How to Build a Game #34 Prototype Problems: Where Do I Get My Stuff?

We talked about the designer box of many things in a previous post. Now we are going to talk about the places we go to build it.

Craft Store

Whatever craft store you have near you, in our case it is Michael’s, you will learn to love going there. When my wife used to “drag” me there to look at the various wreaths and wedding supplies, I never looked at the potential there was in the many aisles of crafting supplies I had access to. Plastic baggies of various sizes, tokens, button, colorful writing utensils, the list of potential prototype parts is enormous. It gets better in the summer time when the extra teacher supplies are added to the shelves and it seems like there is a new level of things designers can add to their box of many things.

Dollar Store

I love going to the dollar store for writing and index card supplies. You know everything there is a great price and you never know what gems you might find when you are looking for index cards in the office supply aisle. I also like to check out the container aisle to see what small plastic containers they have in stock. Really useful to keep bits in one tidy place and since most of the containers have tops to them, that makes the great for transport as well.

Other Games

Have an old game you never play but has some bits in it? Cannibalize it. Or, if the idea of taking from one of your games makes you cringe…go to the Thrift Store and buy some cheap games with bits and boards for super cheap. I don’t know of many people who like to use paper money, but the people who do, probably have prototypes. Paper money, specifically monopoly money is great for prototyping because there are always copies at the thrift store, and it will save a designer a lot of headache being able to source monopoly money for early prototypes, if they have any type of currency in their game.

If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at

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If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.

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