Now, how did I get into Game Design and Publishing!? (Part 2)

(This is a follow-up blog to my previous one. Please check it out first if you haven't already!)
BoardGameGeek (BGG) was the Wikipedia of Board Games - encompassing anything and everything about every board game that ever existed on this planet.
It is humongous. Last I checked, there were 1,33,400 board games listed on the website. And this is just board games.. for there are tons of other stuff related to board games that you can find on BGG from across the world - designers, publishers, curated lists of board and card games, shopping, Kickstarter news, podcasts, and a exceedingly active community of game players, designers and enthusiasts with thousands of blog posts and threads. Seriously, it is never ending.
If you haven't checked it, please do check it out, and do consider creating an account over there (it is free); the website is somewhat reminiscent of the 90s and has been designed in that way (90s kids and fanboys, you have one more reason)
Now this was back in 2012. Obviously this not only helped me resume my search of board games, but I was thrown on my face new terms and information that I never knew existed - that even board games have categories like party games, war games, dexterity games, strategy games etc.. and everything is tied in together by an interesting concept called Mechanics.
The laws of every board game are governed by few central mechanics (or mechanisms, if you are a purist) that drive the engagement between players and the game states. Without going into much technical detail, to give examples of few common mechanisms, we have
  • Deckbuilding: Dominion, Magic - The Gathering (or MTG if you'd have heard about it, it's a worldwide phenomenon)
  • Bidding or Auction: Power Grid, Modern Art
  • Worker Placement: Viticulture, Lords of Waterdeep
  • Card Drafting: 7 Wonders, Sushi Go
  • Area Control: Blood Rage, Twilight Imperium
The list can go on and on, but I ask you to read about these specific mechanisms in your leisure time. I am sure it will hit a different nerve in your brain! And the best part - most of the games listed above are available locally in India! Thanks for few FOGS (Friendly Online Game Stores) who have stocked hundreds of international modern board games - for all of you to start collecting and exploring.
Each of the games have a different story to tell, transports players into a different dimension, a different era... and simulates a problem statement into a fun, challenging, edge of the seat competitive (or sometimes, co-operative) experience.
The more I discovered, the more I played and the more I fell in love with this hobby.
But why design games? This was not very accidental. I have always been a fan of worldbuilding since childhood - drawing my own comic book characters with their rich storylines and worlds, designing physical games that we used to play post the cricket match (and no surprise, I used to always love being the gamemaster), or creating my own set of trading cards from chart paper and pencil.. there were many, many such small & mostly insignificant activities that I loved doing during my school days. Few of my friends who knew me back then would nod and smile; I must have pestered many of them during recess or games period to listen to my ideas or try my new conceptual card games or paper and pencil games and thank god they gave in. Few of them even got popular during school days and every other section was playing it!
This mania continued into undergraduate college in a different form: Here we had more time and resources to experiment. I along with other enthusiasts conducted one of the biggest events during my 2nd year of college, called Cosmic Race - it was a puzzly treasure hunt game show based on the backdrop of Cold War.. It hit the right nerve and the sequel next year - Cosmic Race II was overwhelming - the turnout for this event was exceptionally high and we were left scratching our heads trying to best manage the influx.
College was also the time when I experimented with board games. Back then, we didn't have access to actual modern board games, so we printed them in computer lab, colored them, made boards out of unused cardboard and played them regularly!
This was, also, for the first time, I designed a board game that was actually played by lot of people. The game was called Tycoon - basically ripping apart the bad parts of Monopoly, introducing bidding mechanism to the game, and themed around Indian Industries - this became the most played game in the hostel post dinner. The money aspect was addictive; my hostel-mates started keeping a leaderboard and some friends were known to be unbeatable. Seeing people enjoy the game I created, gave me a different kind of high. It got so popular that I created 3 more versions of it by the end of final year, each with a different iterative design than the previous.
Landing in Mumbai for my job was an icing to the cake; it further introduced me to an All-India Board game Design Lab! - a group of dedicated designers, publishers, manufacturers, artists, playtesters and so on.. who were very actively involved in making India the next place for creating and developing the culture of homegrown games. It was so good to see more people into this niche hobby and field of game design and development; I got to know some wonderful fellow designers and publishers, all of whom have been immensely helpful and inspirational to motivate me to start something of my own.
And slowly as I grew up, I understood... that is when I connected all the dots, and realized - this seems to be my purpose of life: to make interesting games and entertain people. All these years, this is what I had been chasing, this is what I seem to enjoy doing naturally.
And this is what I strive to be better at, everyday, learning from others, from my own mistakes, experiences.
Hence, I present to you: Zenwood - A truly dedicated Game Design and Publishing Firm.
A place where we take all that I've learnt so far, and try to make better games for you guys! :)
Note: Zenwood is also a place where meeples stay when we are not playing with them. but you did not hear that from me!
Apart from designing and publishing for Zenwood Games, which is currently my full-time venture into this hobby, I was lucky enough to have worked with Dice Toy Labs Pvt. Ltd. to publish my first ever board game for an international release: Chai Garam! Do check it out on Players worldwide have enjoyed this game, shown their love for this game and have shared great feedback.
I've also published a Roll and Write game Nandighosa on
There are couple of other games in progress with other publishers - with time you will see them as well.
If you have read this rather unstructured and pompous article, then I salute you! Hopefully it was a fun insight into why someone in this world goes for a weird hobby like a Game Designer. Or Beetle Fighting.
Until Next Time!
Images - Wikimedia Commons By Hubert Figuière from Montréal, Canada - I lost hard at Dominion tonight. #bgg #boardgamegeek #boardgame #j2s, CC BY-SA 2.0,
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