Game Design

Game Makeover: Nines – Thinking Outside the Box

Design Workbench

Design Objective

It has been a while since I first did the makeover of Nines to form Picky Packrats and I have played hundreds of rounds of the game as-is. So, why would I change anything? Well, to see if I can make it better. In this design round, we break the game layout out of the box and into a circle. A circle is more reminiscent of the rat midden that our theme is suggesting and it opens the game up to more scoring possibilities.

Outdoor Dexterity Games: Tossing and Turning on the Lawn

Author(s): 

Setup

While my focus in most of my articles is on tabletop games, with the advent of summer comes the desire to play outside. There are many such games and activities, but the games of interest here are ones that involve rolling or tossing objects at another/other object(s). I think for most in the US, this is associated with Horseshoes or Bocce, but there are several variations on this theme – more than I realized – that are popular primarily based on the country or region of origin. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

Analysis Paralysis: Ask “The Geek”

Author(s): 

Setup

Some gamers have a problem with spending too much time analyzing the game state before making a move. I usually don’t suffer from this affliction (or should I say my gaming buddies don’t suffer from my affliction), but most gamers will succumb to this to some degree at some point. I usually don’t get too bothered by this. I am by nature an analytical person and can get wrapped around the axel at times when all I really needed was a quick answer. A common example is when I am working on a game design and I wonder if a particular mechanic or theme or combination of these has been used before. Am I doing something new or inadvertently rehashing something already done. I end up doing a lot of research on the subject instead of just plowing through my design iterations. Maybe I am looking for convenient distractions so I don’t have to think so hard on the design.

Missing Mechanics: Many Hands Make Light Work

Author(s): 

Setup

I haven’t been a video gamer for several years, so I can only speak about the games that I played – the ones “everyone” played – 10-20 years ago. A common mechanic in video games of that era (think Starcraft, Warcraft, Age of Empires, etc.) was to assign a worker to build something. That’s not so different from Worker Placement in board games, right? Well, maybe…

Opie Games: 2017 Preview

Author(s): 

Setup

The one statement that covers my 2017 goals for Opie Games is, “Get back in the game.” Starting in March of 2015 and continuing through about September of 2016, I had significant “distractions” from doing anything related to Opie Games; a flooded house that needed repairs, the culmination of a huge 3-year project at work, and other significant obligations pulled me away from this pursuit. Hopefully, 2017 is a year of change in a positive sense and I can get back to my preoccupation with game design and back on a blogging routine.

Mechanics Focus: Card Drafting

Author(s): 

Setup

In the Low Player Count BGG guild, one of the podcasts that I enjoy, a series of questions was asked about the “card drafting” mechanic. I have incorporated card drafting in Picky Packrats and am working on other designs that have card drafting as central to the game, so I have been thinking about this mechanic already and have some thoughts to share. The link to the BGG glossary entry for Card Drafting, my responses to the questions posed in the BGG guild, and some additional thoughts follow.

Game Design: Delayed Play Testing

Author(s): 

Setup

It has been over 8 months since I “completed” design work on Picky Packrats and discontinued regular playtesting. However, my friend Mike and I continued to play it fairly regularly during lunch at work for the entertainment value alone; that is, until late October when his FMLA for a newborn and then the holidays and then the early-year work pressures all got in the way. We finally played Picky Packrats again this week after a 3 month hiatus. Was the game as fun as we remembered? Did we discover anything new about the game or validate any previous conclusions? Let’s see.

Pressure Problems with Legacy and Disposable Games

Author(s): 

If you think legacy style and other disposable games are crap by their very nature and you are looking for a few more grenades to drop in the BGG forums, well you have come to the wrong place. I hope to present a few ideas that have come as a result of playing, and thoroughly enjoying a few legacy and disposable games recently, namely Pandemic Legacy: Season One and T.I.M.E Stories. As I have planned to play and actually played these games, I have noticed a few dynamics that seem to be unique (at least for me) to these sessions.

So each player starts with a 3 x 3 grid of cards…

Author(s): 

Listening to a recent podcast, I heard that a certain game design contest had received quite a few entries for which “a 3 x 3 grid of cards” was a main feature. Those discussing this event sounded derisive to those designers who presented these designs. Now, maybe that was just my impression, but that impression was the seed for this blog post. So let’s take a look at “a 3 x 3 grid of cards” as a game feature. Note: I was not one of those designers entering the contest, so this is not a case of sour grapes; just an observation.

Mechanics Focus: Dexterity Games

Author(s): 

Definition

The BoardGameGeek Glossary defines Dexterity Game this way: n. A game where the major skill needed is a physical action, such as flicking (Crokinole), balance (Topple), or deft manipulation (Jenga).

General Appeal

Many people of all ages enjoy dexterity games and since they generally require skills that are not necessarily acquired with age, people of all ages can usually enjoy them together. Usually the “smarter” adults can’t stomp on the younger players just because they have more gaming experience. In fact, young players often have the dexterity necessary that can deteriorate with age, so in a dexterity game they may have the upper hand, as it were.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Game Design