Game Theory: Interesting Choices – Decision versus Selection

Oakleaf Games

One of my key elements of a game is an interesting and meaningful choice. As I continue to play and design games, I have started to see that not all choices are equal. I don’t just mean that some choices are big and some are small, or that some are hard and others are easy, although these are subjects worth discussing. The subject of what makes a choice interesting is very subtle, though. Many things can lead to choices that aren’t interesting, and I think it’s useful to identify some of them and see how they impact the choices in a game.

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Game Design Starter Kit

Boards and Barley

My Game Creation Process Move beyond the Concept phase!

One of the barriers to game design is a lack of components. If you had blank cards sitting around, you would be more likely to start designing a card game. If you had some dice, you might design a dice game. The point is that if you had game design components available to you, then you are much more likely to move your game designs from the Concept phase to the Prototype/Playtesting phase.

Today I am listing some of the items that I find most useful in putting together a prototype. The hope is that you can find what you need to move your game design along.

Getting to the playtesting phase is often the biggest hurdle, but it’s the critical step in determining if your game design has any potential.

Before I get to my recommendations, which are brief, I want to remind you…

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How to Build a Game #58 Break Your Own Games

TGIK Games Blog

This might be a bit obvious, but I believe it is worth stating “out loud.” Learn how to break your own games. Play testing is not only difficult to set up but it takes a long time. Save yourself a ton of time and learn how to break your game as many ways as your can before you put your game in front of play testers. Luckily for us, we have two of us designing our games and for some reason, we both have a talent for breaking our games even during the prototype building process. We both like to play extreme strategies when we first test our games and playing extreme strategies early in the process provides is with a really good guide for the range in which the game can perform the way we intended it to.

If you are in a situation where you have a game…

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[Crosspost] Games for the Galaxy – Comparing Race and Roll

Note: Originally written for my FLGS – The Comic Hunter

I’ve touched on Race for the Galaxy before, but since then I’ve played it a considerable amount (the Keldon AI will be the end of me) and added a proper copy to my collection. Additionally, a regular at our Charlottetown Board Game Night at The Comic Hunter has picked up Roll for the Galaxy and we’ve played it quite a bit since, so I figured it was a good time to compare and contrast the two games. TL;DR – they are both fantastic games and I feel either one of them (or even both) has a place in every serious board game collection.

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Changed my mind – Roll for the Galaxy

Similar to the “My Next Purchase” series, I’d like to similarly detail some of the games that I’ve been particularly interested in but have ended up removing from my Wishlist for one reason or another. I don’t know if this will be of interest to anyone, but at the very least I think it’s important to think critically about why we want games and what to do about Board Game Acquisition Syndrome.

What is Roll for the Galaxy?

Image originally by BGG user W Eric Martin –

Roll for the Galaxy is a dice-based tableau building game for 2-5 players that plays in roughly 45 minutes (according to the box, closer to an hour in my experience but we’ve been teaching new players each time which undoubtedly factors in). It is designed by Wei-Hwa Huang and Thomas Lehmann (the designer of Race for the Galaxy) and released by Rio Grande Games in late 2014.

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