Relics of the Beforetimes

Last weekend I met with a few friends to play games and for whatever reason we decided to play Wizards. It took us six hours to play and it has many of the rough edges that are typically smoothed over in modern game design. We had someone on the edge of victory who then lost all of their progress to a random encounter. We had someone get “Roll D6 take that many extra turns” while in the process of executing their five bonus turns which they’d acquired during a bonus turn. The game is roll and move for crying out loud!


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Mental Battles in Game Design

A lot of game design is winning mental battles with yourself. Your brain is a sneaky beast that tries to sabotage you in one of two ways. Either “This game is horrible, your playtesters are bored, it’ll never succeed and you should drop the project” or “This game is wonderful, anyone who says otherwise can’t see your vision, ignore feedback and release it immediately!” Unfortunately there’s no simple trick to overcoming it, since these situations require opposite responses.


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Here for the Journey

Following on from last week’s discussion of gaming linguistics I got sent a link to a thread which had some interesting emerging terminology. Having the attention span of a magpie I immediately noticed this post by Deathworks that I thought was really interesting:

“To be honest, besides the solarity, the other thing that makes me a bit uncomfortable with SoloPlay‘s designs is the design goal of being challenging. While I like Mage Knight, in general, I am not really looking for a challenge when playing games. I like the stories that develop.”


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Linguistics, Game Design and Social Engineering

Recently I’ve had an interesting conversation with Morten that’s got me thinking about how linguistics shapes game design. Once you have a term for something, it becomes easier to think about¬†– this is a relatively reliable finding across cultures and situations. So when someone comes to understand a phrase¬†like “runaway leader problem” then they tend to get better at doing things to avoid their game having that sort of problem.


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