This explains the development process that I used to create ZORP. I hope it can serve as a reference for anyone else who is interested in creating their own board game.

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Get excited about your idea!

Like most people, I have a ton of ideas for video games and board games, some are just a part of a pile of ideas, while others are ideas I can really see becoming a reality. This was one of those ideas that I could tell would be fun, easy to play and feasible for a one-man team to accomplish/afford.

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Start prototyping!

I began by cutting up printer paper and scribbling down the necessary information on each piece. I also had a handy Indiebox set that I got from Humble Bundle, which I used for generic game pieces.

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Get playtesting!

Right away, this gave me a sense of whether or not the fundamental concept could work or not-obviously, the game was broken from the get-go, but people were reacting positively to the potential the game had.

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Prepare to make changes!

The game started off as a never-ending stalemate of overpowered humans killing wave after wave of zombies, then it became a never-ending game of strategy that didn't fit the original intentions for the game. Each time the game made a significant change I kept track of which version I was currently testing. It's important to remember that no matter what, you'll have to spend over 100 hours testing your game anyways, so it's ok to try out different things-lots of times they will help make it better.

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Start that art!

I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted the game to look like as soon as I thought about it, so it wasn't too difficult to start sketching out ideas and bringing them into Illustrator. I specifically wanted a visual style that wasn't TOO common within the genre to try to help it stick out.

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Print your pieces on the cheap!

I just used the printers I had access to. Although I feel like I have a good eye for design and a good awareness of the printing process, it took several printed iterations to help me figure out what the best way to design the cards was. I had to consider legibility of art/words as well as the costs/hassle of a large board. Printing and testing forced me to change my card layouts.

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Semi-officially write the rules!

Obviously, I had notes on the game rules and I could easily regurgitate the rules to people when they sat down to play, but writing the rules in an actual rule book is a whole new monster to tackle. I had to get people who had not been exposed to the rules or game at all to look over the rules and tell me if they made sense. I also had to focus a lot on not intimidating new players with a huge rule book. The first time I made a rule book, the rules weren't 100% finished, but I was able to keep up with tweaking the rule book as the rules were changed. Of course, when this happened, I still needed to find new proofreaders to keep my words under control.

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Repeat!

Each time I started something new, I had to continue to do everything I'd done before. I kept playtesting, which meant that I kept making minor rule changes, which oftentimes led to new prototypes, which led to new prints, which usually led to new art.

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Order your first print!

After enough of the previous steps, I was finally ready to order a first official prototype-one that I felt comfortable taking to trade shows, or sending to reviewers!


That's just where I'm at so far!

I'll keep you posted as I finish things up!