Let’s Design a Game #1 Brainstorming for Our Project

Really looking forward to following this series. I’m partial to #6 – initial thought is that each time a space in one of the ‘areas’ is accessed by a player, a gauge increases by 1 – when it reaches the top, *something* bad happens. I really like the idea of no blocking, but making players choose to either trigger something nefarious or get in early at the possible risk of not getting something else.

TGIK Games Blog

I would like to introduce you to a new series, Lets Build a Game.

I have no idea if this is going to work but I would like to take you through my thought process as I design a game from scratch. My plan is to take all my notes on Google Docs and make the note available for you to see. (link to Goggle Doc) If you want to add your thoughts as we go along through this process, please feel free. I plan to add pictures of the prototype process and I would like to have video of play tests if I am able to make that happen. So without further ado, lets first figure out what project we are going to work on.

Potential Project List:

  1. Negotiation Game where potential deals move around the table and no one knows who they are negotiating with or…

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What Games Mean to Me #19 Games Taught Me Game Analysis

TGIK Games Blog

When I played games in High School and College, when the game was over, the winner cleaned up and the rest of up turned on a movie. When I got back into games a couple year ago, I started to think about everything that happened on the board and why it happened. I would think about the different decisions I could have made and what those decisions would have done for me during the game.

Taking the time to think about this game analysis after each play has made me want to try games more than once, made me a better designer and opened my eyes to the depth that modern board games provide.

The post game debrief that we gamers experience is part of the fun of the game. Why did you make that move and what was the turning point if the game from the point of view…

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How to Build a Game #61 Leave Your Fear Behind

TGIK Games Blog

Your game is good enough to be tested. Your willingness to attempt to make a game, will give you instant credibility with the gaming crowd.

From time to time I come across new designers that are afraid of how their game will be received if they show it to anyone. In my experience, when we show our games to other gamers, their first impression is to be wowed that we were able to put a game together. Regardless of the initial quality of your game, there are a group of people out there that are willing to play your game for you and give you some feedback.

If you are still worried, find one person who is willing to give your game a play. Don’t play the entire game, just test the concept of the game. Testing pieces of your idea is a good start and when you have confidence…

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Inspiring Pictures 2

El Grande – I’ve yet to play El Grande, however I’m really looking forward to the new/big box edition that’s coming out in the near future. Mostly, I’m curious what the tower thing does; I’m pretty sure cubes go in it, but beyond that I’m clueless.

Deus – I’m most interested in the player boards which start of thin and small, but then over the course of the game build up via using different cards to look quite formidable, if slightly garish.

Glass Road – One of my favourite games that I rarely get to play. I’ve rambled on about the mindgames when playing Glass Road, trying to guess what cards the other players will and won’t take, how to try and make sure you’ll be getting to use 2 of them for free and how you’ll also get to half-block someone else…it just all flows together so nicely and with a short playtime as well.

The Voyages of Marco Polo – I’ve watched MiWi do a runthrough of this game, but didn’t pick up too much about it. Aside from the really nice, vibrant colours used on the components, I have to wonder at the practicality of stacking dice like this. At my regular game night, it would almost certainly get knocked down if it were ever this high, what happens in the game if something like that occurs?

La Granja – While I know this is one of the more anticipated games (in North America at least) for the next few months, I’m particularly impressed by the multi-use cards and the different ways they slot into the player boards. On one hand it looks like it could get pretty awkward come game-end managing all those cards and the various components on your board, but I have lots of respect for the card design where each card can be used in 4 different ways for completely different effects – very cool.

What Games Mean to Me #18 Games Taught Me How to Lose

“…the point of games is to play them and the winning and losing part were the lowest things on the list of why to play a game.”

This is great advice all around and very eloquently puts why I enjoy this cardboard hobby so much!

TGIK Games Blog

I am a terrible gamer. I have a way of using strategies that are good enough not to lose but never good enough to win. I think part of that is I have not played any game enough times (other than my own designs) to get to a point where I have command of the basic strategies and move into the advanced strategies. Unless we are talking trick taking games, I tend to be pretty good at those.

Before I got into regular games nights, my usual gaming was with high school buddies and the only thing that mattered was winning. I hated losing in those situations.

When I got into the regular game nights with people from my meetup group, I learned very quickly that the point of games is to play them and the winning and losing part were the lowest things on the list of why to…

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Aside – Inspiring pictures

I don’t know if anyone else does this (or cares about me doing it), but I keep a folder of images that I pull (typically from BGG) that I think are particularly inspiring or sometimes just plain neat. Many of them just jump out to me with the feeling of “Wow, I wonder how that thing works!” and sometimes they’re not of board games at all. I ended up finding a decent number of new ones this morning, so I figure I’d do an image post and share some of my all-time favourites along with some new ones.

The Gallerist – There’s just something about the colour scheme and the iconography that I just love.

Tulip Fields – This is a picture I’ve had around for a while now. I love the straight lines and amazing colours. I can’t help but feel there’s a board game in there somewhere.

Copper Country – I’ve seen better pictures of this game, but for some reason seeing this one mid-game and me having no idea what’s going on is really cool to me.

Caylus – I love Caylus, I love all the little pieces and knowing what they’re all for makes seeing them all piled up like this very striking to me. So much potential in each of them, if that makes any sense.

Kingdom Builder – I really like Kingdom Builder and while this particular image isn’t showing off a large number of components, I like how you can take a look at it, see the Settlements on the Plains hexes along with the Plains card and it’s not that hard to figure out how the game plays. Also, I like the textures between the settlements, bonus ability tile and the card when it’s shot at this angle.

Ophir – I dig variable player powers and although I don’t know much about Ophir as a game, I like the way these cards are laid out. The iconography is clean and simple while the various elements of the card don’t get in the way of the very nice artwork.

Concordia – I don’t have a clue what’s going on here or why Meeples and wheat can be in similar-looking spots on this player(?) board, but it sure makes me want to find out. Seeing it in isolation like this is really cool, as I’ve seen plenty of shots of the board itself before, seeing this little spot by itself is striking to me.

Infographic: How to play Settlers of Catan

HowToPlayCatan  CatanSQ

This is what I think all game instructions should be like.

As a long time board game enthusiast I have explained the rules to ‘The Settlers of Catan’ countless times.  The process of bringing new players up to speed takes a lot of time.  In searching for an easier way to explain my favorite board game I decided to put my design skills to work on the problem.

The results were eye opening for me.  So much so that I now thing that all game instructions should come in some form of infographic to shorten the time between you opening the box and playing the game.

Why an infographic?  That’s the easy part.  90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual.  Not only that but visual information is processed by the brain 60,000x faster than text.  When you have to learn something quickly there is no better…

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