Design Exercise: Microgame

Oakleaf Games

I like microgames, and I think they’re an important part of the hobby. What I learned in defining microgame is that it isn’t simply a number, it is more of a design philosophy. At the root, designing a microgame requires you to deeply analyze the mechanics of a game, to understand what parts are essential to the gameplay, and what parts are there simply to round out the experience.

One of the ways that the microgame philosophy can be useful is by applying it to other games, whether existing games, or designs you are working on.  Turning a game into a microgame can be a fun mental exercise, but it can also be a valuable tool to learn more and practice game design. Here are some of the benefits.

A microgame lets you focus on a limited aspect of a game. You don’t need to consider 50 different things at once; you can pick specific behaviors or…

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Where Does a Game Designer Begin?

What Makes Games Good?

No More Daily Blogs

As I lay in bed, trying to think of something blogworthy to thumb into my iPhone before my self-imposed deadline hits, I realise, perhaps I’ve taken my hobby too far. So for now, I’ll only be posting once a week.

I may return to daily updates if my audience grows, but until then, I’ll update once per week end.

Where to begin?

Short answer is “anywhere you like”.

Long answer is the same as the short answer with the phrase “including, but not limited to…” attached.

The best place to start is with the feature that excites you most. The sort of thing you’d see written on a game box that has you reaching for your wallet.

Including, But Not Limited To…

A mechanic. The mechanics are the features that govern what the game does. Whether you are playing chess on a computer, a physical board…

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How To Build a Game: #54 Guest Article: Testing Your Idea Without Prototyping

TGIK Games Blog

Hello loyal followers of TGIK. I’m Jon Chambers, and today we are writing on each other’s blog.
Prototypes are valuable and vital to game designers. Bringing a game from start to completion without a prototype is like trying to fix a car wearing a blind fold, listening to heavy music with a pair of thick gloves. It can be done in theory, but not practise. However, prototypes take a while to build, and they can’t be tested in the shower or while driving. This is why it’s good to test your game before you build a prototype.
Imagine Your Idea In The Shop
Whether you first see new games in a physical store, Kickstarter, your favourite online shop, Board Game Geek or being held by your favourite reviewer, imagine it there.
You want to buy this game. Yes you, poor game designer, struggling to make ends meet, your electricity may…

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Practical Game Design and the Art of Great Games

Oakleaf Games

TC Petty tweeted the other day apologizing for his “practical” game advice.

I went back and looked at this advice, which garnered several retweets and favorites.

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Taking an idea forward – Mishmash update

While I’m still working on the various “standard” worker placement spots on the board, it’s probably a bit further off than I’d anticipated so I wanted to add an update in the meantime with some of the non-specific ideas I’ve had.

What’s in a name?

Well, a lot, as a matter of fact. It’s interesting reading posts on how other designers came up with the names for their games, particularly for newer designers who need to use as many resources as they can to grab the attention of potential buyers. I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking on this recently (as “Unnamed worker placement/role selection game” doesn’t quite roll off the tongue) and I think I’ve found a name I’d like to use that both fits the story and theme of the game while still being (hopefully) interesting enough. So, while not exactly the most fascinating of posts, I’ll be referring to the game as From the Ashes for the time being.

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[Crossposts] My First BIG Worker Placement

Note: Originally written for my FLGS –

Ok, so you’ve become the most powerful Lord in Lords of Waterdeep, fed your tribe and brought them to prominence in Stone Age, then build the best railroad between Moscow and Kiev in Russian Railroads and managed the most successful vineyard in Viticulture, but now you want more. You’re in luck, as the biggest and heaviest worker placement games are still to come; feed your family and grow your small farm in Agricola, construct buildings and work on the castle to impress King Philip the Fair in Caylus or become the richest and most successful shipping magnate in Le Havre. Today, I’ll be talking about the heaviest of the heavy (so far anyway!) worker placement games.

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Taking an idea forward – Buildings

Buildings in Euro games are nothing new or innovative, but I find them extremely interesting and a good way of creating a connection between the Players and the current session; there’s a greater feeling of “ownership” when trading in your collected resources for a permanent (typically) new addition to the board. Different buildings come out every game, allowing for various playstyles and strategies to come out during games. That being said, I often feel that buildings, or at least the construction of them, don’t often fit thematically into games, which is something I hope to accomplish.

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