Sportsmanship and Game Design

Among other things, I grew up playing Titan. For those who aren’t familiar with it, the basic pattern of the game is that you start with a titan and a few other units and move about a strategic board using your existing units to recruit better units. When your units run into your opponents units then they’re moved onto a tactical board where they have a fight. The winner – in addition to having killed some things – gets some points which translate into recruiting special units and more power for their titular titan. A player who loses their titan is eliminated and the last player left standing wins. When my father was winning a game, the closing moves of the game would often look like this:


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Brevity, Fidelity and Precision

I’ve recently been editing the Nightmare cards for Brevity. The game is played in real time and upon receiving a card you have ten seconds to read it, execute the rules on it, propose a trade with another player, agree and swap cads. This is already a tall order and it’s not helped if the wording on the cards is obtuse, so I yesterday I found myself going through it card by card and asking “Is there a quicker way to say this?” Getting into the nuts and bolts of this task has lead me to refine some of the concepts I discussed last month in the simplest rule.


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Meet the Games

Game design for 3DTotal is still somewhat exploratory, with 404 we made a (fiscally) midrange game and Wizard’s Academy was at the top end, with lots of minis and chrome. To complete the triangle our next game will explore what we can do on a budget. The brief is to create a 54 card game using existing art. This is a serious challenge for me, because so far all of our games have been praised more for their mechanics than their art (and the art has been beautiful) but this set of restrictions are all things that limit what I can do mechanically while utilising art assets that we already know to be exceptional. On the other hand wouldn’t it be spectacular if we manage to put something together that got rave gameplay reviews but that anyone could get for around a fiver?


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