Pass Go: Design Your First Table Top Card Game | Grant Rodiek | Skillshare

Pass Go: Design Your First Table Top Card Game

Grant Rodiek, Producer/Designer

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11 Videos (1h 51m)
    • Introduction

    • An Exploration of Card Game Mechanics

    • Build your creative space

    • Brainstorming Mechanics First

    • Brainstorming Theme First

    • How to focus creativity

    • Advanced Brainstorming Mechanics

    • Fundamental Questions to Answer

    • Designing Your Cards

    • Creating some Basic Rules/Structure

    • Testing and Iteration


Project Description

Design Your First Table Top Card Game

Quick Intro

  1. Take Notes

    Throughout the project, take notes and ask questions!

Card Game Mechanics Exploration

  1. Play popular games for inspiration!

    Check the list of games in the video or provided in Resources below. Try to play some of them to gain inspiration and learn from the great designers who have come before us (and are still creating today!). 

Brainstorming Successfully

  1. Brainstorm 3 Ideas

    Come up with 3 ideas that you could potentially use for a game and share them with the class to discuss.

    Every idea should try to have a theme, mechanic, or both, and should answer these questions:

    • What is something that is cool to do?
    • How can I do that in the game?

    Then, pick your favorite and craft a core loop diagram.

Building the Game

  1. Create the Outline and Build a Prototype

    It's time to build the first draft of your prototype. 

    Answer these core questions:

    1. How many players play your game?
    2. What are the components for your game?
    3. How does one win the game?
    4. What is the structure of the game? Turns? Round order?

    Then, build a first pass of your cards and game so that you can play it. You don't need to write the rules, just gather the notes and play it with a friend.

Additional Resources

  • Consider checking out, purchasing, or playing some of these games to provide you with inspiration and to expand your education!

    • Texas Hold ‘Em Poker (Bicycle playing cards): Bluffing, High Skill/High Luck, using “poker hands” elsewhere
    • Ticket to Ride: Europe: Set collection, hand management
    • Pandemic: Set collection, hand management, random events, cooperation
    • Coloretto: Set collection
    • Apples to Apples: Word-based party game
    • Dixit: Illustration-based party game.
    • 7 Wonders: Demonstrates Drafting, multi-use cards
    • The Resistance: Bluffing, secret roles
    • Summoner Wars: Cards as military Units, or “miniatures”
    • King of Tokyo: Special powers and abilities
    • Hanabi: Hidden information, cooperation
    • Dominion: Demonstrates Deckbuilding
    • Speed
    • (Bicycle playing cards): Real-time decision making.
  • Board Game Geek: This is THE online database of board games. If you want to find a game, this is the place to find it.

  • Google Drive: This free online office suite provides access to a word processor and visual design program that make it painfully easy to quickly mock up cards and jot your ideas on the go.

  • A notebook and pencil: Never leave home without them. Who knows when an idea will strike?

  • This lecture from John Cleese on creativity and having a good creative space is outstanding and very inspirational:

  • You need some creative tools to flesh out your creative space!

    I recommend some or all of the following:

    • White board and dry-erase markers (lots of colors)
    • A Legal pad and pencils for scribbling
    • Index cards (white and multiple colors)
    • Plain 6 sided dice
    • Coins for tokens (or game currency)
    • Creative toys (action figures, Rory's Story Cubes, slinkee, stress balls, things to keep your hands distracted while you rmind works)

    Your creative space should be free from distractions -- no Facebook, no Twitter, no significant other (unless they are working with you!). It should be a place where your mind can wander.

    Set aside time and PLAN for your creative time. Do not cheat yourself of this time!

  • You can view my in-progress cards for the game here. Observe how I lay out the cards and use the icons.

  • You can view an earlier iteration of the design here. This one involved science fiction, dice rolling, and too much complexity.

  • You can view another in-progress idea. I show you this to expose my creative process, using the tools, using visual diagrams, and showing you how to put it all together.

  • You can obtain free, open-source, high quality icons to use building your prototypes here: