Creating a board game from scratch


They love games, and that is why they jam.

At its third game jam, participants at Sheridan’s Paper Bag Jam were tasked with making a non-digital game in 24 hours.

In the previous two events held at Sheridan, both the public and students alike could make both board games and video games.

This time, the focus was exclusively on non-digital games, a decision made in an attempt to appeal to a broader group.

“We kind of took the inspiration from MIT [which] has something called Cardboard Jam, and they do that over two days,” said event organizer and third-year Game Design student Meagan Byrne.

“And it’s the exact same thing. It’s just absolutely no digital, just paper, and I just think this would be a lot less intimidating way of getting people into doing game jams.”

Each team was given a paper bag filled with things they would need to use to make their game.

The one element shared between all paper bags? A wooden fox cutout attached to a clothespin.

“The most interesting thing is that all [Byrne] said is we have to use what’s in the bag. She hasn’t said what kind of condition it has to be in,” said Tom Brown, game developer at SHG Studios in Hamilton.

“I want to do a drinking party game so I was just thinking of chopping him up, to be perfectly honest. Besides that, I have absolutely no idea yet.”

“Of course it could be used for anything,” said Christian Latour, relations manager at SHG Studios.

“It could be a piece in a board game, it could be the prize from a card game, it could be the badge of the person that you accuse in an accusation game.”

Brown, Latour and their teammate, Tom Kun, a Sheridan Art Fundamentals student, stuck with the initial drinking game concept.

“We were talking about how we were interested in doing something that dealt with wits and less of the random stuff,” said Latour.

“The fox really helped because the backstory of any type of fox mythology or anything along those lines is that the fox is more cunning, more intellectual, so it just worked in that realm really, really well,” said Brown.

The game they came up with was designed for two players, each alternating turns. Players use hand gestures in a manner similar to rock, paper, scissors, in the way that they use their hands to display a numerical value from 0 to 5, the signal for rock being zero.

“To create a competition between the two of them, we could take the difference between,” Latour said.

For example, if one throws down a rock, a zero, and his opponent throws down a 5, the cup (the game piece) is sent 5 spaces down the 11-square board toward the one who threw rock.

“I’d have to say the drinking game was probably the most interesting, which was really funny because you run into all sorts of different games at game jams, and I think making it non-digital was a really great way of getting people to sort of break out of those molds,” said Byrne.

“Because those guys are usually programmers, and I remember the one guy was like ‘Well what can I do? I’m just a programmer.’ And I’d be like ‘Well… you made a drinking game,’ which I thought was adorable.”