Storytelling vs Mechanics

Last night we played Firefly. I wound up as an arms dealer and on my first turn recruited Jayne and bought a gun. We set off to do some mission or other, but kept running into traders. Being who we were we shot everyone we met and looted all of their things, skittering across the black as space pirates. Meanwhile another player was trying to recruit a mechanic, failing to do so but accidently gathering most of the original Serenity crew. The other two players had slower starts, one in particular was searched three times by customs inspectors (who repeatedly found that she was legit) as my pirate ship zipped through adjacent sectors blowing up traders and merchantmen way gay abandon.

illusion

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SatW Prototypes

I wanted to update a few people on my progress on the Scandinavia and the World game, but realised it’d be easier if I could embed pictures of prototype cards into the email and eventually came to the conclusion that I’d do well to write a blog post instead and direct interested parties to that. If you’re reading this as someone who generally enjoys my thoughts on game design, welcome, I hope you enjoy any insight this offers into the process – but please be aware that this post isn’t really intended to be illustrative in the way that the others are.

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Approaching a new idea: Information Rationing

I’m up to prototype #6 for Scandinavia and the World¬†and one of them has lead me into some interesting design terrain that I’d not been thinking about explicitly before: If a game relies on limited information, how should that information be controlled? What are the minimums and maximums of information that it is okay to release? What is the relative value of obtaining information to the player?

secret

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The impossibility of balancing effects (and what to use instead)

Balance is one of those tricky things that everyone seems to want, but people can’t agree on exactly what it means. For the sake of this post I’m going to talk about it in terms of ensuring that asymmetrical abilities (or cards or effects or whatever) that players acquire during setup or in play. Specifically making sure that luck of the draw does not become the dominant factor in deciding who wins a game, rather than the player’s decisions.

scale

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