Game design document

This document should be structured as an outline, with a descriptive paragraph or two under each Number tackling all of the relevant subpoints (they do not have to be in order of their appearance in the outline).

    1. Title (Not a Paragraph)
      1. Game Name – Perhaps also add a subtitle or high concept sentence.
  • Game Overview
      1. Game Concept – What is “pitch” for your game? This would be like the summary paragraph on the back which describes the game for a prospective player.
      2. Type/Genre – What kind of game is it? If it’s a video game, what genre?
      3. Target Audience – Who would be the ideal audience for your game? Is it good for a particular setting (a party game versus a game played with a small group of friends, etc.)?
      4. Game Narrative – Does your game have a narrative for players to build as they play? If so, what is it? What are possible outcomes of this narrative players may experience?
      5. Game Flow and Playstyle – How does play move forward (moving piece on a board, acquisition of cards/items, points system? Is it single-player, competitive, or cooperative? Can it be played multiple ways?
      6. Look and Feel – What is the basic look and feel of the game? Does it have a specific visual style?
  • Gameplay
      1. Game Progression and Structure – What is the game’s structure – turn-based or simultaneous play? What actions can player take, and/or what is everything that has to happen in a turn? Is there a timer?
      2. Puzzle Structure – Are there puzzles? If so, what kind are there?
      3. Objectives – What are the game’s final objectives?
      4. Play Flow – How does the game flow for the player? Should turns be quick and rapidly played, or are they longer, with each player taking time to think?
    • Mechanics
      1. Rules – What are the game’s rules, but in both implicit and explicit? You may list these out.
      2. Interaction – How do all the pieces and possible players interact – what restrictions might players face, or be guided toward certain choices, etc? The rules provide the constraints that guide player choices, and spend time making sure they don’t contradict each other in ways that keep players from making any choice at all.
  • Technicals
    1. Game Assets – What will your cards, board, and/or pieces art look like? If you’re planning a video game, what will the player characters and enemies look like? You may also, for this section, feel free to sketch out ideas for pieces, boards, etc. This will help you get ideas out of your head onto the page.

If you choose to make a game for your final project, this early design document will inspire and guide you through the creation of your prototype.


You should also include a short (one paragraph) reflection on the process. In that:

  • What inspired this game? Is it similar to something you’ve played before, a new twist on an existing genre, or does it have other inspirations?
  • Discuss your design choices. Why did you choose one mechanic, rule, or theme over another?
  • What do you hope players will take away from playing your game?
  • Explain how you might expand this early design document into a prototype in the future (particularly if this is what you want your final project to be).