Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Opening Questions

As an exercise, you can go through a number of key questions about your game to get a good sense of where to begin. These questions are just to help you get started. Most of them will be obsolete by the time you make changes to your first prototype. It is usually a bad idea to keep any of these answers locked down and written in stone:

  • What is your problem statement?
  • How many players will there be?
  • What is the object of the game for each player? What are their short-term goals?
  • Do players work together or alone? Who is their adversary: the game, other players, or something else?
  • Do you have any key rules in mind?
  • What resources do the players manage?
  • What do players do? What decisions do they face?
  • What information is public, hidden to particular players, or hidden to all players?
  • What hinders players? What are the trade-offs?
  • How does the game end? Are there winning conditions?
  • Explain a turn or two (or equivalent time period) of the game.

After answering these questions, you can make an attempt to write down the rules for the game.

To use the example of the airport game I mentioned above, earlier in my career, I had a period of about a year when I had to fly somewhere about every month. One evening, I was in New York while a huge blizzard was approaching. It was hammering the Midwest and the flight network was already suffering from delays. As I sat awaiting the fate of my flight, I could feel the tension in the room rise as flight after flight was delayed and announced over the loudspeaker. Periodically, it would be announced that a flight was changing gates. I watched as dozens of stressed travelers grabbed all their belongings and rushed off in unison to another part of the terminal. This happened a half-dozen times as I sat and watched. Having nothing better to do, I started to brainstorm an idea for a board game where passengers rushed through an airport. Here is what I came up with when I worked through the previous checklist of questions:

  • What is your problem statement?

    What would a board game be like where you had to shuffle weary and stressed passengers through an airport?

  • How many players will there be?

    I’m going to guess 3 to 5 players. I imagine it will be similar to a Eurogame like Ticket to Ride, and those games generally have 3 to 5 players.

  • What is the object of the game for each player? What are their short-term goals?

    Each player tries to score victory points by getting as many passengers onto correct flights as possible.

  • Do players work together or alone? Who is their adversary: the game, other players, or something else?

    Players work alone, trying to achieve the best score. Players can out-position other players’ passengers to score.

  • Do you have any key rules in mind?

    Passengers have to make it through security before they can move freely through the airport. Players should be able to move their passengers all at once. When a flight fills up, it leaves, kind of like the boats in Puerto Rico. Flights will change gates often.

  • What resources do the players manage?

    Players will manage the passengers on the board. I want this game to be as minimally random as possible, so no cards or dice.

  • What do players do? What decisions do they face?

    Players get one action on their turn. They can move people through security, move passengers to gates, or move passengers into club lounges.

  • What information is public, hidden to particular players, or hidden to all players?

    All information is public. The flight board will show the order of flights.

  • What hinders players? What are the trade-offs?

    Players hinder players because there will not be enough room on each flight for all passengers. Players must choose to spend their action on getting more passengers, placing them effectively, or changing the flight board.

  • How does the game end? Are there winning conditions?

    When all the flights are gone from the flight board, the game is over. The player with the most points wins.

  • Explain a turn or two (or equivalent time period) of the game.

    Each player gets one main action. They choose from a menu of actions. A player may choose to put passengers through security, move their cleared passengers, or move a passenger into a club lounge.

The descriptions from these questions are not enough to write the rules of the game. There is still a lot of work to do. However, it does help to frame the ideas that are nascent. From this, I could start a sketch of what the actual rules look like. Once I have something that can direct play, I could craft a prototype to test where my idea of the rules are broken, fun, or both.

If you do not have answers to all these questions, it’s OK. You can still attempt to build a prototype at this point. Playtesting suggests answers. Some of the best games were started by having a broad problem statement that could be built into a functional toy that suggested directions for further development.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive:

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020