School of Communication and Digital Content
Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design (MFA)
Board Game, Game Design, Science Fiction
Art and Design | Game Design | Graphic Design
Gurley, Cory S., "Board Game Under Construction: Putting the Design in Game Design" (2020). Masters Theses. 643.
The contemporary design landscape is informed by the need for interactive design, yet not all interactive media is digital. Technology has transformed the way many people receive information, and thus the way that they interact with graphic design, and the impact of user interfaces in creating a positive interactive experience is more important now than ever. However, while this phenomenon is usually identified with the digital environment of smartphone apps, websites and video games, user interface is equally important in analog design, and few media illustrate this better than board games. Board games have enjoyed a surge in popularity over the past two decades, during which time the variety and complexity of games on the market has increased dramatically. Board games rely on a thematic and intuitive analog user interface to create an immersive experience for their players, and graphic design plays a substantial role in the success of this interface. Good design bridges the gap between players and a game’s mechanics, and can therefore help make a game more engaging and its rules easier to understand and remember. Conversely, poor design can create unnecessary frustration that inhibits players’ ability to engage with a game. Furthermore, unlike magazine articles or websites, which often follow a relatively predictable format, the mechanics of individual board games might require radically different approaches to design. Therefore, it is necessary to gain a better understanding of the impact of graphic design in board games by examining the success (or failure) of the graphics, icons, text, illustrations, and layout of the components in a board game’s prototype, with the goal of discovering the most effective approach to the game’s user interface and ultimately developing a finished, publication-ready game.