The Dark Imp Blog

Making board game prototypes

Making board game prototypes

At any one time, I’m working on lots of games. At the time of writing, I have 5 in early design stages, 7 that are somewhere in the development-playtesting cycle and 30+ that I’m actively pitching. (I also have around 50 abandoned games that made it past initial...

Creating Language Independent Rules

Creating Language Independent Rules

I recently set myself the challenge of designing a game that could be taught entirely with language independent rules. I dived in with overconfidence, thinking I’d be done by lunchtime.  I settled on the game quickly - a simple roll & write. The game should be...

Why you shouldn’t avoid playtesting

Why you shouldn’t avoid playtesting

Love it or hate it, playtesting is an absolutely vital part of game development.  It’s tempting to sit in your room, polishing a game and trying to solve all the problems (and potential problems) before you ever put it in front of someone. But this is crazy. Games are...

Mojo Pitch: An inventor’s guide (Part 3: The Follow Up)

Mojo Pitch: An inventor’s guide (Part 3: The Follow Up)

This is the final part of a three-part blog. In Part 1: Before the Pitch, I talked about how to prepare for a big pitching event like Mojo Pitch. And in Part 2: The Pitch, I cover the pitch itself. You might find it useful to read those posts before this. Follow up...

Mojo Pitch: An inventor’s guide (Part 2: The Pitch)

Mojo Pitch: An inventor’s guide (Part 2: The Pitch)

This is part 2 of a three-part blog. In Part 1: Before the Pitch, I talked about how to prepare for a big pitching event like Mojo Pitch. You might find it useful to read that post before this. What you can expect Mojo Pitch is a test of stamina. You’ll be pitching to...

Mojo Pitch: An inventor’s guide (Part 1: Before the Pitch)

Mojo Pitch: An inventor’s guide (Part 1: Before the Pitch)

Mojo Pitch is over, for another year and now (most of) my follow up is complete, I thought I’d take the opportunity to reflect on this bonkers but brilliant event.  I’m doing this in a set of three blog posts.  Before the pitch (that’s this one) The pitch After the...

Scoring in Party Games

Scoring in Party Games

This article was written following discussions on the topic with members of the London Friday Daytime Playtest UK group. It’s often hard to create scoring systems for party games. This may seem counterintuitive because party games are usually very simple. By their...

The Six Working Geniuses

The Six Working Geniuses

I’ve always been interested in personality testing. My Dad set up a career consultancy company in the late 80s. He administered personality tests to individuals - like the 16PF and the Myers Briggs - and then discussed the implication of the results in relation to...

Why you need to stop worrying about protecting your idea

Why you need to stop worrying about protecting your idea

I offer 30-minute free consultations to new game designers. The most common burning question I’m asked is “How do I protect my idea?” My response is “You can’t… And more to the point, you don’t want to.” Let me explain. You can’t protect gameplay It’s not possible to...

The make-your-own-crossword game

The make-your-own-crossword game

Here's a game that I used to play with my Granny. It’s a pen-and-paper game that’s best with 2 players but can stretch to 3. How to play Start by drawing a 9x9 grid. Then choose a 9-letter word to write across the middle of the grid. If you want to randomise setup,...

Designing games with delight

Designing games with delight

This article was written following discussions on the topic with members of the London Friday Daytime Playtest UK group. I've chosen the prototypes in the images/videos, because they are games in which players seem to have experienced delight during playtests. I’m...

Using traditional games to inspire new ones

Using traditional games to inspire new ones

It is commonly said that no new game is truly new. Almost all new games just take pieces of old games and put them together in a new way. Designers use mechanics from other games all the time - they are building blocks from which we create something different. Board...