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.


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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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Calling Game Shops

So a while back I had a chat with Bez (who’s fantastic btw) and was asking how he’s done so well with In a Bind. Generally I was interested, but also I knew I was releasing Escape the Nightmare soon and wanted it to go well. There are some similarities between the games, they’re both party style games, they both try to do something interesting to break the mould, they’re both averaging a respectable 7.3 on BGG (and both having a lower ranking due to having few ratings). Among the things he mentioned that fell into the category of “Stuff Bez did that I did not do for my previous games” was that he’d personally called a lot of shops in the UK and asked them to stock the game. I figured I’d give that a go, so this post is about what went well and what went wrong.

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Adult Content

I don’t really shy away from any particular type of content in my game design, I like to stick to whatever the game feels like it needs. In 404 and Wizard’s Academy that didn’t produce anything particularly out of place. Thematically they’re both funnier than they are dark. There are hints of bad things in them, of course, but ultimately I’ve had more comments that the dead monkey token is “cute” than people complaining about the objectives like turn a human into pie and feed it to another human (colloquially: The Sweeney Todd objective).


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Gratitude and Honesty

So I’ve got this problem: I don’t read reviews. If I’m interested in a game I’ll play it and see if I like it. Or if I can’t do that I’ll read the rules and generate a mental model of what I think the game will be like. That’s far from 100% reliable but has always suited me better than listening to someone else’s opinions of a game.


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Tabletop Simulator vs Tabletopia

While I’m excited about my current Kickstarter I think it’s really important to look after your existing backers so have been doing plenty on the previous one too. Most recently I’ve had a discussion with our backers about the possibility of creating some Wizard’s Academy DLC on a digital games platform, over 100 backers have chimed in with their feedback and there’s a lot to think about. One of the points that keeps coming up is the comparison between Tabletop Simulator and Tabletopia, which I thought would make an interesting topic to discuss today.


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UK Games Expo 2015 (My first stand)

Every now and again I briefly recall that in my first post I promised that this blog would talk about what it’s like to go from being an academic to a full time game designer and all of the experiences that I’ve had along the way. It seems that in general people enjoy my broad and unsolicited advice on the subject more, but today there’s a chance to do both. I ran a stand at a big convention for the first time ever this weekend!

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