I’ve been working on Heroes of Ismia for about a year, and the process of designing and developing my own board game has been a fascinating and rewarding experience. As I get closer to prototyping, I would like to share some of my designs for feedback, as well as discuss the mechanics and creative process that brought the game to the state it is at now.

One year ago, when I set out to make my own board game, I took about an hour pondering the various genres of games I love to play: fantasy adventure, resource management, role playing. I decided I would make a game featuring aspects of all these genres, and by the end of the hour, I had the skeletal framework of a game I could play in my head. One week later I had a playable mock-up.

My very patient and supportive fiance sat down with me and we ran through the game. The first run was remarkably playable all the way to the endgame, where the mathematics became a little unbalanced. Since then, the game has come a long way. Combat has become more dynamic and fun, new skills, items and quests have been implemented, and the mechanics have been tweaked for faster gameplay.

In this inaugural Game Design Diary, I’ll give a quick summary of the game in its current iteration, with upcoming diaries focussed on more specific aspects of the game I am currently refining or designing.

The game itself is a quest-based fantasy adventure game, in which you chose a hero at the onset of gameplay and are tasked with an Epic Quest which you must finish before any other player. Each hero has a class and a race that determines their skills and abilities that will aid in their quest for glory.

Throughout the course of the game, the heroes visit different locations on the board acquiring quests, then killing monsters, and collecting resources to complete said quests. When a quest is completed, the hero gains a level and sometimes a new power to help fight more difficult monsters.

There are many items and actions that players may use to help them in their journey. Powerful cards may be acquired that make gathering resources more effective or travel more efficient. Items may be purchased in town that aid in combat or otherwise augment your hero.

All this killing monsters, managing resources and completing quests is well and good but as the saying goes, a hero is only as good as his weapon (or something like that) and what would a Hero of Ismia be without a powerful artifact to help in completing his or her Epic Quest. An important part of every hero’s journey is exploring the world in search of an artifact to help them complete their Epic Quest. Finding your artifact early can often mean the difference between victory and defeat. Not only can the artifact aid you on the way to your destiny, it is required before a hero even attempt his or her Epic Quest.

So those are the basics of my game, The Heroes of Ismia: make a character, gather resources, kill monsters, complete quests, find your artifact, fulfill your destiny.

My next Game Design Diary will go into more detail on one aspect of the game as I work on refining and polishing it for playability.