Have you ever played Settlers of Catan, or maybe Ticket to Ride, or (at the very least) Monopoly? Well, I can assure you that these games are so famous and well-crafted due to the user experience design process. The creators of these games may not even be aware that they were practicing UX design, but a lot of what is required of good board game design relates to this.
Here are 6 ways that UX and board game design are very similar:
- Both typically involve research into other competitors’ game mechanics, themes, and other conventions (competitive analysis).
- Surveys are often-times used on sites such as Boardgamegeek.com, to find out about people’s views on different games and mechanics within them (user research).
- Design starts with simple prototypes, which are constantly used and iterated on.
- Having people playtesting your game is the equivalent of usability testing for a product.
- While refining the prototypes with each consecutive playtest, the components may start moving toward higher fidelity mockups.
- And like UX design, even the final product that you come out with is never really done, because some player somewhere will find some "once in a blue moon" scenario in your board game that was never addressed...
So next time you’re playing a board game like Ticket to Ride, think about your user and experience and what all went in to making it as delightful as it is to play!