Lines of Fire — Evolution of a Prototype

During my vacation this summer, I somehow ended up designing a board game. The idea came to me strangely — I had seen a board game in a dream, but all I could remember when waking up was an image of what the board looked like. I thought it looked a bit like Bomberman, and that’s when I had the idea — why not take the gameplay from Bomberman and put it into a board game.

Creating the first prototype took only a few hours, and I thought I had a somewhat fun game. I called it Bombarena.

A lot of testing followed, first by myself and then with others. I’ve put tens of hours into it since then and made tens of smaller and larger improvements. Version 0.2 got only a couple of play tests, but I took some suggestions from the players and it was soon replaced with version 0.3, which added cards to spice up the game.

Version 0.4 is in progress and for now I’m mostly focused on simplifying, clarifying, balancing and polishing. I gave the game a new name “Lines of Fire”, rewrote the rules (PDF), which should be pretty solid for the main game variant now. I imagine that the basic rules will not change too much any more — what remains is mostly balancing; further play testing will tell if I’m right. I also created new tokens and improved the look of the board (making set-up related elements stand out less).

The next version will probably focus on balancing the ability cards and I hope to make it available for wider play testing soon, in a Print & Play form. I’m finding that open source/free software (such as Inkscape, Scribus, Foxit Reader) has all kinds of issues with printing, though, so making good printable documents available is a bit of a challenge.