Air Sloop Board Game Design Journal Entry 1

First journal entry in conceptualizing, designing, and developing the board game Air Sloop. Written by independent game designer Dr. Dave Eng.

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I was inspired by my time volunteering for the Clearwater Hudson Sloop with the ships that sailed up and down the Hudson River. I live right next to the Hudson River across from New York City in Fort Lee, NJ. So the river is a large part of my life. Thinking about all of the ships and the history in the area inspired me to create a game about ships moving goods up and down the Hudson from the people that produced them to those that consumed them.

That’s when I first started thinking about the game Sloop as a pickup and deliver game that represented ships sailing up and down the river, moving goods, and making the wheels of commerce spin.

Sloop on Hudson by Chuck Grimmett
I have to be honest: I fell into the “roll and move convention” that many budding game designers fall into. Why wouldn’t you? Most of us grew up with Monopoly and the very simple mechanic: you roll a die and then you move that many spaces.

The first iteration of the game had the river as a long snaking path on a board dotted with actual towns and cities in New York and New Jersey. Cards allowed you to role a different die to determine movement. You could also use the cards to fulfill orders for goods in order to earn victory points.

I learned that rolling and moving wasn’t very fun. It didn’t give you any meaningful decisions. I quickly dropped this after the first play test and starting thinking about more elegant and meaningful ways that players could move…

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Tesseray Games Independent Publisher
Dr Dave Eng Independent Game Designer

About The Designer

Dave Eng EdD, Principal is an intellectual and creative educator, designer, and researcher who combines games, theory, and technology. Dave has played games for most of his life. As a result he studies game design, creates games, and teaches others how to use games for education and learning. Find out more at

Fun Fact: Dave has been seasick in every time zone.

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