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Hiya and welcome to the 3DTotalgames website!

We’re constantly building new things so there’s a lot on. If you’re looking for recent news, game design articles and stuff like that, just scroll down. There are hundreds of posts on the subject! At the bottom right you can see some categories if you’re interested in particular ideas or projects.

If you’re interested in one of our games the bar along the top links to pages about particular games. Each page has an overview of the game, shows off some of the art and lets you know where you can get it.

Calling Game Shops

So a while back I had a chat with Bez (who’s fantastic btw) and was asking how he’s done so well with In a Bind. Generally I was interested, but also I knew I was releasing Escape the Nightmare soon and wanted it to go well. There are some similarities between the games, they’re both party style games, they both try to do something interesting to break the mould, they’re both averaging a respectable 7.3 on BGG (and both having a lower ranking due to having few ratings). Among the things he mentioned that fell into the category of “Stuff Bez did that I did not do for my previous games” was that he’d personally called a lot of shops in the UK and asked them to stock the game. I figured I’d give that a go, so this post is about what went well and what went wrong.

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Flexible Start and End Points

In most games the possibility space extends both before and after the actual start and end points of the game chosen by the designer. Take something like Settlers of Catan. You don’t have to stop at 10 victory points, you could ignore the rules and keep playing. You don’t have to start at the game start, with everyone having two villages and some resource cards, you could step backwards and start with just one and no resource cards.

onevillage

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Balancing Spending Options

A lot of games contain a resource that can be spent in multiple ways. For instance in Game of Thrones you might spend a power token to control an area after you leave it, to bid on an area of influence or to help defeat a Wildling invasion. Not being sure how best to spend a token is a source of tension and an opportunity to express skill – so from a game designer’s point of the view the question becomes: How can I make the player unsure of what manner in which to spend my multifaceted resource?

confusingsale

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How should AI cheat?

Last week I was writing a cardboard AI for a game and reached the conclusion that in order to make the game fun and challenging it would have to be allowed to cheat. In this case by starting with more resources than the human player(s). An algorithm that could equal human play would be too complicated to execute and bog down the game, so a simpler one was required to make the game fun and it had to cheat to make the game interesting.

cheat

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Quality in Context

I’m presently sorting through hundreds of cards for the SatW game, in the hopes of cutting the game down to a more reasonable size. I’ve played a lot of games with this prototype and have plenty of notes about each card. The most useful “at a glance” measure is that I’ve been ending playtests by asking “Which cards did you like? Which ones made the game worse?” and putting a plus or minus next to each card that gets mentioned (depending on whether it’s a positive or negative mention). This is less useful than you’d think.

posinegative

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Situational Value

Board games can put a lot of different skills to the test. I think that one of their attractions is in the way that they can tickle all sorts of different regions of your brain. Today I’d like to write about a particular skill and it’s implications for designers: Recognising situational value.

ponymonchoice

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