Do you love board games? They are something that people love to play to date. In Qatar, 37-year-old Abdulrahman Al-Homaid believes that playing board games creates the best bonding moments with family and friends. This simple Qatari man aspires to change the modern thinking that games can only be electronic, especially for adults.
The ILoveQatar.net (ILQ) team got in touch with him to get to know a little bit about him, his work, and why he feels people should take a break from smartphones and enjoy some quality time together. Let's find out!
Abdulrahman: My name is Abdulrahman Al-Homaid. I am just a simple person who enjoys entertainment such as watching movies, series, anime, playing video games, and board games. But I got involved and sank into the board game industry while creating my first game ‘Moder Kaber’, which can be translated to ‘Big Boss’ in English.
Abdulrahman: I’ve loved board games since I was a child. I played Monopoly, Risk, Chess, Checkers, cards games, and others. In the past decade, I’ve seen a change and a thrive for new types of board games such as Catan, Carcassonne, Pandemic, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, etc. We’ve played these games with our friends and families. We truly enjoyed them which made us discover more board games from around the globe.
I also saw some board games from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait that were becoming popular. This gave me an idea of trying something on my own, with the experience and knowledge I have.
So, in 2018, I established Majlis Shabab company and started working on prototypes until we came up with Moder Kaber which was launched in August 2019 at Flat 77 Café.
Abdulrahman: So far, I’ve made two board games. The first game (Moder Kaber – Arabic version) was released in 2019. The second game (Big Boss – English version) was announced in Essen, Germany in October 2021 and released in November 2021.
The Big Boss has an added feature which is the English–Arabic job cards. English speakers can learn how to say Arabic job titles such as Pilot – Tayar, and Spy – Jasoos. I thought of adding an extra feature and not just localizing the game itself.
My goal is to create more board games that suit people’s needs from a fun, entertaining, and educational perspective.
Abdulrahman: It’s fun and rewarding that I was able to elevate something I took as a hobby to a professional level. One of the fun aspects of being in this industry is that I get to talk to other creators in the region and in other parts of the world about the joy of playing board games. Different perspectives from various cultures always interest me as each region has its own preference when it comes to board games.
Abdulrahman: SPIEL is an annual event in Essen, Germany where all creators, designers, publishers, hobbyists, journalists, and bloggers come together and share their love for board games during the trade fair. Announcing the Big Boss games at this event was truly special.
Abdulrahman: In my opinion, the biggest challenge is the production of the game. You have to pay attention to all details such as card size, font size, colours, how big the box is, how attractive it is, and the information presented on the front and back of the box.
The game mechanics and the theme of the game might be easier somehow to come up with. But when it comes to production, you might go back to the drawing boards and remove/add some elements or features within your game. Sometimes you might consider changing the materials since there are a lot of costs involved in the product itself, from paper to the final box.
Abdulrahman: The first game took me a year and three months. Most of the time spent was printing and production of the game itself. The second one was done around ten months. Translating the game was the easy part, but the production took most of the time since we were in the COVID-19 period and everything was moving slowly.
Abdulrahman: I always start with word documents to pitch the idea or simple notes. The goal of the game, the number of players, and the game mechanics. I use an excel sheet to calculate and balance the game regarding the number of cards, scores, etc. The prototype can start with a simple pen/pencil and paper.
Abdulrahman: I’ve participated in Geekdom back in 2019 with Moder Kaber board game only. The public knows about my game back then. Last November 2021, I’ve included the English version Big Boss for the first time in a public fair.
Participating in Geekdom is always fun as I get to teach people how to play board games, as well as introduce them to it. There are some communities in Qatar that like these types of games and I am trying to spread this hobby to more people.
Abdulrahman: Currently, we are at the final stages of the production of a new educational game that is developed and published by Majlis Shabab. Stay tuned for the future announcement!
For future goals, I want to continuously educate people in Qatar and in the region about board games and increase awareness. The board game community is very small from what I see and this needs to be changed.
Abdulrahman: Play all kinds of board games to understand each game's mechanics and gameplay. Then, you can come up with your creation.
Abdulrahman: We all love entertainment and we enjoy our free time reading books, watching movies or TV series, listening to music, playing video games, and hanging out with friends.
Board games can be a part of these enjoyable activities with friends and families where everyone can sit and play together. We should take a time off and play some board games with our loved ones.
The growth of video games means the growth of gaming in general. This is good business for all developers and publishers as a whole. I myself enjoy playing video games as well as board games.
Cover image credit: Abdulrahman Al-Homaid
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