Digital Game II students learn the fundamentals of board game design

Sophomores are introduced to the key elements of tabletop gaming


Board games are one of the main introductions to game design and are an important skill to learn for Digital Game II students. For this unit, students will be designing their own board game. “I love the thought of freely designing things and board games are so simple to design making it really enjoyable,” sophomore Rayan Al Jahouri. “I feel like the further we get into the lesson the more fun and easy things are coming to me.” Photo Credit: Unsplash

Farhad Yazdani


Board games have been around for nearly 5500 years and have developed into something that many people enjoy playing in their free time. The first board game ever made was called Senet and was made around 3500 B.C.


Now, Ronald Barranco’s Digital Game Design II students are learning about the key elements of a great board game and the steps that are required to achieve that. 


“Elements in any game are important, but twice as much in board games,” Barranco said. “Because there’s no flashy graphics or animations, all you have are the designs and elements and if that isn’t well thought out the game won’t be good.”


One of the main elements students have focused on is learning about the characteristics of an engaging component. For example, in “Monopoly” there are hotels, houses and the ability to own properties to keep players motivated.


“Designing a board game is hard in the sense that you have to look at it and ask yourself if you would play it,” sophomore Aiden Duval. “If the answer is no then you have to re-do it and usually that’s the case.”


Many students are enjoying the freedom of being able to make their own game and are delving into different genres.


“Actually I enjoy making strategy games and complex games,” sophomore Hai Tong said. “I enjoy thinking hard about things and going deep into thought when creating a game.”


Board games are just a stepping stone for video game designers. Barranco hopes the students are able to master this skill to help improve their overall designing skills.


“The goal of this assignment is to teach you guys a simple way to design a game,” Barranco said. “Designing a board game is a very simple design but will help teach you the process on how to design a game.”