Board Game Design Hack – A Review

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On Friday 12th June, Tinkerbot Games held it’s first Design Hack at the Katiwok Restaurant in Cardiff. For the full details of what a ‘design hack’ is then check out this link, but in a nutshell a Hack is a short presentation concerning an aspect of the design world, followed by a workshop (the hack) where designers are split into groups to ‘hack through’ a design topic.

The Talk

“The right (and wrong) way to build a social media following (AKA how I got 70,000 of the wrong people to follow me on Facebook)”

In this, our first hack, Gino gave a talk about the value of social media and more specifically on what data can be extrapolated from each of the platforms available to the budding designer. One point of focus was Follower numbers and what this truly means; even with over 68000 Facebook followers, the FB algorithms and type of followers Gino has for his Epic Lab Time page make the Follower interaction less valuable than his 900 or so Twitter followers who reciprocate in a meaningful way far more with Retweets and comments.

The Hack

The Challenge – Design a new Time Travel game

We chased up the talk by splitting into groups of four and working our way through a design challenge. At this hack, the subject was ‘Time Travel as a mechanic’, which got a few chuckling groans from the attendees as this is a tricky design to tackle. But tackle it we did, and with gusto! By the end of the allotted hour (including a pitstop for some of Katiwok’s Asian fusion street food, slobber!) both teams had actually chucked together quite a few ‘raw’ ideas.

My personal favourites were the Quantum timelines game with each ‘event’ being exclusive, yet affecting the outcome of the other timelines around it, and the superhero multi-timeline battling game where the same superhero from several different timelines had to clobber villains from all the different timelines involved, with each era’s hero being more or less effective in the fight depending on which timeline the villain he was combatting was from.

Wyn and Tony having a particularly intense game of Tinker Tactics
Wyn and Tony having a particularly intense game of Tinker Tactics

So a great event, small but beautifully formed. If you missed it, we really hope you can make the next one as we loved every second of it. With the wealth of topics in the board game design industry, there’s a lot that can be done with these ‘hacks’; whether you’re stuck on a design of your own, looking for inspiration or just want to stretch your design muscles (and maybe learn something? I know I did!) the next hack may be exactly what you’re looking for!

If you have any questions about board game design hacks, drop them in the comments and one of us will get back to you.

If you’re interested in hearing about the next Hack event you can sign up here, just click “Board Game Design Hack Events” at the bottom of the page.

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