I Have A Board Game Idea – Now What? Part 39: 5 Reasons Designers Design Board Games

It has been a busy few weeks. It is amazing how quickly Friday arrives, sometimes without me having written the blog post for the week. That was the case again last week, and I wanted to apologize for that. I’m trying to do better.

Part of the reason I’ve been busy the last while is because I’ve been asked to do a presentation at the local PD day for Manitoba’s teachers on finding room for game design in the classroom. It has been an interesting process to research the subject, and is something I strongly believe more teachers should be doing. This got me thinking about why do I, and other designers, design board games? What am I trying to achieve with this process? For this week’s blog post, I want to look at 5 reasons designers design a board game.

Purpose 1: To teach others about something

While I was researching for the presentation I’m making, I found the following quote by Dr. Karyn Purvis:

Scientists have recently determined that it takes approximately 400 repetitions to create a new synapse in the brain – unless it is done with play, in which case, it takes between 10 and 20 repetitions!

That is something that I find really interesting, and supports the first purpose one might design a board game: to teach others about something.

Educational games aren’t really anything new, but I think there has been a recent increase in the quality and what is available. Companies like Academy Games and Genius Games continue to bring us quality games, on a wide variety of topics.

Purpose 2: To tell a story

Often a large portion of design time is dedicated to world creation and back story. Story driven games take it even a step further, and can offer an especially immersive playing experience. I’ve even seen games take on a choose your own adventure style, offering the people an opportunity to choose how the game develops which will often result in a one of a kind experience.

Purpose 3: To entertain

I enjoy playing games not only because they are fun to play, but because they provide more meaningful entertainment that some of the other options available. They force me to interact with others, and let’s face it, sometimes they can be down right silly.

Purpose 4: To provide an escape

Board games can be a fun way to take a break from real life for a while. They can allow you to visit far off places and accomplish normally impossible feats. Add in the extra layer of immersion that Role Playing Games offer, and you may never come back to reality.

Purpose 5: To bring people together

I think the thing that I appreciate the most about gaming is getting together with friends and family in order to play those games. Part of the fun of playing games is the social interaction between players. Part of the reason I designed a cooperative game was I like the idea of a group of people working together towards a common goal. Many great memories can be, and are, made around the game table.

Well that is everything for this week’s post. I would love to hear what you think, or if you are a designer why do you design games? Let me know if the comments below. Until next time, happy designing.

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