A Game Designer at a Comics Convention

So a little while back I went to Comicon to show off the Scandinavia and the World game. Since we’re launching in just a couple of weeks now seems like an excellent time to talk about that – but what I really want to talk about is how to be a fish out of water. I’ve done plenty of board gaming conventions, but the comic convention was something entirely different. I may have been the only person demoing a board game in the room (I might not have been – but in any event there weren’t many). So let me tell you the ways in which it was different and what I’d recommend to a game designer who’s going to be the only board game person at a convention in the future.

Continue reading

Creating a Tabletop Simulator mod

I’ve found Tabletop Simulator a great venue for playtesting and I need to update the Scandinavia and the World workshop entry – so I thought that it might be nice for me to do this in the form of a tutorial. It’s been a really great venue for me and isn’t tricky to use, so a bit of a step by step guide seems like something that might help break down barriers to entry for other designers.

Continue reading

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.


Continue reading

Remote Playtester Feedback

I’m coming towards the end of my latest set of blind playtests for Escape the Nightmare. The testing was divided into three waves and the feedback from each wave lead me to change things for the next wave – one of the things that changed every time were the questions that I asked. I thought that it might be interesting to share the questions that I’ve ended up asking the third and final wave and have some discussion of how our choice of questions influences the quality of the feedback that we receive as designers.


Continue reading

App Supported Gaming

At the UK Games expo I picked up a copy of XCom, I’ve played games before that have used apps to enhance the experience, but I was curious to see how well the game held up with a mandatory one. Now I’ve enjoyed it a lot and think it does a load of really neat things, but in order to contextualise my love for it I feel the need to rant about how awful an idea app supported gaming is and how much I hate smart phones.


Continue reading

UK Games Expo 2015 (My first stand)

Every now and again I briefly recall that in my first post I promised that this blog would talk about what it’s like to go from being an academic to a full time game designer and all of the experiences that I’ve had along the way. It seems that in general people enjoy my broad and unsolicited advice on the subject more, but today there’s a chance to do both. I ran a stand at a big convention for the first time ever this weekend!

expostand Continue reading

Room for Innovation

So there’s this conversation I keep seeing on game design forums:
Enthusiastic_Newbie “I’ve come up with a great new mechanic for my game!”
Old_Hand “There are no such thing as new mechanics, what is it?”
EN “(Description)”
OH “That’s been done before in (Game) (Game) and (Game). Perhaps once in a generation someone comes up with a new mechanic, the odds that it’s you are millions to one.”
EN “Oh”
OH “Don’t try to invent new mechanics.”
Unenthusiastic_Newbie “Oh, okay. Thanks I guess.”


Continue reading

Introduction to Game Design

Last weekend I was invited by the University of Birmingham Tabletop Gaming Society to do a workshop on game design. I’d like to write about how that turned out and some of the surprising things that happened in it – so if you’re planning on running this sort of event or if you’re a new designer who’s interested in hearing what information most surprised new designers, read on!

brumuni Continue reading