Presenting: The Board Games My Daughters (And 27 Other Beaver Scouts) Designed
So, as I mentioned a few weeks back, I had to shift my focus away from the Codex for a bit in order to finish up the artwork for the board games that were designed by the two Beaver Scout colonies that I lead (Kidlets #1 and #2 are in the Monday night colony, by the way). If you’re curious about the whole process by which we went about designing the games, that was chronicled in Episode #37 of Spam Spam Spam Humbug; check out the show notes for details.
The challenge to me, at the end of the three meetings (for each colony) that were devoted to designing these games, was to take the hastily-drawn artwork from each colony and come up with some better-looking artwork for each. The reason for doing so was so that, at the end of the year, I would be able to present each Beaver Scout with a boxed copy of the game that he or she helped design.
Which I think might just be the coolest thing about this whole undertaking: there are twenty-nine kids who can now, I think, legitimately claim that they have designed a game. (With some help and teaching from Chris Corfe, Brad Paras, and Jos Hendriks of BioWare, and an assist from the good Mr. Ian Frazier as well.)
Anyhow, I figured it was only fair to give you all a look at the finished products of the efforts that kept me away from the site for a bit.
Here’s the game that the Monday night colony came up with:
This game has a couple of different ways of being played: the short form is a straight-up race from Pluto (the outermost space on the spiral) to Earth; the first player there wins. The longer game requires players to visit each planet in turn, and then return to Earth. There are blue and red wormholes on the board; blue wormholes move players from an outer arm of the spiral to an inner arm (i.e. toward the Sun), and red wormholes move players from an inner arm to an outer arm (i.e. away from the Sun). And landing on the Sun can catapult players to several different spaces on the board, depending on the outcome of a spin of the spinner.
I’ve got a point of personal pride where this game is concerned: Kidlet #1 came up with the theme for it.
Here’s the game that the Tuesday night colony came up with:
This game is perhaps a bit more complicated. The players navigate around the outer circumference of the board, and landing on one of the ! spaces means they get to draw a card from the deck. Half the cards have sticks (which the players want to collect), and the other half have various bits of garbage (which can have detrimental effects for players, such as moving back a space or losing a turn). Sticks, once collected, have to be delivered to the white spaces at the endpoints of the two spiral paths; the winner is the player who is able to deliver the most sticks. Oh, and if two players land on the same space, they fight: each rolls the dice, and the player who rolls highest gets to take a stick from the other.
Initially, the Tuesday night group selected Star Wars as a theme, with the object of the game being to collect as many lightsabers as possible. Obviously, this was not material I would have been able to get printed, so I had to change the theme to something else…and I have to say, it’s amusing how easily a game about Star Wars was turned into a game about beavers in a stream. But, there it is.
Most of the art design was done in GIMP; images (where used) were obtained from Pixabay (which seems a decent place at which to obtain open source images). Printing was done through BoardGamesMaker.com. This wasn’t the only service I found online which advertised being able to print board games, but it was the only service I found that was willing to print a small run of copies; everywhere else had a 500 unit minimum. And I have to say, I’m really quite happy with the quality of the finished products overall.
So, that’s done (for the most part). I’ll be handing the games out to the kids in the near future, and I’m pretty sure they’ll be thrilled. Really, my hope for them is that they can keep these on hand for years to come, as something to play and enjoy…and as something they can treasure and take inspiration from. And hey, maybe a few of them will try their hand at designing other games in the future; wouldn’t that be cool?
Oh, and: I need to give a note of thanks to my wife here, because she did rather save the day last Friday. I was keeping a fairly close eye on the FedEx tracking number I had received, watching for the delivery notification. When it came, I noticed that the driver had recorded that there had been no reply…so the packages had just been left at the door. I texted my wife and asked if the games had arrived, and she informed me that they hadn’t. However, she had been planning to leave home soon anyhow — our daughter’s school was taking a field trip to the local Catholic parish for a special Mass, and she had planned to attend the service as well — so she got the other two kids into the car and drove around the neighbourhood. (It has happened, in the past, that deliveries meant for another house have sometimes come to our house; all the street names in the area begin with the same letter.) And, after a few minutes, she found them…sitting outside a house down the block.
I shudder to think what might have happened had she not.