I’m getting a lot of questions about the Wizard’s Academy Kickstarter and minis. I’ve been asked why the game has minis in PMs, on BGG and on the Reddit AMA (which is a good read, it’s nice to see what people who’ve played the game have to say). The answer boils down to “Because it makes the game better and it makes sense for a 3D art company” – but I’ve also had questions about the economics of minis, particularly an add on mini, that I’ve held off answering because I needed a long form answer – this blog is all about the long form game design discussions so let’s do this thing!
Today I was asked about whether I was GMing the Wizard’s Academy minigame in such a way that I’d cheat in order to make sure that the players weren’t utterly ruined by the RNG. My instinct was to say “No, of course not, if it all goes wrong the it all goes wrong!”, I like fair play and generally I try to offer real risks rather than illusory ones. This got me thinking about the philosophy of lies and when as a GM or game designer (the roles are similar in some respects) you would choose to mislead your players.
I tried, I really did, to write something interesting and insightful about game design today – but I just can’t do it. We’re launching a Kickstarter tomorrow that’s going to have a huge impact on my career as a games designer. If things go well then we’ll keep making games and I’ll immediately get to start working on the next one, perhaps the several next ones. If it goes poorly then 3DTotal is likely to make the sensible economic decision to get out of the game making business and I’ll be out of a job. Hopefully I’d exploit other options I have to design more games, but it’d be a major step backwards in terms of the resources that I could leverage to keep building games.
The point is that I’m really not having a lot of success thinking about anything else, so if you’ve enjoyed my thoughts on game design then I’d ask you to please bear with me for just this week while I talk about something that’s important to me. Next week will be business as usual.
Today I’m working from home in preparation for doing an interview with BluePegPinkPeg, who look at games from the perspective of couples and families. That’s got me thinking about how different games handle player counts, a lot of games seem to display player counts that they can’t really handle. I’ve got plenty of games in my collection listed as “2-6 players” that are totally unplayable with two, so I wanted to take a minute to talk about how different games deal with varying player counts.
In the video for 404 I described it as a “medium weight” game. It’s been a while, but it’s come to my attention that I have no idea what that means. I thought that I did when I was saying it, I thought that I was saying “The rules aren’t trivial for non-gamers but people who are used to games will get it together pretty quickly, there are some interesting decisions but this isn’t the sort of game that will generate anyone that you might describe as a grandmaster.” but now I think that what I was actually saying “Woob woob woob woob wob.”