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.

How not to waste playtests

Getting playtesters together is hard work. It gets harder if a game is long or if you’re past testing with friends and are looking for more input from strangers. Playtesting is the most critical part of making your game any good, it’s not somewhere that you can cut corners. Playtests are a valuable opportunity so it’s important not to waste any of them.


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Expressing Rules

There are some really awful rule books out there, many are mediocre and there are a few exceptional ones that clearly show how to play the game. Most gamers can agree with that sort of statement. What they can’t agree on is which of the rulebooks are the good ones – people seem to learn in very different ways which dramatically affects their enjoyment of games. Long time readers of this blog may remember this:


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Relics of the Beforetimes

Last weekend I met with a few friends to play games and for whatever reason we decided to play Wizards. It took us six hours to play and it has many of the rough edges that are typically smoothed over in modern game design. We had someone on the edge of victory who then lost all of their progress to a random encounter. We had someone get “Roll D6 take that many extra turns” while in the process of executing their five bonus turns which they’d acquired during a bonus turn. The game is roll and move for crying out loud!


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Mental Battles in Game Design

A lot of game design is winning mental battles with yourself. Your brain is a sneaky beast that tries to sabotage you in one of two ways. Either “This game is horrible, your playtesters are bored, it’ll never succeed and you should drop the project” or “This game is wonderful, anyone who says otherwise can’t see your vision, ignore feedback and release it immediately!” Unfortunately there’s no simple trick to overcoming it, since these situations require opposite responses.


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Here for the Journey

Following on from last week’s discussion of gaming linguistics I got sent a link to a thread which had some interesting emerging terminology. Having the attention span of a magpie I immediately noticed this post by Deathworks that I thought was really interesting:

“To be honest, besides the solarity, the other thing that makes me a bit uncomfortable with SoloPlay‘s designs is the design goal of being challenging. While I like Mage Knight, in general, I am not really looking for a challenge when playing games. I like the stories that develop.”


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Linguistics, Game Design and Social Engineering

Recently I’ve had an interesting conversation with Morten that’s got me thinking about how linguistics shapes game design. Once you have a term for something, it becomes easier to think about – this is a relatively reliable finding across cultures and situations. So when someone comes to understand a phrase like “runaway leader problem” then they tend to get better at doing things to avoid their game having that sort of problem.


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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.


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