UKGE – the Wyvern’s lair and playtesting


In June I had a fantastic opportunity to pitch Ore-some to a room of gamer’s and 6 new, and established, board game publishers. This was both nerve wracking and exiting. I had only every talked through the game to play testers and family, and even though I was prepared, I managed to ramble my way through my presentation.


Thankfully a couple of the publishers were interested and took the time to play on the day or review at a later date. The feedback from these publishers have been great and have cemented my belief that I still need to work on refining the game. Overall, a very positive experience that I would recommend to every designer.

Another amazing opportunity was my time spent in the play testing area. Several of the gamer’s that saw my pitch came along and played one of the three games that I ran on Sunday morning. The feedback from these sessions was in the form of a play testing feedback form. The form helps the players give more targeted feedback which was used to mold the game, hopefully into a better game. I have now adapted the form to be used by play testers who are currently reviewing the game with the aim of molding the game into the best version it can be.

Overall my feedback was that it was a good game, and although there were some criticisms, these were presented in a positive manner, with great suggestions on areas that could be improved.

The initial spark

Whilst driving down south with the family, I asked the question “if you could design a board game, what would it be?” This lead to a long discussion around themes, mechanics, game play expectations and how we would go about making our own game. there were several great ideas that came out of the discussion, but the one that stuck with me was a mining game. I wanted to create something I could play with my grandchildren, but that I could also play with friends and my older kids too.

Once we were home, I started to draw up what I thought would make a good game. What items would we need, achievements (if any), parts, cards, mechanics and game aims. Reading these now, I can see how far the game has moved on from that initial idea to the almost completed game we have now.

In the months that followed whilst travelling with my daughter Zoe to various Pokemon events, we discussed game mechanics – how would the players move their carts; how many turns should the game have; what the player item options could be, such as (the no longer included) jet pack and what we should call our game.

We enlisted the help of Colin to create the 3D designs for the players cart and Scraps the dog, and met Justin (our Artist) at the Pokemon Nationals where he was drawing Caricatures for the attendees.

During the process of creating the game, we came up with the idea of having 2 sets of rules. One for the casual gamer who wanted an out of the box, quick and easy set up, and another for board game enthusiasts. Nigel worked on the more strategic version whilst I worked on the casual family friendly version. Eventually these ideas merged to the final version of the rules we have today, with the option for players to take the pre-created board route, or to create their own board.

With the initial art work and models looking and feeling good, we played around with the game and rules until I felt ready to start play testing with strangers. Overall this took over 6 months from the initial concept to a working prototype, but it played well and felt good to be creating something from scratch. Now all I had to decide was whether I wanted to take it further.