I was playing a neat little two-player board game with my son called Nowhere to Go, which I picked up for all of $5 at a gaming convention I went to recently and learned a lot from him.

At first, he was reluctant to play (as he often is the first time) but then loved it so much that we played it about 6 times in a row (as he often wants to…). We pulled it out again a couple of days later and after playing the game once, he suggested we do something different and started to set it up in a new way. I relaxed my urge to say “no, that’s not how it’s played” and went with it. And I’m glad I did…

We laid out the game in the way he wanted and we tried something new. Although it wasn’t necessarily the best game I ever played (I’ll excuse him, he’s new to game design  ), it made me remember that sometimes we have to draw outside the lines and try different things. Even though this is only a two player game, I can see ways to play with 3 or 4 players. I can also see how the layout of this game could work similarly for another game I’ve got in my head.

I’ve heard that improv is also really great for getting the creative juices moving and really embracing the idea of just going with it, not saying no to a suggestion (I’ve heard this is a no-no in improv), and just going with the flow. I’ve done this a bit with friends, but I should look into taking a class sometime…

Have you ever “broken the rules” in a game?  Ever created your own “house rules”?  Has it made the game better or added another interesting dimension?  

Let me know.  I’d love to hear about your experiences.

Don’t let board games become bored games 

Joe

P.S.  If you’re interested in hearing more about Nowhere to Go, check out this video.  It’s a neat little 2 player strategy game that can be fun, especially if playing with kids. 

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