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Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

Part 2

The next step

The maturity of design coincides with the growth of Design’s sphere of activity. As our work increases its impact in people’s life and the environment so do our responsibilities and area of influence. This means that slowly but surely we’re becoming more and more involved in matters that are relevant to all of society (and more).


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Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Part 1

Design’s growth

Design as a discipline has grown a lot over the last few years. For something that was only seen as surface polish it has now earned recognition for the value it brings to organizations on a strategic level. This growth also means that the discipline needs to mature rapidly to fit into its new role and responsibilities.

For the greater part of the last century, Design was mostly concerned with the idea of making beautiful and useful artifacts. For the industry, Design has been something to add at the end of the process, lipstick for the product. …


Part 6

A boardgame with some tokens and a spacechip model.
A boardgame with some tokens and a spacechip model.

Designing games is no different than designing experiences or products, but like with any medium there are peculiarities. Through this series, we covered most of the design process but I would like to finish by going over some of the peculiarities I got to experience firsthand during this project of mine and some of the things I learned along the way.

Meaningful choices

Let’s start with one of the core ideas. Board games are all about meaningful choices yet many times the systems we are designing need a certain amount of bookkeeping and minutiae to function. There’s a fine line to consider…


Part 5

Close up of a spaceship component with tokens on it.
Close up of a spaceship component with tokens on it.

We all know the importance of testing our designs, of putting them in front of real users. This is doubly important in board games. There are lots of variables and interdependencies that affect how a game behaves, making it a bit unpredictable once you put it in front of people. One can never know how a player will react, the behaviours that the different rules will produce and how the mechanics will interact with each other.

My best recommendation to game designers is to make a rough prototype as soon as possible and test it sooner than later.

Testing formats

There are…


Part 4

An early prototype of the game with the board (with an hexagonal grid) and different pieces on it.
An early prototype of the game with the board (with an hexagonal grid) and different pieces on it.
An early prototype

Finally! It’s time to get our hands dirty with some good ol’ conceptualizing. We have passed the planning chasm and now we’ve landed in execution land.

What we’re going to do now is to take all the knowledge, information and ideas that have come up during the planning phase and start to put it together in the shape of a game that other people can experience.

The fundamentals of Board game design

Board games are built upon three core elements: Mechanics, Theme and Components.


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From IDEO U

I design therefore I am

Can we please, please, please stop berating Design Thinking for “not doing” or “just thinking”. These are phrases that might sound nice but are absolutely meaningless.

I do have my own reservations about Design Thinking (a lot of reservations actually) and I’m well aware about its limitations but doing (or not) is not one of them.

Design Thinking is its name not its scope. It’s a set of tools and methodologies to carry out a design project from start to finish, including the doing. …


Part 3

A drawing of a  man standing on a huge screen with information, on the bridge of a spaceship.
A drawing of a  man standing on a huge screen with information, on the bridge of a spaceship.
Ralph McQuarrie’s painting for the original Battlestar Galactica

We have the information, insights and lots of possible leads into the design of the game. Now it’s time to decide what is actually the game we are going to make. This is about laying the foundations. While we don’t want to constantly go back and forth on design decisions we still want room to explore and this is a difficult task to balance. A solid understanding of the path and a clear goal is paramount for a clear and tight process and helps us create a coherent game.

From what I’ve seen, this is something a lot of designers…


Part 2

A mural of references, with pictures, game components and physical products.
A mural of references, with pictures, game components and physical products.

After researching our subject, after gathering lots and lots of information both around the theme and other games and their mechanics, after talking with players (if appropriate) we now have lots of data, but data alone is worthless. We need to make sense of it. Synthesis is the process of taking all that data and creating knowledge out of it.

Hopefully you’ve been classifying the data while you were collecting it, otherwise sorting all that information is going to be the first task.

Categorizing

Each game will require its own type of sorting according to what you’re looking to achieve or…


Part 1

Part of a space themed boardgame with spaceships miniatures, tokens and cards.
Part of a space themed boardgame with spaceships miniatures, tokens and cards.

The process of designing a board game is not different from designing any other product. You can approach it as an exercise in problem-solving or as a medium for self-expression and everything in between.

As a hobby, I’ve dabbled a bit in board game design. My first project was an exploration of the design process and how it correlates to boardgames. Since the purpose of the project was about learning rather than developing a great game I’m reluctant to even call mine a decent game but I do believe that the process behind has been quite interesting, enough to merit…


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Image designed by GarryKillian / Freepik

Or how I feel about the interview process

Interviewing people might be the most fascinating part of the whole design research process.

Disclaimer: This is not a ‘how to’ guide, there are already many great articles about that. This is just a personal examination of my own feelings about the interview process.

First of all, interviewing people is all about having a glimpse about people’s motivations and thoughts. Interviews provide you, as the interviewer, a chance to abandon your own reality and realise that the way you view the world is not the absolute truth. It’s amazing to be challenged and exposed to many different perspectives.

There’s a…

Diego Beltrami

Designer with a passion for design and culture

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