• Jadyne Bell

The Gamer In Me

Thinking back to the earliest memory I have of playing tabletop games makes me think about classics like Candyland, Trouble, and Operation. But above all else, I'll never forget the real-time dexterity torture device better known as Perfection. The recommended age for the game is 5+ and I'd say that hits the mark, because Perfection is very challenging and addicting, but fast-paced and entertaining.

As I grew up I was introduced to the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game, which will forever be one of my favorite card games. I played Yu-Gi-Oh after school pretty much every day for years. I'll never forget names like Cyber Jar, Sword Stalker, Malevolent Nuzzler, etc. Moving on to college I was introduced to Apples to Apples, Mafia, Quelf, Cards Against Humanity and many other fun party games. I dominated at Taboo. It was truly unfair how I could mind meld with the right partner and guess six, eight, even ten cards in a single round. Good times...

Speaking of Cards Against Humanity, they recently released a PnP (Print and Play) version of their family-friendly edition of CAH.

I continued gaming even when I moved to upstate New York. I didn't realize how little I actually knew about the vast board game world until I met Michael Barakiva. Catan was probably the peak of my strategy-game knowledge. This kind of made Michael laugh, as he was well-versed in all of the Catan expansions, plus so much more. He explained what should've been apparent to me. I was well-versed in "party game" and "card games." Those are just two small sub-groups of a deeply diverse board game universe. He talked about "deck building games," "4x games," "role-playing games," and many others. I was in awe, but excited. I was later introduced to some of my now favorite games, Shards of Infinity and Clank. I started playing board games almost every weekend with two or three different groups of gamers, and not long after that "it" happened. I started working on my first game. Within the first month I had basic objectives and the first prototype for Outer Worlds (now known as Questers.) The first playtest happened about six weeks later and lasted almost three hours. After adjusting mechanics, more and more playtests, more adjusting, resizing the gameboard, and playtesting some more... I'm still working on Questers.

Yeah... it's still a work-in-progress, but honestly, that's fine. I have no shortage of awesome ideas to provide positive progress as I continue working. Currently, I've earmarked about two dozen game ideas for eventual completion. I was also lucky enough to have a group of wonderful people play Questers at PAX: Unplugged and got awesome reactions and feedback. I know I'm on the right track, I'm just hundreds of hours away from a finished product. Speaking of PAX: Unplugged, I highly recommend it (and other conventions) to all of the other aspiring board game designers out there. Immersing yourself in an environment focused on tabletop gaming breeds so many good vibes and inspiring conversations. I learned so much, and will definitely attend again.

I've spent much of 2020 researching board game manufacturing, marketing, Kickstarter, watching dozens of The Dice Tower and Watch It Played Youtube videos, and utilizing the ever-useful BoardGameGeek.com. I scoured the entire list of game mechanics on BGG, and found out which ones I'm interested in implementing, which ones I wanted to learn more about, and which of my board game ideas could benefit from (or already are). As time passed, I started grouping my board game projects into "phases" (thanks MARVEL Cinematic Universe) that I plan to complete in order. Here's what I've mapped out so far, but it could certainly change.

Phase 1

  • Questers

  • A Maze & Moles

  • Up Down Left Right Fight!

Phase 2


  • Untitled bidding game

  • Untitled co-op game

Phase 3

  • Untitled rondel game

  • Untitled worker-placement game

  • Untitled melding/splaying game

Phase 4

  • Untitled card development game

  • Untitled time track game

  • Untitled race game

I might end up adding a page to the site providing updates on the phase timeline. After the first play test of Up Down Left Right Fight! I discovered that I initially make my games way to difficult to play/win, because I worry that they feel too easy. So, I'm going to try and keep that in mind for future designing. Anyway, that's some info about "the gamer in me."

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