Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Messing about with game design.

When it comes to hobbies, I like to do things because I feel like doing them at that moment, not out of a sense of obligation. This is fine for most things in wargaming (figure painting, blogging, research, article writing etc.) but one thing it doesn't work very well for is game design. Every now and then I come up with a few ideas for a boardgame, campaign rules or a solo AI project, and make a start on it. Soon enough though I get distracted, go off and do something else, and leave it unfinished. Unfortunately, by the time I come back to it, I can't make much sense of what it was I was trying to do in the first place. At that point it either goes back into the folder or I have to start the whole process over again. Usually I can't be bothered.

So my 'it's a hobby man, it's for enjoyment, not work' approach falls down for things which, without concentrated effort - and, yes, work - won't ever get anywhere.

But this last couple of weeks I've had a game come to me almost fully formed. It uses bits and pieces of designs I've messed around with in the past, so somehow or other the ideas must have been quietly brewing (or festering, depending on how you like your metaphors!) in the subconscious, and have decided to force their way out now.

The game is certainly not anything groundbreaking or special. In fact it's quite simple, but it does do what it's asked to do, which is quite rewarding.

Now, I just have to make sure that I do get it all finished before I flit off onto something else!


  1. Still worth it in the long run, helps you solidify these things for later refinement. God knows we all have a horrible game design just waiting to be thrust upon our poor friends.

  2. I think it would be satisfying to design rules or a game but have never really felt the urge to try. That said there are so many rules available but only a few I enjoy and play regularly. Good luck with your game!

  3. Go for it and enjoy!

    Providing all the mechanics and ideas match up to a cohesive whole on the first draft, I think you can leave things alone for a while, coming back to them with fresh eyes and then just tinkering to get the thing you want .... which might actually change over time.

    And I agree, unless you are going down a commercial route ... work is not what it should become.

  4. Having written many, many sets of home brew rules, and few semi-commercial ones, I would say that writing commercial ones is MUCH more work, because you can't leave your assumptions unsaid, everything has to be spelled out. Then there are army lists - ugh! On the other hand, there is a certain amount of pressure to get it done!

    I have one home brew rule set idea that I keep starting and then going no where with, in part because there is no pressure to wrap it u - a set of rules for naval combat with 15 mm Renaissance Galleys. I WILL finish it some day!

  5. I look forward to seeing the fruits of your labors.

  6. We talking board gaming or miniature gaming? If board gaming remember I'm very handy with Vassal and can build a game for you to play test.


    1. Thanks very much for the kind offer, Kevin. If it gets beyond the home play stage, I might be in touch!

  7. Intriguing. Good luck on following through!

  8. Thanks all, it's just simple solo friendly stuff at the moment!


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