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I'm Daniel Piechnick.

I'm a board game designer from Australia, and former national Scrabble champion.

I'm the designer of the award-winning game Radlands, Published by Roxley Games. It has sold well over 100,000 copies, and has now been translated into ten languages. I also have other games approved for publication.

What is this?

This site teaches you how to design board games that people will love, or that a publisher would want to publish.

I wrote this site because I see a lack of comprehensive, practical advice for aspiring board game designers.

Many board game design websites I see are troves of analysis. These sites just explain how things are. Others give lots of general advice, and best practice. Some go no further than pointless abstractions and theory.

This is a site primarily of advice. In this site, I tell you what to do.

How to create a board game

Board game design is iterative. You come up with an idea, you create a playable prototype of the game, and then you play it with someone. From that playtest, you learn things, and you modify your game. Then, you play it again. You repeat this process many, many times, until the game is great.

It's important to understand that there is no manual that can teach you exactly how to create a great board game, any more than there's a manual that can teach you exactly how to write a great book.

Board game design sits at the intersection of logic and psychology.

Game design is far too complex to be fully understood or solved. I can give you my best advice, but it's just a raised platform you'll still need to skilfully build upon. Most of your expertise will come from your own practice and reflection, and a huge amount of trial and error.

My Approach to Writing

I've written this site for people who are serious about board game design, as most designers are. This site is purely my opinion, but it's my brutally honest opinion. I'll tell you exactly what I think, including things polite people won't tell you. Some of what I have to say is directed not at your game, but at you, and at designers in general.

Most of my methodology is my own, but a small amount was learned from outside, particularly from the popular fantasy card game Magic: the Gathering (usually abbreviated to just Magic.) Some of my advice lines up with common wisdom. Most doesn't.

This site is not a scattering of thoughts. The 90 or so articles I've written cover my entire design methodology, and amount to a complete course in board game design.

This site was mostly written during 2018. It was published in 2023, after the success of Radlands.

No one has any business telling you how to design games if they're not a successful designer themselves.

Reading this site

The advice on this site is accompanied by examples from published games, from my game Radlands, and from games I'm no longer working on. This site is also written to be understandable by people who are not board game enthusiasts.

The foundational articles are first, so I suggest reading the articles on this site in numerical order. Feel free to skip ahead if you think you're more advanced.

Let's begin.

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