So Escape the Nightmare has launched and we’re only a few days in but it looks like it’s going to be a close run thing. There were some tricky issues in the launch (some of which are still ongoing) and I’m sure at some point I’ll dissect those so that we can all talk about how they impact on things – but today I’d like to talk about ways of seeing the future and their impact both on me as a creator and on strategic decisions taken about the project as a whole. I’ll get onto the impact of a prediction later, first let’s talk about the method:
On last week’s designing for philosophers BGG mirror post Nostra left a comment asking if I’d be willing to explore these ideas more deeply and in particular to address how one would put together a game that serves two groups of players “a) players who do not balk at advancing their position via “harming” other player positions (“it is within the rules, and the game’s intent”) with, b) players who dislike “nasty” play (“but you can play nice!”)”
This morning I saw a wonderful webcomic about a game played by Neitzsche, Schopenhauer, Epictetus and Buddha. One of Epictetus’ lines summed up something that I’ve seen several players do over the years: “The only thing you can control is your own virtue, and the most virtuous thing to do is fulfil your civic responsibilities, which is why I select the moves which best help all players.”
Welcome to the second part of the opening engagement posts, if you need to catch you can read the first post here or make do with the following summary: A lot of people will judge something by their initial experiences, but often games provide their best experiences to players who have got used to the game. Therefore there’s a challenge in game design to make a game show off it’s best assets as soon as possible. Cutting down the setup and rules explanation time can help with this, as can identifying the best your game has to offer and focusing the design around making those occur as early as possible. I’m not sure why that took one and a half thousand words last week, but if you’d like to see a similar lack of brevity then keep on reading.