what is a board game design hack2-01

Ok, so you’re probably at this page because you’e wondering what a board game design hack is. Here’s the general idea:

What’s a design hack?

A design hack is an event where like-minded people get together to share ideas, discuss new concepts and have an opportunity to practise their design skills. We’ll be taking this idea and applying it to board game design.

When & Where?

The event will be most likely held on a weekday evening (6-9pm -ish) at a venue in Cardiff (UK) that has tables for us to work on and facilities for food/drink.


The venue Katiwok on Crwys Road in Cardiff has very generously offered us the use of their upstairs room for free! They only ask that attendees order some food/drink while we’re there which I think is more than reasonable (especially as it’s one of my favourite places to eat in Cardiff). Check out the menu here.

How would it work?

First half – Shared Learning

A series of micro-talks (5-15 mins) on board game design. You don’t have to be a published designer to deliver a talk, just have something to share that you think would be helpful to other designers. Ideas could be things like:

Break for food/drink

We’ll find a venue where we can either order food/drink on site, bring our own or have it delivered. The break is an opportunity to talk about the ideas we discussed in the first half, meet other designers and generally be sociable.

Second Half – The Hack

In this half of the event we’ll break into small groups. Each group will be given the same design challenge and have time to try and solve that challenge as best they can. At the end, each  solution (or ‘hack’) is presented for discussion.

Why bother?

If the above sounds like something you’d have fun doing, that’s pretty much the point. If you’re reading this then you’re probably like us and you enjoy designing board games. This event is an opportunity to share what you’ve learned, learn from others, meet other designers and warm up those design muscles by working collaboratively on the design hack.


We really want this to be free. We’re currently looking for a venue that will let us hold the event for nothing if we agree to get food/drink from them. If we have to get a paid venue then we’ll be looking for a sponsor to cover all costs. If you know of any sponsors please let us know in the comments or send us an email. If we do have to pay then it will be a small fee to cover the cost of the venue (a pound or two).


As I said further up the page, Katiwok on Crwys Road in Cardiff have very generously offered us the use of their upstairs room for free! We (The Tinkerbots) won’t be charging anything for you to attend, your only cost will be food/drink.

What next?

We’re still finalising details but we want to know what you think and how you’d want to do it.

Hell yeah! I don’t want to miss this!

If you’d like to be kept in the loop about these events then click here, pop in your email address and select “Board Game Design Hack” to get email updates when we confirm an event.

It’s so FLUFFY!

If you know people who would be interested in this event feel free to share this page with them using the buttons below.

As always, we’d love to hear from you! contact me on twitter: @ginobrancazio and send me your thoughts, or send us an email: info@tinkerbotgames.com

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7 Responses

  1. A hack is “an inelegant but effective solution to a problem”. I think the term you are looking for is ‘hackathon’. Came here for the potential neat tips on designing games, but found an advertisement for a hackathon.

    1. Hi Andy, sorry you didn’t find what you were looking for. I should probably have made it clearer that this isn’t an advert, but rather a plan I’ve put together for an event I’m holding in my city that people can copy/amend/steal to hold their own event in their city.

      I used the term ‘Hack’ as that’s the end result of the evening, a group hack solution to a design challenge.

      I put this post together because I’ve been bouncing this idea around with local designers and it’s a lot easier to point them to a page with all the info on. When the hacks are over we’ll be posting a summary of the evening with lessons learned, perhaps that may be more useful to you?

      For a place to find useful design tips I highly recommend checking out Cardboard Edison here: http://cardboardedison.tumblr.com/archive (if you’re not already aware of them) and the various design groups on Reddit, Facebook and Google+

  2. This sounds intriguing. (So wish we lived near Cardiff!). My only nagging doubt – can you fit all that into an evening? I’d want to spend the day doing all the that!!!

    (I got the use of “hack”. Perfectly good term.)

  3. If I lived in Cardiff or at least somewhere in the UK this would have been very interesting to attend.
    Alas, the North Sea is kind of a hassle to cross for one night. 😉

    Cool initiative though!

  4. Hey Gino, good luck with the event! Since you mentioned it, I’d love to use the hashtag with a similar style event here. Keep it all under one roof, you know?

    Wonder if there’d be a possibility of doing a simultaneous collaboration using video chat rooms?

    1. Hi Rich! Yeah feel free to use the hashtag and do the same event! I’d love to know how it goes so please keep me updated!

      Simultaneous events would be amazing! Only problem is time-zones so we’d probably have to hold one on a weekend, what TZ are you in?

      1. Time Zones would be an issue, unless it was a 24 hour event. I’m in the Pacific/Auckland time zone, so currently 13 hours apart.