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Venandi – Board Game Design

Venandi is a tabletop board game created by myself for my university class Game Experience Design (BCM300). It is a fantasy game where you play  in a group of hunters, sent to a nearby abandoned town to destroy the beasts that plague it. Before I go into the process of creating Venandi, I will briefly cover some main points for the game to give some basic understanding of the concept before I discuss how I came to the final product.

You begin the game with a randomly selected hunter, you travel around the board based on the number you roll at the beginning of your turn. When the player is in the 1 space radius (on any side) surrounding a randomly spawned monster, they have the chance to defeat the beast which then earns them coins (based on the amount listed on the monster card). In short summary, the first hunter to reach 20 coins is the winner of the game.

I created Venandi with great difficulty in the beginning. I dreamed of making a complex and fully set up game, and it took me some time to accept it did not need to be perfect. Venandi began originally as a card game, with a completely different genre theme (pop culture) & obviously did not have the name. Yet upon some thought I was not as interested in the topic as I had initially intended, so I came back to brainstorming upon my interests. On the basis of a game that revolves around the genre of fantasy/fiction and also has a physical board to play on, was where Venandi came to life. Intending to have a game that individuals can compete and challenge one another, whilst almost having a “RPG” “Choose your own adventure” element with it, (this was adopted with the use of the shop and the black smith, players can choose what path they wish to take their character on).

As a very creative person, I began looking at the physical and aesthetic aspect of the game rather than the mechanical side, which as I will explore later in my dossier, I now regret as I spent less time looking at the mechanics or intricacies of the game. But I initially drew out my original idea for the board.

As you can see in my initial draft for the board, there are many aspects in my initial idea that I decided to keep in my final product – some may call this a pot of gold because from the beginning there were many aspects of my initial ideas that have remained in Venandi such as the use of a shop and black smith, and also the basic idea of the board layout.

One major part of the game that had changed was the way the hunters move around on the board. Initially I had intended for Venandi to have character movement on the board via the use of action points (AP) that players could compile points and use them each turn to do things such as move, attack, and use to purchase items in the stores. I had intended to keep this process but as the process of creation went along, it was lost when I changed my attack system.

Also, another point that was changed around during the process was the attack system. Rather than it be based on a given amount each turn and based on AP, I really wanted to create a game that was a bit easier to understand and it was a little simpler to create the game with a more understandable attack system.

I converted from the original idea to in summary, on the turn of the hunter, if a player is in any tile surrounding the monster, on any side, they are open to attack once every turn. A 6-sided dice is rolled on their turn, once to determine how many attack points are subtracted from the monster, and the dice is rolled a second time to determine how many attack points the monster unleashes on the player which is then subtracted from the players health. This is then when players, at the end of their turn, can optionally choose items from the shop to regenerate health. In order to get through the game, one would assume that players most likely would need to purchase items to keep their health up, but as we find with many games, luck may persevere, and hunters may only lose a few health points.

Overall, the development of the physical prototype was the main part of this assignment I thoroughly enjoyed! As a creative spirit, I often am making things and even have my own small arts business where I make products on the side. I had access to some tools which also assisted me in my journey to making Venandi come to life.

I began with the board design. I digitally created the board with the intention of it looking more professional. At the beginning, I had hoped to get the board printed professionally via a board game product website, as time went on, I unfortunately was unable to do this due to the oncoming due date.

I intended for Venandi to be a larger board to allow for space for hunters to move and also move around the monsters. This design was the first design after my initial drawing, and I was happy with the results, so it did not go through a large process of iteration. The board has a safe zone for players where they can purchase items. The general aesthetic of the board allows players to be able to immerse themselves in this story and enjoy the game to the full potential.

The next part of the prototype creation was printing the board and making it a physical game. I purchased a board game that was on sale at my local store, ironically enough it turned out to be a monopoly board, this gave me the resources to create player cards, the board and I could even create player movement pieces from this. For the temporary prototype when I play tested – I did use the monopoly character pieces.

For the board, it came to converting my image to the right size and then printing the image to then cut up and glue on top of the board. Due to printer access, they were only in black and white images, but for a prototype it would do.

I also had to design the character cards where players can keep track of their hearts and their coins. Taking inspiration from King of Tokyo’s character dials, I began to research and design my own character dials.

This is where I was able to use some of the tools available to me. With the use of a Cricut Maker machine (cutting machine often used in arts and crafts), I was able to cut all my dials in equal size and plan where everything may sit. I printed and cut all the resources and then built my dials, gluing things together, inserting paper fasteners to make sure the mechanical side of the dials worked. Notably, I had no inspiration to draw my own characters for the players, so via the use of copyright free images and with acknowledgement of the Scribblenaughts videogame, I did use their characters for my own. In future if Venandi was to become a proper game, characters illustrations would need to be changed.

I then needed to design all the game cards for the monsters, tokens, and the shop items. Once again, this was done digitally and took a while to compile all my images and print them, to then glue them onto cards to strengthen them for playthrough. I used the cards from the now unplayable monopoly game and glued my own cards on top of the cards, finding they were a perfect size for players to hold and keep around the board. This also meant using the items to the full potential and reducing waste from the now recycled monopoly board.

I created the items from my own extensive knowledge of RPG’s and fantasy games and films as well as the weapons. I wanted to give items that would give the hunters a slight advantage but nothing that felt too overpowered.

Overall, my physical game prototype, I believe came out quite successfully. Due to some family issues, I was unable to make it into class for a playtesting experience with my fellow peers that are doing the subject -which would enable me to more in depth and valuable feedback. But I did perform a playtest with my 2 siblings and my best friend, which they were able to give good feedback from the perspective of individuals who were not doing the BCM300 class and were playing the game for entertainment purposes.

We played the game and in summary there were a few points addressed that needed improvement in my game. First of all, we needed to download an app for the dice, as I did not have a 16-sided dice handy on me, but if the game was available to the public, it would be included. We began the game and my younger brother had immediately gone for a competitive game style and had quite the luck in rolling higher numbers to defeat the monsters. He then purchased items as I had intended for players to do before tackling bigger monsters. He had recommended I create a player turn scenario in the rules sheet as there was a little bit of confusion with learning the rules via a brief explanation – I had learnt that after creating the game, it was easy for me to understand yet may be more complex for individuals who do not know the game.

My sister was however, less than interested in the game which was amusing. I had roped her into doing my play testing experience, but she said she was not really interested in board games, they dragged on for her – this did not surprise me knowing her, but also confirmed to me, not everyone is going to like a game. Hence why you cater your game to a particular market and audience.

As usual in a board game, I lost. To my own game? Somehow that was possible, but I was able to gain a considerable amount of feedback through the playtesting. The first was the recommendation for a play-by-play example for the rules. But also, it was recommended the way I chose to depict the rules, my friend found them too brief and didn’t explain the game as well as they wanted. They had also mentioned it did not feel as immersive as a story, so I decided to set the mood with an “intro/story” into the game before the rules are listed.

The group did, however, mention they liked the physical aspects of the game; the dials were enjoyed and for a group of people that don’t often play board games outside of the traditional monopoly or connect 4, it was a new concept they were interested in. The cards for the monsters were also enjoyed as I put brief facts at the bottom of the cards about the creature such as origins or characteristics. One last feedback idea was also the game time. We found the game had gone quite quickly for what was expected. Overall, the game took about 30mins to complete which is not such a bad thing, but as individuals got used to the game, they may complete it faster. My friend mentioned that maybe in future I could look at making a harder monster deck pack and expanding the shop/blacksmith stock.

Taking this all into consideration, there were some things I just could not help, the first being my sister who was not interested in the game, another being that at the current moment, creating a longer gameplay deck would be great but for the purpose of the game, not at the current time. I had also included a brief story to the game before the rules so that individuals can be assisted in immersing themselves into this gameplay.

Thinking about Venandi and its potential out in the world, I believe that with some fine tuning, the game could be quite popular. I believe it would be a Kickstarter project and with the help of some visual artists to help design more detailed graphics, I think it could really take off. The game appeals to not only individuals interested in the fantasy and RPG genres but because it is not difficult to understand, younger audiences would enjoy the game too. I believe because there is mention of violence, the game would be an audience of 13+ but I think it could range for young and older audiences without a worry. The idea to additionally have ‘expansion’ packs with more difficult monsters would be great to have as an additional option, but also opportunities such as expansion maps and more shop items is also a possibility. Whilst it is not a complex game as I had originally gone for, it can have different levels of difficulty that can make it enjoyable for many different audiences.

In summary to a very long dossier about my game, I am proud of Venandi. It is a game that I would want to play with my friends and as many have also described, they would want to play also. It is a game for many and in the end can be enjoyed by many also.

Game rules for Venandi –

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Game rules for Venandi –

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Published by Alex Cooper

UOW Communication and Media Student - Majoring in Digital and Social Media - Minoring in Graphic Design

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