There is no “i” in team. Unless you are multi-skilled, have endless time and enjoy being a hermit, you will be designing your game as part of a team. When making board games, a team often consists of friends getting together to talk about ideas and building proto-types. This is all very fun, although quickly you will need to bring some order and a framework to help you develop your game. Time is precious and getting 3 or more people together at the same time can be difficult when they have full time jobs and families.
Here are some things to consider:
1 – Sit down, make a plan and appoint a coordinator
When you are all friends it is natural to try and do things collectively and follow what interests the group as a whole. However, this will only get you so far when creating a game as, without planning, individuals focus and attention can soon diverge.
To address this you need to appoint a team coordinator. This isn’t the same as a “boss”, instead think of it as a person that everybody in the team respects and is prepared to listen to. The team coordinator is responsible for setting up a plan of actions of things that the group needs to do and also for making sure each action is completed according to time.
2 – Figure what skill sets your team has and put them to good use
In business, the reason for having a team is to bring different skills together to achieve an outcome. The same principles apply to a group of friends working together. Once a plan of action is established, the next step is to map out who is best to do certain jobs. It’s beneficial to sit down and agree as a group where the best skills lie. This may be difficult as an honest assessment of individual’s skill sets can be hard to deliver or receive.
There will be some tasks where nobody will have any experience (e.g. organising shipping of products!), but what you can do is get those on your team more disposed to researching and finding stuff out. Very quickly you will find out that there are lots of things involved in building a board game that you will not have experience of – so best get started on researching early doors.
There will be other tasks where you all have similar levels of experience or you all want to do it (e.g. play testing!). The team coordinator has to ensure that tasks/actions are split well and accommodate as best as possible people’s desires versus the end goal.
3 – Remember it’s supposed to be fun
While planning and working together as a team is fun, you have to be careful to make sure everybody has a shot at the fun things or tasks they enjoy. If you don’t, you may just find your team members drifting away or momentum dissipates. It’s the job of the team to feedback to the coordinator how they are feeling so that corrective action can be taken before problems set in.