About a year ago, friends and I put together a bunch of copies of an out-of-print board game. We built a mat-board board with a color-printed playfield glued on, made mat-board pieces, got wooden men from the craft store and painted them. A lot of work, but it was a lot of fun, and the results were quite nice. Some recommendations:
- Craft punches, available at your local craft store, are quite useful.
- Felt is also quite useful and easy to come by at craft or fabric stores. Pieces that move on a gameboard need felt bottoms.
- Mat board is the basic board-making material for the hobbyist.
- Rubber cement is a good glue for this work.
- Seal things with a coat of oil-based varethane so they don't stain.
- Parts like sand timers and dice are readily available at game stores.
For my latest game, an original design, I just needed a Pinochle deck, some Poker chips, and the rules. Much easier to build. Recommendations on game design:
- Understand some basic game theory, or find a friend who does. Game balance is hard.
- Don't make the rules too complicated. Everyone loves games they can just pick up and play for the first time.
- Don't confuse the paint (i.e. the flavor text and pictures, the game setting, etc.) with the game itself. A good setting can be fun, but it has to overlay a game that is good in its own right.
- There is usually some kind of balance between luck and skill. Some people won't play pure skill games. Almost no one will play pure luck games, except for money.
- Playtest, playtest, playtest.