Ask a Game Design Expert

I want to make an electronic game, but I do not have access to a computer. What should I do?

You might be surprised to learn that most game rules can be prototyped in paper/with physical parts. Paper prototypes are cheap, quick to work with, and very easy to change. However, some concepts like twitchy reaction-based button pressing do not translate very well to paper.  Make a list of the mechanics you want in your electronic game, and then see if you can think of a way to represent them in a physical way. For more information about paper prototyping, see the Prototyping in Paper and Limitations of Paper sections of the Design Process Lesson of Ian Schreiber’s Game Design Concepts course.

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  • David Radue is an Eagle Scout and co-leader of the Game Design merit badge development team. He is also the co-founder of the Salem Boardgames Group in Salem, MA, and has had a lifelong passion for games of all kinds. David is a mechanical engineer at MIT Lincoln Laboratory where he has worked on projects ranging from missile defense radars to laser communication systems.

    David Mullich has been a Scouter for eight years and is the father of an Eagle Scout. He designed and programmed his first professional videogames for the Apple II computer while still in college and went on to become a game producer at such companies as Activision, 3DO, Spin Master and The Walt Disney Company. David has spoken about game development at the annual Game Developers Conference, volunteered as a game industry mentor at the USC GamePipe Laboratory, and serves on the Los Angeles Film School’s Game Production Department Advisory Committee.

    Tom Miller is an Eagle Scout and has been a Scouter for many years. He remembers playing games of Yahtzee at family gatherings when he was in Cub Scouts, but his real passion for gaming began in high school, when he joined a club that played games from Avalon Hill such as Afrika Korps and Midway. Now as a father with three teenage sons (all Scouts), Tom continues to enjoy playing games with his family, be it board games like Settlers of Catan or electronic games like World of Warcraft.