How to Make Turn Based Strategy Board Games

Turn-based strategy board games have captivated the minds of players for decades. These games, often played on a board with various pieces and tokens, involve strategic planning and decision-making in a turn-based format. Each player takes turns to make their moves, carefully considering their actions and anticipating the moves of their opponents. It is this blend of strategy, anticipation, and critical thinking that makes turn-based strategy board games so appealing and popular.

The allure of these games lies in their ability to provide players with a mental challenge while offering a unique social experience. Unlike many other forms of entertainment, turn-based strategy board games require players to think several steps ahead, weighing risks and rewards at each turn. This intellectual engagement creates a sense of achievement when successful strategies are executed or challenges overcome.

Moreover, turn-based strategy board games offer an opportunity for creativity and personalization. Whether you want to create your own unique game mechanics or design an intricate fantasy world as the backdrop for your game, the possibilities for customization are virtually limitless. Through crafting your own turn-based strategy board game, you can bring your ideas to life and shape an immersive gaming experience tailored to your preferences or even those of friends and family.

In the following sections, we will delve into the process of making turn-based strategy board games – from ideation and conceptualization to playtesting and refining. Each step will guide you through the creation journey with practical tips and insights, providing you with the tools necessary to transform your vision into a fully realized game.

So let’s embark on this exciting adventure together and discover how to make turn-based strategy board games that will captivate players for years to come.

Why Make Turn Based Strategy Board Games?

There are several compelling reasons why individuals may choose to embark on the journey of making their own turn-based strategy board games. One of the primary motivations for creating these games is the opportunity for creativity and personalization.

By developing your own board game, you have complete control over every aspect, from the game mechanics to the design and theme. This allows you to bring your unique ideas and vision to life, resulting in a game that is truly one-of-a-kind.

Another benefit of making turn-based strategy board games is the immense satisfaction that comes from seeing your creation come to life and being enjoyed by others. The process of developing a game can be challenging but also extremely rewarding.

It provides an avenue for self-expression and allows you to share your passion for gaming with others. As people play and engage with your game, you will get valuable feedback and insights that can help improve not just the current game but also future projects.

Furthermore, by creating your own turn-based strategy board games, you become part of a vibrant community of designers and enthusiasts. This community offers opportunities for collaboration, learning, and sharing experiences with like-minded individuals. Connecting with fellow designers can provide valuable mentoring as well as access to resources, conventions, and events where you can showcase your work. Developing your own game not only enables personal growth but also opens doors to new relationships and opportunities within the gaming industry.

Ideation and Conceptualization

When it comes to creating your own turn-based strategy board game, the first step is to brainstorm and gather ideas during the ideation and conceptualization phase. This is where you can let your imagination run wild and explore different themes, mechanics, and gameplay elements for your game.

During the ideation process, it’s important to consider what kind of experience you want to create for players. Think about the atmosphere, emotions, and strategies that you want to evoke through your game. Take inspiration from existing board games or video games in the strategy genre, but also think outside the box and come up with unique ideas that will set your game apart.

Research is another crucial aspect of this phase. Look into similar board games on the market to see what has been done before, what works well, and what can be improved upon. This will not only help you refine your own ideas but also give you a better understanding of what players might be looking for in a turn-based strategy board game.

To organize your thoughts and ideas, you might find it helpful to create sketches or write out notes for different aspects of your game such as the theme, mechanics, characters or factions, victory conditions, etc. This way, you can visually see how all these elements fit together and start forming a cohesive vision for your game.

BrainstormingLetting ideas flow freely in order to generate a variety of concepts.
ResearchGathering information on existing games in the genre to inform and refine your ideas.
OrganizeCategorize and visualize your ideas through sketches, notes, or mood boards.

Remember, the ideation and conceptualization phase is all about exploration and experimentation. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, push boundaries, and challenge conventional game design. With a solid foundation of ideas, you can move on to the next step of creating the game mechanics and bringing your turn-based strategy board game to life.

Creating the Game Mechanics

When making a turn-based strategy board game, creating engaging and balanced game mechanics is crucial. The game mechanics determine how players interact with the game, make strategic decisions, and progress towards victory. In this section, we will explore the fundamental mechanics of turn-based strategy games and discuss the choices and decisions players will make in each turn.

Fundamental Mechanics:

Turn-based strategy games typically involve two or more players taking turns to make strategic decisions and execute actions. Each player takes their turn sequentially, considering the current state of the game and planning their moves accordingly. Examples of popular turn-based strategy board games include “Risk,” “Settlers of Catan,” and “Chess”.

In each turn, players have a range of choices and decisions to make. These may include moving pieces on the game board, attacking opponents’ units or territories, collecting resources or cards, building structures or armies, or engaging in diplomatic negotiations with other players. The specific mechanics will vary depending on the theme and concept of your game.

Choices and Decisions:

One of the key aspects that makes turn-based strategy board games intriguing is the multitude of choices and decisions players have to consider during their turns. Players must carefully evaluate their options, weigh potential risks against rewards, predict opponents’ moves, and adapt their strategies accordingly.

The choices players make in each turn can impact various aspects of the game: resource management, territorial control, army positioning, alliance formation or betrayal, technological advancements, etc. It is important to design mechanics that offer meaningful decisions to players while maintaining balance between different strategies or playstyles.

To create interesting choices for players in your turn-based strategy board game, you can incorporate mechanisms such as action point allocation systems (where players have limited resources to allocate towards different actions), randomization elements (such as dice rolls for combat outcomes), special abilities or powers unique to different factions or characters within the game world.

Fundamental MechanicsChoices and Decisions
Turn-based gameplayStrategic decision-making
Sequential player turnsWeighing risks and rewards
Moving pieces, attacking opponents, collecting resources, etc.Predicting opponents’ moves and adapting strategies

By carefully designing the game mechanics, you can create an engaging and immersive turn-based strategy board game that challenges players’ strategic thinking and provides an enjoyable gaming experience. In the next section, we will delve into the process of designing the game board and components, which are essential elements in bringing your game to life.

Designing the Game Board and Components

When it comes to designing a turn-based strategy board game, the game board and components play a crucial role in creating an immersive and visually appealing experience for players. In this section, we will explore some tips for designing the game board and components that will enhance gameplay and captivate players.

  1. Create a visually pleasing game board: The game board is the centerpiece of your turn-based strategy game, so it’s important to design it in a way that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Consider using intuitive symbols or icons to represent different elements on the board, such as territories or resources.
    Additionally, use colors that are visually appealing and enhance the theme of your game. A well-designed game board can draw players into the world you have created and make their gaming experience more enjoyable.
  2. Ensure functionality: While aesthetics are important, it’s equally crucial to ensure that the game board is functional for gameplay purposes. Clearly define spaces or zones on the board where players can place their pieces or tokens. Incorporate grids or lines to create structure and help guide movement across the board if necessary. Make sure there is enough space on the game board for cards, dice rolls, or any other elements that are essential to gameplay.
  3. Utilize quality components: In addition to the game board, the quality of your game components can greatly impact overall player satisfaction. Choose materials that are sturdy and durable to withstand frequent use. Investing in high-quality cards, tokens, dice, or figurines can enhance user experience by providing tactile pleasure during gameplay. Furthermore, consider adding thematic artwork or designs to these components which can contribute to player immersion and add another layer of aesthetic appeal.
  4. Consider scalability: Depending on your target audience and budget constraints, it’s important to consider scalability in terms of manufacturing costs when designing your game components. If you plan on producing larger quantities of your turn-based strategy board game, opt for materials and production methods that are cost-effective without compromising quality.
    On the other hand, if you’re aiming for a smaller print-run or limited edition version, you may have more flexibility to explore premium components or unique customization options.
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By taking the time to design a visually appealing and functional game board and selecting quality components for your turn-based strategy board game, you can create an immersive experience that will captivate players. Keep in mind the importance of aesthetics, functionality, and scalability throughout the design process to ensure that your game is both visually stunning and enjoyable to play.

Developing the Game Rules and Balance

Once you have finalized the game mechanics and designed your game board and components, it is time to delve into developing the game rules and ensuring balance in gameplay. This step is crucial in creating an enjoyable experience for players and maintaining a fair competition within the game.

To start, it is important to create rules that are easy to understand while still capturing the complexity of your turn-based strategy board game. Avoid making the rules overly complicated, as this may deter potential players. Clear and concise instructions will help players learn quickly and easily immerse themselves in the game.

In addition to clarity, balance is key to maintaining fairness and providing an engaging challenge. Each player should have equal opportunities to succeed, regardless of their starting position or choices made throughout the game. It is essential to ensure that no particular strategy dominates the gameplay, allowing various approaches to achieving victory.

One effective way to achieve balance is through playtesting. Gather a group of playtesters who can provide honest feedback on any imbalances or flaws they encounter while playing. Take note of their input regarding gameplay mechanics, specific rules, or possible strategies that may be too advantageous or disadvantageous for certain players.

During playtesting sessions, consider using different player configurations or scenarios to test various interactions within your game. This will help identify any unforeseen issues and allow you to make necessary adjustments before finalizing the rules.

Development Tips:Importance:
Create clear and concise rulesEnsures easy understanding for players
Achieve balance through playtestingMaintains fairness and competitiveness
Solicit honest feedback from playtestersIdentifies imbalances and flaws

By developing well-crafted game rules and achieving balance through playtesting, you will create an immersive and enjoyable experience for players. These steps ensure that your turn-based strategy board game offers a fair competition and provides opportunities for strategic decision-making. Once you have refined the rules, you are ready to move on to the next stage of adding fun and strategic elements to further enhance gameplay.

Adding Fun and Strategic Elements

When it comes to turn-based strategy board games, adding fun and strategic elements is crucial for engaging gameplay. These elements not only enhance the overall experience but also keep players coming back for more. In this section, we will explore some tips on how to incorporate unique and engaging strategic elements into your game, as well as the importance of providing players with meaningful choices.

Unique Strategic Elements

One way to make your turn-based strategy board game stand out is by incorporating unique strategic elements that add depth and complexity to the gameplay. Think about innovative mechanisms or mechanics that can challenge players’ strategic thinking skills.

For example, you could introduce asymmetric gameplay where each player has different abilities or resources, forcing them to adapt their strategies accordingly. You could also consider implementing hidden information or bluffing mechanics to keep players guessing and increase the level of intrigue in the game.

Meaningful Choices

Meaningful choices are essential in creating a compelling turn-based strategy game. Players should have a range of decisions to make on each turn that significantly impact their overall gameplay experience. When designing your game, strive to create choices that are balanced and impactful, ensuring that players’ decisions have both short-term and long-term consequences. This will keep players engaged as they carefully consider their options and weigh the potential risks and rewards associated with each decision.

Player Agency

Player agency refers to the level of control and influence a player has over the outcome of the game. It is important to design your game in such a way that players feel a sense of ownership and control over their actions and strategies.

Allow players to adapt and evolve their strategies throughout the course of the game based on changing circumstances or new information they acquire during gameplay. By giving players agency, you empower them to shape their own gaming experience and create memorable moments.

Adding fun and strategic elements is key to creating an immersive and enjoyable turn-based strategy board game. By incorporating unique mechanisms, meaningful choices, and player agency, you can elevate your game and provide players with a fulfilling and rewarding experience. Remember, the goal is to strike a balance between challenging gameplay and engaging strategic elements that will keep players coming back for more.

Playtesting and Refining

Playtesting and refining play a crucial role in the development of turn-based strategy board games. This stage allows game creators to identify and address any issues or imbalances in the game mechanics, rules, components, and overall gameplay experience. By conducting playtests and collecting feedback, developers can refine their game to ensure it is fun, engaging, and well-balanced for players.

Why Playtesting is Important

In the playtesting phase, it is essential to involve a diverse group of playtesters who can provide different perspectives on the game. They may include friends, family members, fellow board game enthusiasts, or even strangers. These individuals can offer valuable insights into the various aspects of gameplay and provide feedback on what works well and areas that need improvement. Additionally, observing how players interact with the game will help identify any unintended strategies or loopholes that may need addressing.

Conducting Effective Playtests

To conduct effective playtests for turn-based strategy board games, it is crucial to establish clear objectives for each session. This will help guide both the designer and playtesters. Consider focusing on specific aspects such as balancing player abilities or testing certain mechanics.

During a playtest session:

  1. Provide clear instructions: Ensure that players understand they are testing a prototype and that feedback is valuable.
  2. Observe silently: Resist the urge to interfere during gameplay unless necessary.
  3. Prompt for feedback: After each playtest session, encourage players to share their thoughts on what worked well, what needs improvement, and any suggestions they may have.

Iterating Based on Feedback

Feedback from playtest sessions should be carefully analyzed and used as a basis for iterative improvements. Consider creating a spreadsheet or document where you can compile all the feedback received from multiple playtests. Look for patterns in the feedback and prioritize areas that are consistently mentioned as needing improvement.

It is crucial to approach feedback with an open mind and be willing to make changes to improve the game. However, not every suggestion will be feasible or align with your original vision. Use your judgment to decide which changes will enhance the game experience while staying true to your design goals.

By engaging in playtesting and refining, developers can ensure that their turn-based strategy board game reaches its full potential, providing players with an enjoyable and balanced gaming experience.

Printing and Production

Finding Reliable Manufacturers

Once you have finalized the design and prototype of your turn-based strategy board game, it’s time to move on to the printing and production phase. Finding reliable manufacturers is crucial to ensuring the quality and professional finish of your game. There are various options available depending on your budget range, quantity requirements, and specific needs.

One option is to work with a local print shop or manufacturer that specializes in board game production. This can be beneficial as it allows for easier communication and potential face-to-face meetings. You can also visit their facilities to ensure that they have the necessary equipment and resources to produce your game efficiently.

Another option is to collaborate with overseas manufacturers, particularly those based in countries known for their expertise in board game production, such as China or Germany. This option may offer cost advantages due to lower labor costs, but it’s important to thoroughly research and vet these manufacturers before committing. Look for reviews or testimonials from other game designers who have worked with them in the past.

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Quality Control and Cost Considerations

When selecting a manufacturer, quality control should be at the top of your list of considerations. Request samples or prototypes from potential manufacturers to examine the materials, printing quality, and overall durability of their products. It’s essential that your game components are visually appealing, sturdy, and able to withstand repeated use.

While quality is important, cost considerations also play a significant role when choosing a manufacturer. Solicit quotes from multiple manufacturers and carefully analyze each one. Keep in mind that certain factors may affect the overall cost of production, such as the size of the game board, number of components, printing techniques used (e.g., screen printing or offset printing), and packaging options.

It’s advisable not to compromise on quality simply for lower costs as this can adversely affect your players’ experience with the game. Strike a balance between cost efficiency and maintaining high-quality standards. Remember, your reputation as a game designer relies on the satisfaction of your players.

Finalizing the Production Process

Once you have chosen a manufacturer, it’s important to establish clear communication and ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding timelines, production specifications, and any customization requests. Provide them with detailed instructions, including artwork files, component specifications, and any special requirements.

Throughout the production process, maintain regular contact with the manufacturer to address any questions or concerns that may arise. It’s also advisable to request samples at various stages of production to make sure everything is being executed as planned.

With careful attention to detail and collaboration with a reliable manufacturer, you can achieve a high-quality final product that accurately represents your vision for your turn-based strategy board game. The printing and production phase marks the last practical step in bringing your game to life before you embark on marketing and launching it into the hands of eager players.

Marketing and Launching Your Game

Create a Promotional Strategy

Once you have developed and finalized your turn-based strategy board game, it’s time to market and launch your product. Crafting a strategic promotional plan is crucial in reaching potential players and generating excitement for your game. Start by identifying your target audience and understanding their preferences and interests. This will help you tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.

Consider engaging with online communities and forums that are relevant to board games or the specific theme of your game. Participate in discussions, share updates about your progress, and address any questions or concerns raised by potential players. Building a strong online presence will help create buzz around your game.

Utilize Social Media Platforms

Harness the power of social media to spread the word about your turn-based strategy board game. Create accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to showcase visuals of your game, share gameplay videos or tutorials, and interact with potential players directly.

Collaborate with influencers or content creators within the board gaming community who have a significant following and align with the genre of your game. Seek opportunities for them to review or feature your game on their platforms, which can greatly amplify its reach.

Utilize Crowdfunding Platforms

Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo have become popular avenues for launching board games. Set up a compelling campaign page that showcases key features of your turn-based strategy board game along with attractive rewards for backers at different funding levels.

Ensure that you articulate the uniqueness of your game and how it stands out from existing offerings in the market. Highlight any innovative mechanics or components that make it a must-have for avid gamers.

Remember to engage actively with potential backers during the crowdfunding campaign by providing frequent updates, addressing questions promptly, and showing appreciation through stretch goals or additional rewards.

Consider Publishing or Self-Publishing Options

After successfully marketing your game, you have a choice between publishing your turn-based strategy board game through an established board game publisher or self-publishing it.

If you opt for traditional publishing, research various publishers that align with your game’s genre and theme. Submit your game to them and follow their submission guidelines. Be prepared for a potentially long waiting period as they evaluate your submission.

On the other hand, self-publishing allows you to have complete control over the production and distribution of your game. It may require more effort on your part, such as managing logistics and fulfillment, but it offers greater creative freedom and potential financial rewards.

By considering these marketing strategies and launching options, you can increase the visibility of your turn-based strategy board game and attract a loyal player base. Remember to stay dedicated throughout the process and enjoy the journey of bringing your creation to life.


In conclusion, creating a turn-based strategy board game can be a rewarding and exciting endeavor. Throughout this article, we have explored the various stages of game development, from ideation to marketing. By following these steps, you can bring your unique ideas to life and create a game that is not only enjoyable but also reflects your creativity and personalization.

One of the major benefits of making your own board games is the opportunity for self-expression and innovation. You have the freedom to explore different themes, mechanics, and strategic elements that resonate with you and your audience. The process of brainstorming and researching allows you to delve deep into your imagination and come up with unique concepts that will make your game stand out.

Throughout the development process, it is important to remember the significance of playtesting and refining. Conducting playtest sessions with fellow gamers or potential players will help you identify any flaws or imbalances in your game while also providing valuable feedback for improvement. This iterative approach ensures that your game remains enjoyable and balanced for all players.

Lastly, do not forget to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Once you have completed all the necessary steps in creating your turn-based strategy board game, take a moment to appreciate what you have accomplished. Whether you choose to self-publish or seek opportunities for crowdfunding or traditional publishing, remember that your hard work has paid off in creating an entertaining and engaging experience for others.

Embarking on your own game development journey may seem daunting at first, but it is a journey worth taking. So go ahead, let your creativity soar, bring new worlds to life on a game board, and share the joy of gaming with others – because in the end, there is nothing quite like playing a board game that you have brought into existence yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a good turn-based strategy game?

A good turn-based strategy game is characterized by several key elements. Firstly, it should offer a deep and complex gameplay system that allows players to devise various strategies and make meaningful decisions on each turn. This can be achieved through the use of diverse units, abilities, and game mechanics that require players to think critically and plan ahead.

Additionally, an engaging story or theme can provide context and immersion, adding layers of depth to the gameplay experience. A balance between challenge and accessibility is crucial, ensuring that both novice and experienced players can enjoy the game while still encountering strategic challenges. Furthermore, a well-designed user interface with clear visuals and intuitive controls enhances the overall experience, allowing players to easily understand and navigate the game’s mechanics.

Are strategy games hard to make?

Developing strategy games can indeed be challenging due to their complexity and the multitude of interconnected systems involved. Creating a compelling strategic experience requires meticulous planning and balancing of various elements such as unit abilities, resource management, AI behavior, map design, and progression systems. Achieving harmony among these components is essential for providing a satisfying gameplay flow that keeps players engaged while presenting them with meaningful choices.

Bug testing and quality assurance are crucial stages in game development as any imbalances or flaws in the mechanics could greatly impact the overall experience. Moreover, creating captivating artwork, animations, sound effects, music, and narrative elements further adds to the intricate development process.

What is the hardest turn-based strategy game?

Determining the hardest turn-based strategy game is subjective since difficulty can vary depending on individual preferences and skill levels. However, one highly regarded title known for its challenging gameplay is “XCOM 2: War of the Chosen.” This expansion pack builds upon the already difficult base game by introducing new mission types, enemy units with unique abilities, additional soldier classes, and a more formidable AI known as The Chosen.

The relentless pressure imposed by simultaneously managing limited resources while countering alien threats creates an intense experience where tactical decisions hold great weight. Success often requires careful planning, effective coordination of specialized soldiers, and adaptation to unexpected situations, making it a particularly demanding turn-based strategy game.

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