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!

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Reviewer-Designer Synergy

I’m planning on launching Wizard’s Academy¬†around March 16th and so have been soliciting reviews to help gamers decide if it’s the right game for them. There should be half a dozen previews going live on the day of the launch, Ricky (who is generally excellent) has half of his preview live here and will launch a second video during the campaign. Generally feedback has been positive, but not every reviewer has liked the game. That’s fine by me, I don’t expect that every person will like every game, but doing this preview/kickstarter model does afford me an option that would not be available to a designer working in the traditional way: I could change the game based on the reviewer’s opinion.


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Crouching mechanic hidden rule

There’s presently a bit of an argument going on about a LARP called Empire. Okay that’s a white lie, there are always lots of arguments, but let’s focus on this one: During an event generals submit plans to move their armies, between events these moves are resolved and during the next event they hear about how many of their people died and so on. In theory this adds a lot of roleplaying opportunities to the game, in arguing about strategy and excommunicating/executing/exonerating generals who make controversial decisions. In practice it’s pushing some of the generals are moving towards heavy mathematical analysis to determine the strictly optimal moves, while others would rather have a general understanding and enjoy other aspects of the game.


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