Design and Production
I designed, prototyped, tested and manufactured TSAK over the course of a few years with the help of family and friends. I am very proud to finally be able to share this game with you!
TSAK is a balance of four key components: competitiveness, teamwork, strategy and most importantly – fun with family and friends.
My wife and I hope TSAK brings you and your close ones as much joy as it has for us during the creation process. Our aim is to have TSAK on every street and every living complex. Who knows…maybe if it gets popular enough, you can share with us your ideas for the next 5 characters.
– Kristiyana & Konstantin –
The First Idea
The thought that i can do it better
I’ve played and enjoyed various board games throughout my years. Some were great, others were too simple and a handful were too long and boring. One day in 2016 my mind started wandering on the topic of board games and the different ones I have played over the years, when a thought came to me….“I can make a great board game. One with strategy and high player interaction.”
That thought wandered in my mind for several months…and then… I decided to go for it!
Design Phase - Part 1
Playing cards and strategy
I’ve played games where dice were the main driver for game play and while this could be fun, there was always the strategic element which was missing from them. Therefore, I decided to go with cards so that there are more variants and surprises that each player could make to influence the game result.
Design Phase - Part 2
3 person play & Mass production at good quality
One thing I noticed in some multiplayer board games is that there wasn’t always an adequate option for 2-player or 3-player game play. On top of that I wanted a very flexible board game setup which allowed for expansion (from 2-10 players) and adaptive formation (form the board game platforms to fit a circle, square or rectangular table). The solution to this was a very specific connector hook design which allowed for even a 3-player game play with a triangle game play setup.
When thinking about design for mass production, I asked myself which material was the right choice. Although I started with wood peg prototypes, I decided that it would be difficult to attain high quality, consistent results, low cost and an attractive end product unless I moved to quality plastic.
Being a Mechanical Engineer, I went through many iterations until I was happy with the end result, something I could be happy with showing the whole world. I utilized the help of 3D printer technology to print my first pegs and platforms. Then, revised and 3D printed platforms again until I was happy with the most challenging bit, the connection hook. The key requirements my design was trying to meet were; snapping both platforms together quickly, forming an equilateral triangle or rectangle, not breaking easily and containing a hole for the peg to sit in.
Below is a video of one of the form-fit tests. In this test fit we identified that some pegs were with a larger diameter than the specified and this caused for a fit conflict. We had to send this feedback to the manufacturer to correct this.
testing, revising, testing, deleting, testing, validation
The other, even main, pillar of a board game is the instructions content. It was very difficult to get all my ideas in while trying to keep the instructions as simple as possible. What helped with this process was using my prototype game (held in a transparent plastic bag) and gathering friends and volunteers to play the game and provide feedback. I learned a lot about TSAK after each game test day and improved on the instructions every time, where necessary.
One great add-on that came out of the game testing was the “Squad” play mode. This is more for the intermediate/advanced players and creates a whole different dynamic to TSAK with players joining up against others. Imagine you and your best friend playing against your other two friends. Here is another one; imagine your family of 3/4/5 playing against another family of 3/4/5 and the team that loses has to pay for the pizza 🙂
The accumulation of stress and excitement at once
1st production for the various components started at times very far apart from one another. I had the TSAK playing cards and board game box inner container ready in 2018. The other components where still in progress and under revision due to changes in the instructions content and unsatisfactory production of the plastic platforms and pegs. Something new kept coming up every time a new test platform was produced. Due to the above mentioned and the challenge of self-funding, all components where finalized in 2020. I guess I could have tried kick-starter options and partnering up with a publisher, but I just wanted to start TSAK on my own, “the right way” – in my mind and on my timeline.
If I could go back in 2016, I would do it again exactly the same way and would strive for the same end result of how TSAK has turned out. I am so excited to be able to share this with you and hope you enjoy the game as much as I have creating and publishing it.
The videos below show snippets from the first TSAK game box production print.