game design

An Introduction to Tabletop Game Design: Round 2!

An Introduction to Tabletop Game Design: Round 2!

Hey readers!

We’ve been busier than ever these past few months - to the point that we never had a chance to post up a retrospective of the Introduction to Tabletop Game Design courses that we ran from May to July! In short, they were a massive success. Each course sold out, and was an absolute pleasure to run. We had attendees from all over the UK, and even one who came all the way from France for all three - talk about dedication!

An Introduction to Tabletop Game Design: Watch It Now!

An Introduction to Tabletop Game Design: Watch It Now!

When we set up Needy Cat we knew we were going to be designing tabletop games, but we really wanted to do more. One of the things we love about analogue game design is how accessible it is; if you like games, and you want to design one... well, there's not much stopping you. It's not like designing a computer game, where there's a minimum level of technical know-how required, or many other hobbies where you have to spend ages figuring out what you're doing before it starts to feel satisfying. Point is, all it takes to design a tabletop game is the will to do it and, as a minimum, a few scraps of paper.

Announcing An Introduction to Game Design

Afternoon, all! We’ve got something exciting to share with you today.

Have you ever wanted to design your own tabletop game? Got a great idea for a board game, but haven’t got a clue how to go about making one? Have you designed their first game, but can’t figure out why it isn’t working like you want it to? Do you just want to know more about how we design games?

Over the past eighteen months we’ve had countless questions, emails and Facebook messages along these lines. After a lot of deliberation behind the scenes, we’ve decided it was time we put our knowledge into practice!

And so, we’re happy to present Needy Cat Games: An Introduction to Tabletop Game Design. This is a series of three one-day courses, based here in Nottingham, aimed at taking you through the key stages of designing your own tabletop game.

We’ve been working on this for a while now, and we’re really excited that it’s finally happening!

If you want to skip the details and get your tickets, head to our shiny new Courses page!

The individual courses are detailed below. You can attend all three if you want us to guide you through the whole design journey, or just come along to the ones that are most useful to you. Tickets are very limited, though, so book early to avoid missing out!

What You Get

Each course involves a full day with both Sophie and James. (If you’re not a regular visitor to our site, we’re the game designers behind games such as Hellboy: The Board Game, Ancient Grudges: Bonefields, Blitz Bowl, Adeptus Titanicus and several others that we can’t announce yet!)

The courses are broken down as follows:

  • A morning of game design theory, presented in a fun, informative and interactive fashion.

  • A slap-up lunch, as well as hot and cold drinks, biscuits and snacks throughout the day.

  • An afternoon of workshops and exercises.

  • A take-home game design pack themed around that day’s course, featuring things like blank components, templates, printouts, reading lists and other freebies.

  • PLUS you can join us after the course for an informal drink – and maybe a board game or two!

We’re keeping the courses intentionally small, with a maximum of twelve attendees per day, so there will be plenty of time to engage with us directly and ask us any questions you have.

The Courses


Course 1 will cover subjects such as:

  • The first steps to designing a board game.

  • Effective research.

  • Refining your ideas.

  • Early-stage prototyping and testing.

  • Common pitfalls to avoid.

During the day we will help you come up with an interesting concept for a game and create a “test build”, which you will then develop as the day goes on. We’ll provide everything you need.


Course 2 will cover subjects such as:

  • The stages of game development.

  • Internal vs external playtesting.

  • The importance of feedback.

  • Establishing a playtesting group.

  • How to iterate your design.

For this course, we ask attendees to bring a game they have designed. Don’t worry about bringing something perfect! During the day we will give you the chance to test and develop your game with our assistance.


Course 3 will cover subjects such as:

  • Drafting a manuscript.

  • The imporetance of editting.

  • Working with freelancers.

  • Self-publish or sell to a publisher?

  • Promoting your game.

For this course, attendees are invited to bring their own game, but this is not mandatory. During the day you will have the chance to polish your design, and also spend one-on-one clinic time with Sophie and James.

The Details

The courses are priced at £95 per person per course. If you want to buy tickets, click this button!

Attendees must be aged 18+.

If you cannot attend a course that you have paid for, we will only be able to issue a refund if you let us know at least five working days before the start of the course.

Want It All?


If you’d like to come to all three, we’re offering an early bird bundle price of £250 for all three courses until the end of the month. That’s better than 10% off, as a thank-you for getting in early and helping us with the setup costs!

We can’t wait to run these courses - we think they’re going to be something really special. We hope to see you there!

Tip of the Day: Idea Boards

Tip of the Day: Idea Boards

When I start designing a game, my first step is to scribble all my thoughts about it down into a notepad. What’s the theme? What’s the scope? Who’s it aimed at? What are the key mechanics? How do you win? How do players interact? What do I want the players to feel? All of this gets jotted down in no particular order, just to get it out of my head and clear some brainspace. I’ll invariably find that, as I’m doing it, fresh ideas pop up - so I write them down, too.

Podcasts and Self-Confidence

Podcasts and Self-Confidence

When I’m in the car by myself, I listen to podcasts. I’ve got a few favourites (I’ll chuck some links below for anyone who’s interested!) with the Adam Buxton podcast hanging around somewhere near the top of the list. I love a bit of Buckles; he always seems to have genuinely interesting conversations with his guests, and he tends to get a lot of people on the show who you don’t hear anywhere else.

Thoughts on Game Design: Colour Blindness

Thoughts on Game Design: Colour Blindness

My grandad was colour blind, and when I was little there was always a worry that it would be passed down to me. I was lucky, but my cousin inherited it, and according to a quick google it's as prevalent as one in every twelve men in the world (and one in two hundred women). In other words, it's surprisingly common! And yet, it's something that the board games world is only just starting to take into consideration.