Boardgame Design 101: Theme, Narrative & Rules | Ben Panter | Skillshare

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Boardgame Design 101: Theme, Narrative & Rules

teacher avatar Ben Panter, Alternative Photography & Game Making

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

5 Lessons (50m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Theme & Narrative Worksheet

    • 4. Rules Worksheet

    • 5. Conclusion & Next Steps

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About This Class

You can make your game!

In this beginner's class, you'll learn what to do after you have an idea for your tabletop game. We'll take that raw idea and start putting some real meat on the bones by working through specifics of how you envision it with a Theme & Narrative Worksheet. Then we'll follow that up by thinking practically about what will need to happen for your game to work, and start writing down your initial idea of rules.

At the end of this video, it is my goal to help you have a fully formed idea of your game paired together with the thematic feel, narrative arc and skeletal structure of rules written down on the worksheets I provide. And from there, the next step is Prototyping and Playtesting, which is the next class in this series.

In order to get the most out of this class, I do recommend taking my first class in this series, Board Game Design 101: Foundations, where I talk about idea generation and capturing as well as fleshing out initial brainstorms so you have a fully articulated idea for your game to start from.


What this class is not:

This is not an "idea to publication" guide for experienced game-makers.
This is not about getting your game published or even playtesting (that will come in a later course).

This class is about:

Helping newer game designers (or people wanting to start designing) answer the core questions that every game idea needs answered before it can be turned into an actual game.
Inspiring anyone to try making a game of their own through using these step-by-step worksheets.
Helping people experience game-making as a worthwhile hobby in and of itself.

Looking for a more hands on class that helps you design a game? Then you should check out my class that is a Finish This Game project, where I give you the skeleton of a game and then walk through what you need to change or update in order to make the game your own. This class is great for newer designers that need more practice actually finishing games so they can level up their design skills. Check it out here!

Meet Your Teacher

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Ben Panter

Alternative Photography & Game Making


My name is Ben Panter and I am an artist, professor and game-maker. My art is photography based and I enjoy experimenting with and combining new and old media. I've been honored to have several artist residencies through the National Park System over the past few years, including Rocky Mountain National Park and Acadia National Park.

I've also been designing board games for about a decade now. Like many in the field, I started out very casually, but have more recently committed to creating a more steady flow of games. I especially believe in helping others enjoy game design as a hobby unto itself, and through my classes on skillshare I hope to make it accessible for more people.

You can view more of my photography work on my website,, and follow me on Instagr... See full profile

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1. Introduction: E Painter. I have an artist, professor and board game designer and welcome to board game design 101 theme narrative and rules for this class. My goal is to help you take the idea for your game that you've sketched out and start putting some meat on the bones. Start putting some theme, some narrative, and give it that little extra something in terms of planning that's really gonna help you make an awesome game. Then we're gonna start writing down the rules on and you might be thinking, Whoa, it's way too early to think about rules. I just have this idea. But I found in my experience that writing down the rules of what you know now for how your game needs toe work, eyes really helpful in terms of pushing your game design forward, allowing you to make changes and really solidify the direction under game as you move forward. So that's what we're gonna be doing in this class. We're gonna be talking about your games theme, your games narrative and your games rules, and to help you make this a little bit less abstract so I can help us some more. Hopefully, I have a game of my own that I'm working on. And I'm gonna be writing down and telling you what I would write down in order to move this game forward. Eso I'm gonna be doing this right along with you. And I'm really excited about where we're going in this class. In the next video, we're gonna talk about the supplies you'll need, which are really minimal, and then we'll dive right in. 2. Supplies: way back to the second video of board game designed 101 theme narrative and rules. In this video. We're gonna talk quickly about the supplies you'll need to complete this class on their pretty straightforward first thing you're gonna need are the worksheets on. There's two main worksheets you're gonna have. There's the theme and narrative worksheet, which looks something like this on this two pages of that. Next there is the rules worksheet, which looks something like this, and there's actually three pages toe that eso those are able to be downloaded in the description of this class and you can get your hands on those. And I do want to mention that these worksheets actually come directly from my book. My book is called The Gamemakers Journal, and inside that book you got a lot of resource is really walking you through the process of actually making ah ah board game of your own. A. Ultimately, this book I made the Game Makers Journal is all about helping you turn the game design process into a step by step process that you can follow with any game idea and come out with a fun, playable game you know, I can't guarantee it's gonna be a bestseller, but I can help you get to a point where it's really fun to play with your friends and family and to help you start getting it out. There s so this is actually available for sale through Amazon if you want to pick up a copy of the entire journal. But for the purposes of this class, really, all you need are these worksheets on. Then the last thing you need is your game idea. You're not gonna be able to complete this class if you don't already have an idea brewing. And ideally, you would have already completed the steps from the first video in this series of the ideas and foundations. That's where you took an idea. And you really started to flesh out exactly what the idea waas think about some associations, other games that might be similar and then start saying, Well, what kind of game do I really want to create? How are you envisioning this idea in your brain? If you have all of those things filled out, then you are perfectly set up in order to successfully move on through these next steps of theme, narrative and rules. And if you haven't gone through that class yet, first I highly recommend it. But second, you can probably still follow along with his class. There might just be some parts that you need to go back and spend a little bit more time on . So that's all we need for this class. In terms of supplies, you need the worksheets that you can download right from below this class. And you need your idea that you really want to develop into a game on the next video. We're actually going to start working on the first worksheet. And again I'm going to be talking about how I work through this idea for my own game as a way of giving you that kind of example. So I'm excited to get started. I'll see you there 3. Theme & Narrative Worksheet: back to this next video in the theme and narrative game design class. And in this video we're just going to start going through our theme and narrative worksheet . So we're gonna walk through this question by question. You can follow along on your own cheap. Better explain a little bit more of the thought process behind these questions and what you need to be thinking about as you're filling it out. And there's one thing I want to say, really, before we even get into this worksheet too far. And that is, some of you might be designing game that is more abstract, right? There's not as much of a theme or narrative to it, but most games have some degree of seeming to them on example of this would be something like chess. OK, that is an abstract game. There's not really too much of a story going on, but there still is some theme ing right. We have the the King and the Queen and all the characters right. They fit into this theme world, so all those characters makes sense in that world on. And so even if you're designing aim or abstract game, you can still be describing the the setting in which that game takes place on. So I would urge you that if you think a theme or narrative doesn't really apply to you, it really does. You need to give your your game as much of that flavor as possible, even for an abstract gate. Of course, if you're Game does have narrative right with characters or or ah, players moving around the board than the depth of theme is going too often determine the quality of the game. How well are you able to transfer your idea of the theme into how the game actually plays? So this is worth spending a lot of time working on and thinking about how the two are gonna fit together. So let's dive into this theme worksheet. First, you need to have your game idea. It's not on this sheet, but maybe would be helpful to write down the title of the game. Of course, if you fill it out, the foundations worksheet from the earlier class, all that information would be in there as well. In my case, the game I am working on is called paint rollers and just to give a little bit of background. It is a rolling right game I'm making with an artistic theme. So the first question, very straightforward, is theme. How would you describe the overall theme of the game on and to give just the idea of what a theme is? I mean, it's the where, when, who? It's really just the the description of the place of the game. It can also be the time or the era of the game. It could also be kind of the condition, right? It could be post apocalyptic, could be prehistoric. Those types of, um, specific place descriptors those time descriptors and those kind of condition descriptors would be useful here for my game art rollers. How I would describe the theme right now would be the 19 sixties art world in New York City . And to be a little bit more specific than that. I'm specifically thinking about art movements along with this game that might help it along something about abstract Expressionism and pop art, and for your game, you know, it's those little details. Anything you know about that time period that would help give it some some extra characters . Some extra flavor would be helpful to write down here doesn't need to be full sentences. These are just ideas that you're capturing, all right. So now we can move on to the next question, which says, describe the setting in detail and specifically the stock about location era situation event, etcetera. So take those initial ideas you wrote down and put a little bit more meat on the bones, right? Give a little more specifics in terms of how you're describing it. In my case, uh, you know, I already said that I'm thinking New York, New York City in the 19 sixties and specifically dealing in the art world on that transition period in terms of art movements between Abstract Expressionism into pop art. Ah, and so that's kind of what was happening in the world of this game. Ah, and in terms of descriptions of some of the locations, maybe I would think, um, in the game. We're talking about making art so there would be a studios eso that might be part of the aesthetic. But there's also galleries, right. There's very clean white spaces on, and so those would be kind of some of the the setting the places that things were happening . But once again, sometimes theme. Ah, you're gonna be relying more on an era, right? What century is this from? Or maybe a fictional setting? Is this from? And describing that in more detail in depending on the breath of your game, right? How maney, different countries or different worlds or people are involved, you might need to have a broader description of what's going on in the world. Um, you know, if you have a theme that involves steampunk, what does that mean? What types of things are around, uh, again, in order to help you be specific with your game, you need to be specific with the world in which your game exists. The next question we have is to describe the main characters or players on and have it phrase this way because some games have, you know, character cards that you're choosing one from, and that's who you play for the game. Other ones. The players on the board are the players of the game. The people are the characters that you have to describe either what the main players in the game are or who the players that air physically playing the game. Who are they becoming as they play this game? Eso basically, just who are the characters? Whether that's a game character or that's the player characters. For instance, in my game, players are playing as young artists who are coming to New York City in order to make an artistic name for themselves. That is, that is who the players are becoming when they play my game. Paint rollers, eso. There's a lot of different possibilities of what that could be in your game. You should think specifically in your thematic world, who are your characters or your players becoming all right. The next question. Describe the narrative of the game on This is where again, I want to explain this a little bit more carefully. We've been talking about themes so far. This is like this setting in the place, and things like that the narrative can refer to that can refer to kind of the story of what's happening in this world, but it can be more abstract than that. It can just be like players are trying to accomplish this in the game. There's a narrative arc every game, or there should be even a game like checkers, right would have a narrative arc where equal sides advance on each other and then through trickery through diversions, right, they're able to hopefully overcome the opponent. That's the narrative. So you have to think about what is the narrative? What's the main story? If somewhere someone we're going to tell your game as a story, what is that story about? That might be a challenging exercise. This might take you a while to think about and say, What is this story about? But again, it's worth it to say you're putting some more shoes to your theme of saying. But what is trying to happen in the grand scheme of my game, for instance, let me say what I would say for my game. Young artists are looking to break into the art scene in the 19 sixties. They're working in a shared studio with friends, and they're scraping together enough paint to complete commissions and to make original work of their own. They must all that also think about their body of work for additional artistic credibility . They're trying to become a really artists and win acceptance of the New York City art crowd . Okay, That's the That's the the narrative of my game. And you know, there's a story there, and as I'm developing this game, I'm gonna have to see, you know, how much of that story can I fit into the mechanics and the natural flow of the game? Not really sure yet, right? I'm still figuring this one out, but that's the narrative of what's happening so again for your design. You need to think about what is the main narrative arc, the main story arc that my characters are going through in the theme or in the setting of this game. That's what this narrative is all about. And it's really gonna be what allows your game to take that theme and then have cohesive elements pushed into the mechanics and the ideas of the rest of the game. All right, let's move on to the second page of this theme and narrative worksheet on the first question There is what is the primary conflict right? You just described the primary narrative, but with narrative or with story. We don't really have a story unless there's conflict right, unless there's something that's in the way of your characters from getting the desired outcome of the narrative. So what is the primary conflict of your game? Could be a scarce nous of resource is it could be luck with role could be other players messing with their actions. There's a 1,000,000 different options in your game, and some of this comes to think about, well, what mechanics do you want to have come into play? And some of it could be from a more theme or narrative standpoint, what things in your game world are standing in the way from your characters or your players completing what they want to complete? Um, in some cases, it's literally another person's army that's in the way, right, someone else who is trying to control all the world or all the units in the game. So you have to think about what is the primary conflict, which the main point of emphasis of conflict in the paint rollers game that I'm working on . The idea is that there's certainly going to be a certain amount of luck and rolling involved, so some of the conflict is just making good decisions with roles that you get. Um, and then there's also going to be, ah palette of possible paintings that you're gonna be making. And so some of the conflict comes from you trying to to complete paintings before other players complete paintings because they're all pulling from the same pool. And then there's also a set collection element right where you are trying to get paintings that together are worth more points than others. Eso those three elements, I think, are the main points of conflict where your trying to make the best of roles. You're trying to move faster or more efficiently than your opponents, and you're trying to also make, ah, the best of the options that are given to you in terms of painting to complete. The next question we're gonna be looking at is what is a player trying to accomplish. This is gonna be very closely related to the narrative that we talked about as well as the primary conflict, right? If a player is trying to accomplish something that's probably also related to where the conflict is, Ah, and so again in your game, you got to think about what Really, if you had to do still down your entire idea down into what is a player trying to do in the course of this game. How? What is Point A and point B and maybe how are they gonna get there? Um, that is what they're trying to accomplish for the purposes of my game. Players are trying to collect paints through rolling dice and make paintings that form a cohesive body of work. Right? A set of paintings that go together all right and next. This is kind of a continuation of that narrative where they trying to do. We want to talk about what does winning look and feel like? Right. So there's two things here. One. What does it look like, right? What has happened in the game for someone to win? And second, what is it feel like? As in, um, what are the What's the emotional state you want? A player who is winning to be in on and this goes back. This is referencing something we worked through on the foundation's work sheet of how you want your game to feel as people are playing it, and this is specifically saying it. If someone is winning, what does that mean? They're experiencing? Um, and again, this might be a little abstract it might be hard for you, but start writing some ideas Down is something you can always change if you need to later on. And as you move through the process more. But it's good to write down your ideas as you have them. And as you see it right now, for the purposes of my game paint rollers, as I see it right now it I would say that it looks like you've gathered and used paints to make pains really efficiently, right? That's it's an efficient use of resource, is, I think, is what it looks like. And so you have a full set of paintings that go together in terms of how it feels. I think it Hopefully I'm planning for it to feel rewarding right that you made the most of maybe some unpredictable dice rolls and that maybe you were able to work quickly enough to outrace your opponents to finish some of these paintings before they could. So there's there's that element of the feel as well that you were able to beat your opponents. Eso. The next question for you is what resource is do players use to accomplish their goal on this starts to get into a little bit more of the specifics, taking from the idea of theme and has you start thinking about the mechanics. Okay, what are resource is that you're going to use, and I think the term resource is could definitely be broadly applied, right. If your game is primarily about moving around the board, well, then the movements you have could be some of your resource is in the case of my game. Have resource is in terms of the dice are the colors of paints that you have available so that paints are the resource is and even the paintings themselves end up being the resource is that turn into points at the end of the game? I think so. The paintings themselves would be resource is, of course, in some games there are literal resource is of wood and coal and sheep or things like that that are getting traded and spent, um, in a lot of games, there's actual currency that's being spent. Those would be resource isas well on, and there's more abstract things, right? There's influence. There's even victory points sometimes can get used as a resource to be spent in order to accomplish your goals. So this kind of referencing, What is the player trying to accomplish in the grand scale? Right? You don't have to get to specific here. This is the big ideas were working with. And then what things in the game both thematic and maybe mechanics. Are you going to use to accomplish those goals in? The last thing on this worksheet is what causes a player toe lose, right? We've been talking again about this narrative about this theme. How does a player win? What are they trying to accomplish? But it's important to start thinking about How does a player not accomplish those goals? How do they come in second place or in last place? What did they do wrong, or what potentially can they do wrong again in your particular game? This might require quite a bit of abstract thought or of kind of projecting your game idea right now. But other ones you know, it's fairly obvious right that they, um, didn't buy at a good time in the market for marketplace type games or, you know, they moved into, uh, less strategic positions. Sometimes it just means they had bad dice rolls right in a game like, uh, you know, potentially like risk or something like that. Right where you're pitting one army against each other. They're fairly evenly matched. Maybe one player just got a little bit less lucky. Um, and so you have to think about again. How does a player, uh, loose something like pandemic, right? We have that. The system of the game itself ends up beating players, so you lose by not being able to clear off all the Ah, you know, the pathogens off the board in time. So you have to think about that for your game. In my case, um, it would be not rolling rolling the right dice to get a good selection of paints. It would be, uh, not completing high value paintings and at the end, not having a cohesive body of work. Those were, like the three main ways that if you don't do those three things, you're probably not gonna win the game. Or at least that's how I'm going to try to create. All right. And there you have it. That is your first theme and narrative worksheet. And I just want to encourage you that you know this is something that is going to improve every time you look at it and work at it might need to go back and correct things or add things. Um, kind of rearrange what you think the primary narrative is, or or be more specific with their theme of when or where this this game is happening. Eso This is something that is meant to improve with age. If you don't feel like you have enough of an idea in order to fill out every one of these details or all you can write down is a couple of bullet points in some of these sections, that's fine, right? We're gonna be moving through this game process, and this is still part of really the foundational stuff, the stuff that is allowing you to go ahead and make a first prototype to go ahead and and make, um, your idea into the reality of a first version of a game. Eso This is something that is meant to be updated over time, but you need to get these first versions written down, so I encourage you spend the time think about your game idea in detail right down as much as you're able to, but don't get bogged down either. So in the next video, we're going to break out the second set of worksheets, the rules, worksheets, and we're gonna start working through what you need to on those sheets. So you see there. 4. Rules Worksheet: Welcome back to this class sport Game design 101 theme narrative and rules. In this video, we're gonna be working on the rules worksheet on for some people they really love writing down rules of games. If you're the type of person that when you open a new game, you read through through the entire rules manual, maybe you like that kind of thing. Other people kind of throw the rules to the side or they give him a quick skin and then they try to break into the game as quickly as possible on if that's you, the idea of writing down rules for a game may feel really overwhelming. Uh, myself, I've actually found I think my Zen in rule writing I really actually enjoy after working through my game idea is quite a bit of just sitting down and being able to write out the way the game is supposed to work in a logical and consistent way. So this rules worksheet that I have is really meant to help all of us right down rules in a orderly and consistent way so that people can understand them and we can get the idea of our game, how it's supposed to work out onto a page as efficiently as possible. And I do want to remind you that again, I have these three rules worksheets in order for you to download there at the bottom of this video. And they're coming directly from my book, the gamemakers journal that you could get on Amazon. But of course, we have these worksheets for free, so you can follow along through this video just with those. And once again, I'm going to be giving as many examples as I'm able to from the game I'm designing, which is paint rollers A a role in right game about artists in the 19 sixties. But, uh, you know, this is something that you have to be thinking about your game. Referring back to the foundations worksheet from the first class I offered on game design thinking about the theme and narrative that you just filled out and really, what is going to happen in your game? Ah, and if you are just getting started with the game design process, this is easy to feel overwhelmed that you really don't know how to writing this down. I'm gonna do my best to make some of that clear, but also know that this is a rules are a living document until the game gets published. And even then, sometimes there's corrections that have to be made or things that people find. So this is going to be a work in progress until you get a more finished version of your game. So it's OK if you only have a little bit too right down right now. But I encourage you as you develop your game further and you're able to play tested and and figure out more ways than it needs to work that you are actually writing those rules down. I think one of the things that actually helps game designers is to have clearly written down rules even as they're moving through. The game design process because of what that allows you to do is, as you are testing game, that you're keeping things as consistent as possible so that you're not changing too many variables at once, right? If you're changing 10 things at a time, it's tough to know what is it that made a game work or what made a game fail. But if you're really consistent in how you're testing the game and how you're trying it. Then you are able to isolate what things air helping, what things are hurting. And you can move through your your game design process in a really organized way. Eso Let's take take our attention to the actual worksheet First thing on. There is overview on that says describe the broad perspective of what happens in the game, often relying heavily on theme and narrative. 2 to 4 sentences. Eso likely if you've read through other game rules books before you've seen something like this there. It's a 2 to 4 sentence generally description of the game on, and it's not so much about the specifics of what players will be doing all those. Sometimes that's included, but it is normally heavily thematic talking about what the characters are doing, what they're trying to accomplish. It gives the setting a little bit of flavor. If you have a name or abstracted game, this is the place where you can have the most theme in your entire game. It's in the description of the game right that you're giving the world in which your more abstract game exists. Eso for instance, in mine game paint rollers that I'm working on. This is my first description. And again, this this doesn't have to perfect this not a finished draft. This is just a starting place. So for mining, I have. So you could hear there was some thematic elements, right? It was artist the 19 sixties, but also some practical elements. Right? You're rolling dice. You're collecting sets of things on dso just trying to fit that into as concise a description as possible. So if someone picks this up, they read that one paragraph. They know the theme, the setting and kind of what players are trying to do The next one main objective is very similar, but is even Mawr condensed right? This is taking the idea of the overview of your game and boil it down into really one sentence. The main objective right? Players are trying to blank right fill in that blank what our players trying to do in this game, and this is kind of what is going to be at the top of your rules. That isn't so much giving theme. It is saying, What is the end result that I'm going for as a player because if you don't have that at the start of your rules, you start reading about, you know, turn order. And what are you able to do on a turn? And what are the different actions possible on what can happen in a game? But if you don't know the context of, Well, what is the big thing? I'm tryingto walk away and do, um, in this How am I trying to win this game? Then? Uh, all of the rest of the rules make a little bit less sense, so you need to give them the context of what is the one thing you're trying to do in this game in order to make it clear for other players. Eso In the case of my paint rollers game, I would say you were trying to get the highest riel artist score by collecting the best paints, paintings and collections of paintings. That's it. In a nutshell. I mean, there's a lot more to it. There's certainly more new ones. But if you had to describe my game broadly, at least right now, that's really what it's all about. And for both of these, these air certainly first versions. I'm not saying what I'm telling you right now about my game. Paint rollers is done. No, no, no. This is That is definitely a first version, but it's enough to get me started, Um, as I improve it. What I really need to work on is making it compelling right to think that for many players , the 1st 1 the overview is you know what's on the back of the box, right? This is what people are reading to determine whether or not they want to buy it, or this is how I'm describing it to friends or family to say, Would you like to try this game? I'm eight eso to make it compelling to make your sound really exciting or to give the flavor of the game is really important. And for the main objective, right, that it is clear what a player is trying to do that you know, some some games. What a player is trying to do will either excite or turn off potential players immediately . So you want to make that compelling. Make it something that it sounds like. Hey, I really do wanna be making paintings by collecting paint or something like that. So the wording and all that can get more specific can improve over time. Right now, we're just trying to get a first draft of these ideas down. All right, so those two are both, like, over you types of paragraphs. But now we're getting into the brass tacks of how your game is actually going to work. So the next question is set up right. Describe how to set up the play area components and anything else that needs to be done before play begins. So this is just saying before you can start playing, there's things that need to happen, you know, shuffle the deck. Arranged the board with players on X and X spaces. Um, can be, you know, put resources into certain piles, distribute a certain amount of money to each player. All those types of things need to be described. Remember, your this is the first stages of your rules book. So what would someone need to read and understand about your game in order to set it up correctly? One thing to keep in mind is that you can almost take nothing for granted, right, that, um, that yes, cards do need to be shuffled. And you need to say that in your rule book, uh, that, Yes. If there's a particular way a board needs to be set up, then you need to say it specifically. Even if there's, you know, yellow Pond and a yellow space on the board, you should say, Place each piece with it's corresponding color place on the board or something like that, right? So you can get very specific in the case of my game again. This is very early stages of the design process for this game that I'm working on the rolling right and ah, but I can describe how I'm picturing this game playing out and the things that need to happen before you even start the game. So each player gets a pencil and a player sheet, right, because it's a rolling right. The dice are placed at the center of the play area. Painting cards are shuffled and placed in a pile with the gray side up. I'm gonna have dual side cards. One side that's gray, the other side. That's color. So that's important. Um, you're gonna deal four cards out in a line gray side up. Whoever has painted anything most recently goes first. Okay, so I have fairly few components, so it's a pretty easy set up. But depending on how many components or how specific you need to get with where things are going on the play area, you're gonna need to document all that on this is, um, often in a rule book, right? There might even be a picture if it's very specific with how things need to be set up. So consider that what needs to happen before people play eso page to this rules. Worksheet starts with gameplay describe what players can or must do on their turn and how play passes from one player to the next also include gameplay, phases or rounds if there are any. So for this question about game play, you have to really start thinking about not just what is happening in the broad perspective , the game. But how does play progress on each player's turn? What needs to happen? And again, you can get specific right, our dice getting passed around or cards getting distributed or passed around Are things getting moved around the board? You have to start thinking about sequentially. What needs to happen in order for your idea of how your game is gonna get played to occur. Right are when are we flipping cards when every rolling dice start sequencing that stuff out? And then this also could be phases or rounds if there's rounds of the game where certain actions are allowed or whether it's phases of the game. Sometimes there's like a purchasing phase or auction phase or something like that. There could be different kinds of gameplay at different points of the game. Those would be important to note here, too. For my game, I can just write down kind of how I see a turn playing out right now. There's really only well you could say. There's two phases, right. There is the gameplay phase. And then there's the scoring phase, which is just the end of how you actually add up the scores. But for the gameplay phase, which is the primary way you're playing this game, um, gameplay travels clockwise and continues until the game is done on the turn. Players role available dice and select colors to claim by writing in the total of the role and that, you know that is referenced saying that this is a role on right course. So that's how those types of games work. They're going to use paint. They have emerged complete one or more available commissions or original works. The dice used to make paint are withheld, and the next player must select from the remaining available dice in the center after the new player has rolled. The withheld ice from the previous player are then added to the game, okay, and so there is this idea of what one player uses from the dice. The next player doesn't have the option to use. And so I'm trying to write that down into the way gameplay happens on then one more thing that I'm going to add is that, um, if a player completes a painting from the available paintings, the card to the right of all the paintings is also discarded. The farthest card to the right and two new paintings are played in their place. Um and so my goal here there is that there's gonna be MAWR card turn that you're going to see more of these card paintings in a game to see more options and also hopefully push players to move faster, all right. And once again, this is kind of the skeleton you need to be writing down. It certainly doesn't need to be a finished product, but you if you need to write it down in bullet points of the ideas you have right now. And as you move through the next stages of developing your game, you can be adding to those bullet points. You can be fleshing out ideas and probably removing some ideas that didn't really pan out. So let's move on to the next one, which is the end game conditions. Presumably you wrote down how games progress, right? How a player takes their turn. How do we know how the end of the game happens? What happens at the end of the game? How do we know a player has won? How did players know that the game is finished or is coming to a close? Because coming a game coming to an abrupt clothes can be really jarring to a player's experience. And sometimes that makes it not fun, right? That you feel like you didn't have time to prepare for the end of the game that you didn't know it was coming to think about how well a player, No, that the end the game is near. Um, some games have a set number of turns. Other ones of setting a number of resource is other ones is just world domination. Right? Players get eliminated. So think about how that's gonna work for your game. In my case, I think I'm going to have once any player has nine paintings in front of them. That would be the end of the game or in ah, two player game. If there is a total of 16 paintings in front of players, that would be the end of the game. So maybe you're trying yourself to race to get nine, but you have to keep track of what other people are doing on for three and four player games. I'm not sure I'm gonna have to play the game a few times in order to figure out how many paintings would need to be visible for the end of the game to be triggered. All right, so now we're moving on to the final sheet of this rules worksheet, and we're moving through this pretty quickly, but just keep in mind, right this is a first draft. Just write down your ideas for how your game should work as it stands right now, we can always come back and edit this later, but it's helpful to get it down on paper. It's gonna help you work through these ideas as you write it down. Eso The first question on this is scoring and declaring a winner If points are tallied at the end of the game, How is that done? Are there any special wind conditions or bonuses? Think about what happens at the end of the game. Is it something where there's been a points track kept all along? And so everyone knows the winner is something where there's been some secret information that's going to get revealed. And how is scoring done? That victory points a total amount of money? Is that the addition of several things eso think about? What is it that people are keeping track of? What are they trying to do? And how are those equating in two points? It's important to start thinking about that pretty early on in the design press process to think about what things need to be being tallied. What kind of values. Do you need to be assigning two things in order for that toe work? In the case of my game, Uh, I'm really trying to make it so that there are many ways that points are getting scored on , and maybe sometimes overlapping ways like one card is gonna be worth points in a couple different ways. Eso that. It's very difficult to tell which player is really in the lead, because there's kind of this points equation that happens at the end in order determine who is the winner now. Of course, hopefully it's predictable that the player who really played the best will win. That's my goal and how I design it. But I want to make it so it's not immediately visible who is winning. That's kind of the kind of game that I like to play eso. In my case, I have a few things that I've written down for, how points are going to be counted. I have many ways, actually, so one points are assigned for the point value on the painting cards. Um, also set collection of the different sizes of paintings on that's probably gonna be like a multiplier times the number of paintings of a certain size you have than a set collection based on the style of paintings, and that will probably be like the person who has the most of a certain style. We get some points. That player that has the second of another style would get less points on DSO. Uh um, there's also brushed quality. That's Ah a, um uh, mechanic, uh, of using the roll dice that I'm playing with So someone can increase the quality of the brushes they're using for their paintings for some points commission points. The commission cards air are lending some other mechanic, some re rolls and things like that. But I'm also thinking they're gonna There's gonna be a little bit of luck for how much the commissions are worth at the end. So maybe roll a die for each of the commission's that you've completed and take half of that total value. Um, and then there's paint quality as well as you are rolling in writing in my game, you're writing down your your color combinations and the value of the role you've got in order to get those combinations of the red, yellow and blue dice. eso. You can also have paint quality. So there's air six ways, potentially in my game that I have right now that players are getting points, and for me, that's perfect. In some games, that would be way too much to add. Um, mine is a fairly simple game ultimately, and so having a lot of those variables that add up at the end ads kind of like a degree of complexity that makes it a little bit more compelling at the end. A little bit more of a dramatic finish? I hope so. That's what I plan to do. But again, right down the first version of how you see people, um, you know, finishing this game of yours. All right, So where do the last section of this rules worksheet and this is something, once again, is gonna be a work in progress. And you might need way more space depending on your game. And this is the terms and definitions. Essentially, you're writing down the, uh, kind of the thematic terms that you're using in your game to help describe what's going on to a new player. Um, you know, for instance, right when you roll a die and take a resource. Does that mean that you're actually building that? Are you spending money in order to get something or are you? Have you traded something right? A lot of the times in games, their specific language that's getting used for different actions or different things that a player conduce you. Um, so somewhere there needs to be kind of a glossary of terms. So it's clear for players what those terms actually mean. In fact, in some games I play like X Wing or also play Star Wars Legion. There is an entire glossary, an entire dictionary, really of this one word and what the full definition of that word is so that it's crystal clear to everyone playing. And so you need probably a scaled down version of that for your game, especially when you're introducing theme into the mechanical language of your game. For instance, in my game when we're rolling dice, what we're doing is we're mixing paint. And so, in my description of the rules or in the play order, I'm gonna be talking about when it's your turn to mix paint on, and that's referencing rolling dice, Um, or we're gonna be painting or making paintings that is the actual active. When you're trading the paint you've collected for one of the card paintings on the table, you are making a painting or you're completing a painting. Um, and the studio right. I think the studio is gonna be the place where all the cards are visible. Um, and then the gallery is the place where you have your completed paintings on display. Eso those air like location descriptions of the game on, and it's OK to, say, the discard pile or some non thematic elements. But sometimes having those terms and definitions kind of clearly defined are good. And as you are play testing and working on your game, often you'll find that you are using certain terms to describe certain actions. In fact, I was just walking through some of this game that I'm making the other night, and we kept referencing things in different ways until we all said, You know, it makes more sense if we call it this. You know that that as we were getting paintings, we kept wanting to say buy paintings. But we're like, well, that doesn't automatically make sense when buying paintings were completing paintings or painting paintings. Eso to try that Be specific with that language is going to help your game really come to life. So that's the rules worksheet again. You might only have a few bullet points filled in different areas. You might feel like you don't really know until you get a little further into the design process. That's fine. I really think the goal is that you are writing down what you know or how you see the rules right now from where you stand and that you're giving yourself that foundation of rules to then build on that you can tweak and improve and add to as you develop your game eso in the next video. We're going to be talking about what you have on your worksheets right now on Ben what your next steps are right? Because we don't have a finished game. We're a long way from there, but there are some next steps that you can take, so I'll see in the next video 5. Conclusion & Next Steps: All right. Well, welcome to this final video conclusion of this class for Game 101 theme narrative and rules . Hopefully, you feel like you found a little bit more progress in your game design that you've moved beyond just the idea and the foundation. And now you're starting Teoh put a little bit more into What is this game gonna look and feel like? What is the theme of the world in which is gonna exist? What's happening in this game, right? What's the narrative overall? And then finally, you know, how is this game going toe work from a rules perspective. What are turns going to start to look like? What our players trying to accomplish? All those things are important to start to determined to start to write down. And as you move through this process of game design, you are You can begin to refine that more and more. Eso what you should have right now, right? Are all these worksheets and you have begun to fill them out, right? You can see if you look at mine, you can see I've scratched some things down. And actually, to be honest, this is my second time filling these sheets out for this game and they'll say, That's a little bit of I don't know if I called a pro tip or something like that that you might want to work through these worksheets multiple times. I found that every time I rewrite a description of a game, I refine it a little bit right that I put a little more specific words or that I have thought about it a little more so that I can be be, ah, little bit more precise with what I'm saying. So maybe this type of thing you write down a rough draft through and then you go back and referencing the rough draft. You can write a new version, but there's really one big next step you have, and that is you're actually going to need to make a workable version of this game to play test, right? You need to make your very first prototype so that you can take these ideas that you've got and actually start playing them. But that's not in this video. That's the next Siri's. Okay, and the next course we're going to actually talk about prototyping and play testing and design That's really the main thing. So I'm excited to be getting to that class again for this class. What you have at the end are these work sheets. You have this. If you've done the class before this, you have the idea worksheet the foundation worksheet. Now we have the theme and narrative worksheet, and the rules work. She and you are well on your way to really knowing what this game is all about that you're designing on. The next thing is to actually go through this cyclical process of actually making your game work, of making a prototype play, testing, refining your prototype and then going through that process again while starting to think about design and going back into the rules and refining those as well. So the final video of this main series game designed one. No. One is really going to be the the ongoing process of game design. I'm really excited to get to that. I'm excited to get your game into that process as well. For this class, we're all wrapped up. That's all I have for you. What I would like you to do, though, is that in the comments are in the projects for this class. I want you to just take a photo and share either some of your rules sheets or some of your theme and narrative and maybe write down like, you know, your main objective paragraph that you wrote down or right down the description of your theme or the main narrative or objective for your game. I'd really like to hear what your game that you're designing is all about. Ah, and as a reminder, if you found this really helpful. Of course, I appreciate the positive review. Make sure you follow me. I plan to be publishing Mawr game design classes on a regular basis on if you'd like it, you want a little bit more content than just what these worksheets give you. I would recommend the book. I designed the game Makers journal. It's available through Amazon, and you can download that has all the same ideas that are on these work sheets. You just did, plus a few more helps and really the whole process mapped out that we're working through here in a nice, concise package in that journal, so I'd recommend that as well. Thanks so much for joining me. I look forward to seeing you in there