Open development for board games

Harnessing the world in your game development

I started Unknown Worlds Entertainment many years ago, so we could make Natural Selection 2. The original Natural Selection was very community focused, with much of our talent and elbow grease coming directly from unpaid talent. As we’ve grown, we’ve wanted to retain our roots and connection with our community, while still being able to operate as a 25+ person company. Doing that has been quite challenging.

We want to be able to make design and production changes quickly, and we’ve found that just trying to keep our own team up to date with our own changes was difficult, never mind our community. But we’ve been selling our games way before they were done since 2009 and so it’s absolutely imperative that we keep our community up to date with everything from new art, design changes, dates of releases, etc.

One of the ways we’ve done this is through open development. That is, making everything about our games’ development public. That includes bug tracking and playtest reports, live customer feedback, release dates, in-process design docs, problems we’re struggling with, everything. Often this means sharing code, conversations, and now even our daily builds are released to the public. But how does this related to board game development?

I’m not sure if it will work as well, but I have a feeling that sharing board game development problems, changes, rules, etc. will work just as well as in video games. As I’m learning about developing my Cosmic Encounter flavored Vampire game from the start, I know I sure would’ve loved to see the process in detail from someone that has done it before. While I can’t offer that exactly, I can offer the following resources, which could be helpful for other budding designers or for potential fans that might be interested in game when it’s ready.

I’m using this public Trello board to show what I’m working on, how I’m learning, what I’m researching and the problems I’m facing. There is even one or two people commenting in there already and providing moral support:

Open development plans for Moonlight
Open development plans for Moonlight

You can see everything from what books I’m reading, to the design problems I’m facing, to the movies I’m watching for inspiration. I hope to grow the seeds of a community about this game from here, as well as possibly get some development help from a whole group of people I haven’t met yet!

Please post in the comments links to any blogs, Trello boards, etc. of your own that might inspire all of us to be more open.

3 thoughts on “Open development for board games”

  1. Let me know if comments are working for you. They seem kind of hidden or possibly disabled.

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