Analogue Game Design

For this project, we had to create our own fully developed board game concepts. Since we aren’t at school, everything unfortunately had to be conceptual and we couldn’t build anything. These board games had to follow our original stories from the last project. The specific requirements were to…

  • Understand how each game element in the design process holds a relationship to other elements and that the system is best developed as a whole, versus individual parts
  • Understand how narrative can be uniquely communicated in an interactive format by abstracting its meaning and mapping it to a series of actions in a system of play
  • Apply experimentation and indeterminate making to generate possible iterations
  • Apply elements and principles of design to provide aesthetic feedback for game interactions and narrative
  • Demonstration thoughtful layout and organization in a Game Design Document by applying the elements and principles of design


Starting Out

First I had to recognize the theme or moral of my story. As a refresher, it is about a frog who lives on a frog island. He gets bored of his daily routine and wonders if there’s anything else out there. So he travels by boat to the main land and he is in awe. It is so amazing and he wants to stay there forever until he finds a zoo and sees a bunch of frogs locked up in little cages. In the end, he helps them escape and takes them back to the frog island where they learn to appreciate their circumstance and live happily ever after. From this, I concluded that the moral of the story is that grass isn’t always greener on the other side.


Next, I pointed out the goals, mechanics and conflicts of my potential game to construct a solid plan. In the story and therefore in my game, there are 4 main goals: escaping Froggy Island, getting to the mainland, helping the frogs escape from the zoo, and getting back to Froggy Island. For the mechanics, when player reach the checkpoints they’ll have to draw a card and complete a challenge of increasing difficulty to pass. The conflict of this game comes down to those checkpoints and who is best at them so they can get to the finish first. Here is a sample sketch of what the game board will look like…


This idea was well received, so I decided to move forward with it and develop it even further. Here is an updated and much more detailed version of game play…

The game is set up as an adventure/journey where you follow a path that ends up back where it started. The goal is to get back to the island (starting point) first. The game is played with little frog figurines for each person, dice, a spinner, fate cards, and checkpoint cards. the dice are used for fate/checkpoint challenges while the spinner is used to move along the board. Throughout the path, there are fate tiles that (if you land on them) prompt you to get a fate card that says something like “Roll the dice. If you roll an even number then move forward one tile, if you roll an odd number then move back one tile.” The main structure of this game is set up in 4 stages: being on the island, escaping the island, getting to the mainland, and helping the frogs escape back to the island. At each of these major checkpoints you draw a checkpoint card that would say something like “You need to get off this island and sneak it past the townspeople. You can either roll the dice now and if you get a 1 or 2, you can successfully sneak past everyone. Or you can wait an extra turn and you don’t have to roll the dice at all, you can just go past them.” This helps include elements of strategy so it’s not only fate who decides who the winner is. As you go to each checkpoint, the tasks get riskier and riskier.

Now that my concept was pretty much developed, it was time to start creating visuals. Here is a mood board along with other game elements I decided to draw for my very own board game: A Frog’s Journey…

To finish off this super fun project I had to create a detailed Game Design Document that lays out every single detail you’d need to know about the game. Other than that, I drew the new a improved game board and that was it!

What I Learned

I learned that a lot more goes into board games than meets the eye. I had to think about so much more than the rules of the game and what it looked like. I had to take into consideration how fun it would be and how to make it more competitive. Overall this project was very fun and I also learned that I really love creating mood boards!