Lost – Boardgame Design

Lost – Escape the island. A playful boardgame, developed and created with user experience in mind.

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Lost – Boardgame Design.

Lost – Escape the island. A playful boardgame, developed and created with user experience in mind.

Lost – Escape the island.

UX Design for boardgame development.

As part of the bachelor’s degree, the subject of user and brand experience design should also be applied to other products apart from the digital media. Therefore everyone got the task to create their own board game.

Since it was not just a question of creating a beautiful design but of completely developing a board game, a lot of work had to be spent on brainstorming and research. After the idea was set, a logical game play had to be developed and rules laid down. In the last step, the game was designed and built.


During Bachelor's degree


Strategist, designer & executive


Boardgame, Poster


Approx. 3,5 months

Doing the research.

What does a board game need?

Before a game idea was developed, I looked into the areas game theory, game methodology and game didactics, to define what a good boardgame needs. A game is characterized by the game world, rules and game mechanics, the designer and the gameplay.

In the sense of game theory, a game is a decision situation with several participants as well as a composition of path and goal. The decisions of the participants can influence each other. Erich Weniger summed up this game didactic in one sentence: “Who should learn what, why, when and how?”

The creation of an idea.

At the beginning of brainstorming, different concept ideas were worked through, but only by linking several ideas, a game concept was created that could meet the above criteria.


So the idea of having the game take place on several levels was combined with the principle of a cooperative game and collecting objects in order to ‘escape’ from an adventure. To ensure a logical gameplay, path and goal the concept had to be played through and adapted dozens of times.

Game classification

Type of game: board/card game, strategy game
Game didactics: Who? 14-99 years | Why? Increase of tactical abilities as well as the ability to work in a team, have fun with friends | What for? sociability | How? Problem solutions and approaches are developed by the players
Game Methodology: Discovering game
Game Theory: Cooperative game (as a team against the game)

Find solutions to problems.

The difficulties of developing a boardgame.

Although this project was something completely different from what I had done so far, user research and benchmarking were done here as well. As a result, the aspects below were targeted as main goals.

Expandable game concept

To achieve that the game does not get boring, it should be easy to extend. Therefor, the game was equipped with action cards, which could also be sold as expansion packages and the gameplay was designed to be easy transferable to other storylines.

Fun storyline

In order for the game to make sense and fun, an interesting escape story was created that guides players through the game, helps them to understand what they need to do and stimulates their imagination of what it would be like to be stranded on a lonely island.

Logical gameplay

It was important, with the various stations and tasks players had to go through in the game, that they would not encounter any unsolved problems. Therefore, test persons were selected to play the game without external intervention or help in order to detect and correct possible errors.

What materials to use?

For an authentic game, the interplay of story, plot and appearance had to fit. Therefore, it was necessary to carefully consider and determine in advance which materials would be best suited.

So that the players are not given any tactics by the materials and their form, the game characters were chosen as abstract forms made of wood. Furthermore, the items that need to be collected should not have a given placement on the board. Therefore, transparent acrylic plates were chosen. In addition cards were used instead of dice to advance the tactics.

Design and build.

Defining the games construction.

The game’s design & gameplay.

Complete the story with a matching design.

In addition to a logo, which should have a used-look, also a set of icons and a color palette were created. The game’s layers reflect the story of the lonely island and the color palette has been adapted to it. The icons had to be easy to understand and be easily recognizable in a small size.

Secure your survival
by collecting items.

Each player has 7 so-called ‚running cards‘. With your running cards you can move across the playing field. The number on the card is the number of steps you can take. Think carefully about how you use your running cards and how many steps you need, because you have to get back to the starting point in the middle before you’ve used all your running cards. If you are running over an item field, the item belongs to you. But think carefully and discuss what you might need to survive.

Master the tasks to move on to level 3.

If one of the players lands on an action field, marked with a ‚X‘, an action card is drawn. The items collected at the first level will now help you master the challenges you face. If the player who has landed on the action field can not master the challenge alone, the players have the opportunity to reach a so-called helper field within a turn. If you are sure you made it, pick up the detector, slide the action card in and see if you’ve used the right items to pass the action.

Escaping the island
is your only desire.

You show courage and want to sail over the sea towards home, but to determine the right coordinates everyone in the team is asked: Everyone was allowed to take a quick look at a path he had to go on this level. Only if you follow the right path, you will find out the coordinates at the end point, with which you will find the way home. With the help of a decoder you can then check your deter-mined coordinates. Are you sailing in the right direction or will you drown on the open sea?

When an idea becomes reality.

The process of building elements from scratch.

Defining the idea and the rules of the game was a big process of trial and error. It started with sketches and got more concrete with a 3D prototype. Another challenge, however, was to build all the elements from scratch, which not only took many hours but also cost nerves.

The final steps.

Exhibitions and sales presentations.

After the game was finished, it was exhibited at the college’s semester exhibition. For this, additional material was created to decorate the booth and adapt it to the game theme.

Get in touch with gaming companies

Since the game has been so well received by both the testers and the visitors to the exhibition, I made my way to a well-known games fair and presented the game there.

Fortunately, one company (Queengames) immediately found the game so interesting that a meeting was scheduled to took place at their company. We discussed what needs to be adapted to meet the market needs of Queengames and have been in contact ever since to bring the game to market in the future.