Game Design – The Beginnings

I remember one of the first games I created. It was a game about professional wrestling. I used stand-ups from cut out from the back of a WWF action figure package. I made a ring out of a fancy old box I found in a closet. I had an “energy” counter made from legos. I had a Crown Royal bag filled with dozens of wrestling moves written on paper. I was 12-14 at the time and I thought I had created something amazing. Then it got thrown away. (by accident?)

I made games throughout middle school and even high school. I made them as a diversion the time during school. Another friend of mine also made games; his games were better than mine. We loved to play them. They were about everything from wrestling to Star Trek. We played other games together, but my best memories were when we played our own creations.

My own children have done this as well – but they’ve started earlier. My oldest started making games before she started school. They were simple “roll and move” games, but games nonetheless. They played them together and enjoyed the process. We even got them old games for Christmas one year, so they could use the parts and pieces.

Where does this inherent game-making come from? I think it’s in our nature to create. I also think we like to share the things we’ve made. You don’t have to teach a child to build things with blocks, nor do you have to teach them to show you when they’re done. They love to do both from birth. When my children finished their games, they wanted me to play with them.

Board games fascinate me with their intricacies. This fascination stems from my desire to create and show. When I play, I think about ways I could use that same mechanic in another game idea around a theme I enjoy. My current project, Heartland, is a mash-up of several games I like. I included ideas from Scythe, Cyclades, Stone Age, and a few more I forgot. The point: play more games. In turn, you’ll want to make your own games.

What creations do you have in your mind? What are your game-creating stories?

2 thoughts on “Game Design – The Beginnings”

  1. As a kid the first experience I had with game design was a friend of mine that had designed a variant of Stratego (special races, with different units). The first game I can remember making was in 8th grade. It was a roll and move, but all the players had special abilities and there were items in the game that allowed you to mitigate the dice.

    Now I have 20+ designs in the works. You are right, the desire to create is important. That said, I wish I would stop coming up with new ideas and start working on what I have already lol.

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