Three design lessons from a heap of trouble

I don’t want to dwell on this, but I think a 2 month gap in posting needs some explanation: My health problems were somewhat worse than anticipated. I’ve spent most of the last 5 months in bed. I am very bored of bed. The next 5 months are supposed to be better, but there are no guarantees. I am probably not going to die before you do. I am going to try to attend MCM and UKGE and give SatW the attention that it deserves. Few people read this blog for news about me, it’s about game design tips and seeing the inside of the game design world. To that end, let’s talk about three lessons that I’ve learned through card design in SatW:

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Scandinavia and the Theme

Today I am preparing the Scandinavia and the World card game files for printing reviewer copies. Looking for spelling errors, instances of “player” that should say “opponent” and other such grist. In doing so I’m re-experiencing how the mechanics and theme interact. It’s particularly important in a game that is based on a webcomic, as it needs to carry the theme of the existing material strongly enough that existing fans recognise and enjoy it, introduce that material to people who have shown up for a game but don’t read the comic and not to let that get in the way of the game itself.

So today we’re going to talk about how mechanics and theme interact in card games, both in this game and in others, to deliver the best possible effect.

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Enough Rope to Hang Yourself

I’m very interested in the self-destructive part of the human condition. We are in the process of making our environment uninhabitable to humans, have devised increasingly sophisticated means to prove it beyond any reasonable doubt and are doing it anyway. We’re hilarious. So most of the games that I design contain some means by which a player can make everything terrible and then finds ways to make that choice seem compelling.

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Eighteen Plus

Today’s topic: When should you put cock into a game.

There was probably a more delicate way to phrase that, but it’s been on my mind lately. I saw the SU&SD review for Kingdom Death Monster which brought it to mind lately and as some of the art comes in for the Scandinavia and the World game it’s becoming increasingly apparent that it’s a topic that’s going to come up.

the_exhibit

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