Game Designers

Game Designers: Impressive First Impressions

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Setup

I was listening to a recent podcast… Gino of the Talking Tinkerbots podcast mentioned his frustration with the caveat, or even caution, applied by reviewers about games or Kickstarter projects by first-time designers. The discussion caused me to think about some of the successes and failures of first-timers and to do a little research that might prove interesting. I understand the concern related to “unproven” designers or publishers, but appreciate the perspective that I think Gino was applying.

Not that this article is intended to be a logical argument, but in logical argumentation the problem Gino has pointed out is known as a Genetic Fallacy. Something is bad/good because of its origin.

It would be too easy to focus on the negative here: First-timer Kickstarters that funded but ultimately failed and games that didn’t meet gamer expectations, etc. or to defend first-timers by focusing on “known” designers and publishers failing on the same criteria. The fact is, examples of both are plentiful – I regretfully have some of each (first-timers and known designer/publishers) in my game collection as evidence.

Instead, I want to:

  1. Take a positive approach to first-timers and provide a few examples of “Impressive First Impressions.”
  2. Provide a few examples of the games by established designers that were their first or early designs.

Hobby Game Trends 2000-2014 Round 8: Dynasties

Dynasties

When looking at the recent history of board games (say, the last 50 years), it is convenient to put the releases in terms of dynasties. Certainly, one of the oldest and well-established of these is Monopoly. As has been demonstrated in previous articles, Monopoly has dominated game releases for many years. To that list of dynasties, we can add others like Axis and Allies and Risk. Let’s consider how game dynasties are formed and then take a look at some of them in terms of new releases.

Resource Focus: Jamey Stegmaier

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Of the game design and development resources I have highlighted so far, this is the first that is a person rather than a brand. This is done with no intended slight to those highlighted previously; there are real people behind each one of them and in all cases a very small number of people (usually 2-4) behind each. What makes this case special is when I set out to write up this mention, I was at a loss to describe it in any way other than as Jamey himself.

Resource Focus: Building the Game Podcast

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With the first two posts in this blog going to long-time veterans in the gaming and podcasting world and several others available, I am pleased to give the honor (such as it is) of posting #3 to Building the Game Podcast. All I have to do is listen to their latest podcast to be reminded of how much I appreciate the tenacity and courage of Rob Couch and Jason Slingerland to put their game design ideas on the line week in and week out.

Resource Focus: On Board Games

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One of the first podcasts that I got hooked on was On Board Games with Donald Dennis, Erik Dewey, and at the time, the venerable Scott Nicholson. The trio provided three different perspectives on board games, game design, and the hobby game industry. Unfortunately, Scott has moved on, but Donald and Erik continue to provide different insights and opinions into the hobby. They also provide regular game reviews with their simple and reliable stoplight recommendation.

Resource Focus: Ludology

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There are so many great resources for table top game designers and enthusiasts that it is hard to decide which to spotlight in this first Resource Focus blog entry. I have enjoyed many over the year or so that I have been actively searching, but one that I discovered early in my search and always eagerly anticipate the next episode is the Ludology podcast with Ryan Sturm and Geoff Engelstein. Geoff’s Game Tek segments are also a highlight on the Dice Tower.

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