I was encouraged to start a blog to help organize my thoughts when it comes to game design. This idea was brought up specifically for designing and prototyping my first board game, First Responders, Inc, but it applies to all of my designs!
If you haven't seen it already, you can check me out on The Game Dojo talking about First Responders, Inc.
After the episode, I was given a few assignments; to add some things into the game that I had conceptualized but hadn't implemented yet.
The number one thing on my list was something that has been obviously needed since the very beginning: player boards. It is much easier to keep track of all your information, and your possible actions, if you have your player board in front of you. It also helps you remember your Corporation's special ability.
First, I designed the Player Boards in Photoshop. I toyed with the idea of using InDesign for the boards (which is what I use to do the layout for my RPG books), but Photoshop just seemed better for this task. I'm sure there are other programs that may have handled this easier, but I don't know those programs :)
After that, I assembled my prototyping station. I didn't actually HAVE a prototyping station before, but Jon Gilmour has one, and I'm jealous of it, so I want one too. But seriously, Jon suggested the paper cutter which I can already see will be valuable.
Once that was done, it was time to print the Player boards out onto special full-size label paper, so I can stick it to the foam core. Once printed, it was a simple matter of slicing them up with the paper cutter and affixing them to the foam core.
It was tricky to get the hang of cutting the foam core. I used an Exacto knife for its precision and sharpness and I tried to do it free hand. 0/10 would not recommend. I won't be doing that again. Next time I hit up the craft store, I'm going to pick up a ruler to make sure my lines are perfectly straight.
And Ta-Da! Fully functional Player Boards. I printed them out in black & white, but the designs are color so it works either way. Why black & white you ask? Because I don't have a color printer! That's right! I come from a background of RPG design and am used to printing out hundreds of pages of text at once, which can drain through your black ink like crazy. And so I switched to a laser jet. Absolutely love it. Only have to replace the toner once in a blue moon. It has saved me so much on ink!
However, that doesn't always work with prototyping. Luckily I think we have our old ink-guzzling color printer somewhere around here. Might boot that up and do color versions for the "final" prototype; the one that I actually show off to publishers.