How to create a board game

A few days ago, I left my job. I’d been there for five and a half years, and while I still enjoyed it, there were the odd bits with which I was getting tired. Plus, I was tired full stop – I have two young children, and my partner had just got a full time job after being part time since Small One No 1 was born, and it was clear that us both working full time was the quickest route to burnout and breakdown. So, I’ve left to do other things, including this game.

I’ve had this game on my mind for a while. Sam Walton, a former colleague of mine, was one of two people who broke into BAE Systems Warton on 29 January 2017. He and Daniel Woodhouse didn’t manage to get close enough to a plane to disarm one, but that was their intention. Among other things, they were carrying a small hammer which had been used by the Ploughshares Four (Angie Zelter, Joanna Wilson, Lotta Kronlid and Andrea Needham) to disarm a war plane on the same base exactly 21 years previously. Like the Ploughshares Four, Sam and Woody were acquitted.

The game I’m making isn’t supposed to simply mark the direct action that these activists took. I’d like to challenge some of the norms of board games, away from the standard fight or farm narratives. I’m very keen on many games which are based on exactly that – building railway lines in Ticket to Ride, farming and mining in Caverna, even conquest in 7 Wonders. (There’s something cathartic about many games.) However, I’d also like the balance of games with different narratives. This game is going to be one of them.

Creating a game is hard. I’ve created games for friends and family, but never one I intended to actually sell. I have the outline, but it needs a lot of work. I’ll be launching a Kickstarter in the next couple of months and I’m hoping to get this game out by Christmas. I’ll be blogging about it here, on Instagram, and on Twitter. Please follow me as I try to make this work.

One thought on “How to create a board game

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  1. Hello Jess,

    There was me giving you my email to playtest and the first I know of your game is reading your article in the Friend………….

    I have found a games club near me. They would proably be delighted to be involved in the design of a new game. Darius runs this every year:

    That is his wife Jade with her arms spread wide on the first picture.

    So – want some help? Have you looked at the game Colditz (it has been re-issued recently). That has guards whose objective is to try to catch POW’s trying to escape.

    Anyhow – please feel free to drop me a line and I can put you in touch with Darius. To be honest he knows far more about board games than I do………..


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