My first attempt at designing a board game was pretty underwhelming. In my head the idea wasn’t bad, but when I made the cards for the game and attempted to play it, things just didn’t work out very well.

On my recent trip to Washington, I had six hours in the car each way when I could either listen to really loud music (which I did) or drive in quiet contemplation (which I also did). During those quieter times, I came up with the spark of an idea for a different board game. It had a few of the elements of my first aborted attempt, and as I continued to think about it, I felt like there was a hint of promise there.

Upon returning home, I wrote down the rules I’d invented. I needed some playing pieces to actually test the game, and despite my closet full of board games, I wouldn’t have enough for this. So I ordered a bunch of little “tracking cubes” and “meeples” from a board-game manufacturing company, and waited. They arrived a few days ago, which also happened to be when Julian stopped in for a visit.

I asked if he’d be willing to be a game tester for this game’s maiden voyage, and he agreed. We sat down, I explained the rules, and we started playing. We adjusted the rules a bit as we found what worked and what didn’t, and he had some good suggestions for minor changes. Here he is, contemplating his next move:

It probably took us two hours to play that very first game. The board got pretty busy after a while, with lots of little wooden pieces everywhere.

After it ended, we both agreed: it wasn’t terrible. Sure, there were some mechanics that weren’t quite right, and we couldn’t come up with a great way to tally up the victory points at the end. But considering it was basically something I made up during a road trip, I was pretty pleased.

We immediately started another game, this time using some significant changes Julian suggested. That game proved to be a lot of fun too– especially now that we sort of understood some strategy– but the endgame didn’t work out. Ah, well, we learned a few more things and can take them back to the drawing board.

So, I’m going to continue refining it. Maybe it will end up being a not-so-terrible game that I can introduce to my friends.

Oh, and I named it Hexteria. We’ll see if it sticks.