Our First Boardgame - How it all Began
The first idea of my board game came to mind in 2018, long before I ever thought about starting my own company. I have always loved playing board games and when I started studying product development in 2013, my natural creativity spiked. In this article, I will walk you through my journey of creating my first board game.
In 2018 the first idea of my board game came to mind while I was on a holiday with my girlfriend. We were walking through a Spanish town when I noticed the tiles on the sidewalk. All the tiles were shaped like hexagons in different colours and patterns. I started seeing a board with hexagons where you need to create a line through the board, leaving a trace of your own colour. The main idea for this game was about conquering the territories of your opponents. I was super excited about working on this game, but my studies were my main priority at that time and since this took up most of my time, the idea for this game slid to the back of my mind.
A little later, I started my last year in college and as part of my master thesis in Interaction Design, I created a game that stimulates the development of social skills of children while playing the game. Working on this project for my thesis reignited the spark of my first board game idea and I decided it was time to start developing this game as a side project.
At first, I played around with different mechanics and rules for movement and placement. The game evolved a lot over time. Some of the changes I made to the original design drastically changed the pace and flow of the game. Other changes were more subtle and were more about finetuning the game experience.
During this process, I also made some prototypes of the game to play around with. Making prototypes and playtesting is definitely the most important part of making a game. What seems like a good mechanic or rule might end up feeling horrible once you actually start playing the game.
Eventually, I created something that I considered a playable prototype. It had cardboard tiles and used some random pawns I had found in an arts and craft store. It didn’t look super fancy and was a bit cumbersome to play, but it did the trick so I could play my own game with friends and family.
One of those friends happened to have a 3D printer. This was an absolute game-changer for me. He offered to print out the tiles to improve the prototype, so I started working on a 3D model of the board and the tiles. This 3D printed prototype made the game so much better. This time the tiles had a raised edge so they would stack properly on top of each other instead of sliding around freely on the board.
I used this second prototype to test the game with even more people, and some more adjustments to the rules were made. During this period, I also started to work on the theme of the game and since the hexagons reminded me of a honeycomb, a bee theme was something that felt fitting for this game. In the game, the players are bees who try to collect as much honey as possible.This game felt like it had a lot of potential and I had spent so much time on creating it that I wanted to share it with the world. I realised that I had a big decision to make, find a company to publish my game or start my own company to publish it myself. I decided to be brave and follow my gut, so I started my own company “Shamrock Games” to launch my first board game. I have to admit, starting my own company was a rollercoaster ride, but I’m proud of the company I have created.