Hacking is the best way to begin designing games.

Chris RowlandsGame Design Comments

“Hacking” is the best way to get started in tabletop game design.

We’ve been super busy around here, and our Kickstarter campaign for The Last Garden is in it’s final 24 hours. It’s been a wonderful experience, and we’ve been floored by all of the support we’ve received as we’ve unlocked a ton of stretch goals. Today I wanted to talk about some stretch goals that are very important to us, and we call them Hack Packs:

As you may already know, Hack Packs are some stretch goals that we’ve developed with the intent of encouraging backers of The Last Garden to try their hand at game design. Matt and I feel incredibly passionate about the benefits of game design as a hobby, and love to encourage people as often as we can to jump into it! We believe that hacking games (making rule changes or additions to existing games) is the best way for somebody to get started with design. It comes down to one fundamental hypothesis:

“The gap between idea and prototype is the thing that kills more games than anything else.”


Most folks never take that first design step because they never turn their idea into a functioning prototype. Hacking games allows a person to move from idea to testing in the quickest possible manner, because 90% of the components are already in front of you. Designing a couple extra cards or finding a few extra tokens or dice is much easier than building something completely from scratch.

Add to that the fact that working within limitations will help guide and shape your designs much more clearly than creating everything yourself, and it’s easy to see why so many game designers get their start from this method. Creating rules for existing games was the way that Matt and I were introduced to the hobby, and we hope that we can do the same thing for others!

If you get a chance to take a look at The Last Garden page, please do. We’re incredibly proud of the game, and can’t wait to share it with you all! Let us know how you plan to hack it!

Thanks for reading! If you would like updates on the things we’re creating as well as monthly game design tips and tricks, make sure to subscribe to our email list below! -Chris