Especially in games, but really in all facets of life, the saying "you get what you pay for" is foolish. Elementary Statistics Averages! So many people don't understand that "average" can have different meanings, that I've described the differences here. Is game design about software? Heck no! The first is about how the game is supposed to work; the second is about creating game software. Why deliberately confuse the two? But sometimes one game grows out of a small bit of another. Properly specified constraints can make the game especially interesting.
There are lots of schemes, but I don't see any solutions in this detailed examination. RPGs: Stifling Creativity? When you enforce the game rules and physics you simply the game and keep it moving along, you aren't stifling creativity. Yes, the dead-kobold wielder actually said "You're stifling my creativity.
Some "practical decisions" result in behavior that has next to nothing to do with reality. I use Charlemagne to represent "minimax" and "yomi" is a Japanese word adopted by David Sirlin to represent those who try to read the intentions and anticipate their opponents. Turned out, many of them had no favorites, or could only pick the game they were currently playing.
How different from many years ago. Here's why, which has a lot to do with changes in the nature of games and how people play them. I've just added this video to my online course "Playtesting: the Heart of Game Design" about 6.
Converted to words, it's the size of a small novel, in 64 parts, including examples of playtesting notes I've taken over the years. Can the game be played to varying lengths, by varying numbers of players? Can players join in after the game has begun? Perhaps people, all in one convention room in a Ramada that was, unfortunately, on the main drag to Disney World, so traffic three lanes each way was very heavy, even on Feb. I met Mark Gelstone and Nick Seddon, who appeared to be just about the only other people interested in wargames at the con, which was dominated by "parallel competition" games interactive puzzles where you can do little or nothing to affect other players.
We talked about Mark's enormous WW II game at length, then they played a new two player version of Introductory Epic Brit 3rd edition prototype , which worked out quite well! The intro version is much more freeform than historical Brit, and that permits one arrangement of four colors for two players that looks fairly workable. Mark's game is a labor of love; not the prettiest physical prototype I've ever seen, but probably one that has more hours in it than any I've seen.
But it models WW II in several quite interesting ways. Out of the blue, Jason Levine of the Dice Tower asked to interview me video for a bit. I asked "about what" to try to prepare as we were walking to the location - they had to leave soon but the answer was something like "anything and everything" in games. Release URL above. Most of my blog posts these days point to screencasts I've released on my YouTube Game Design channel.
But a recent one is 3, words about game players and preferences, and types of games. I'm adding about 20 short classes 20 minutes to an hour to Skillshare. Their approach is much more self-improvement and arts than the tawdry "get rich quick - nothing's as important as money" malaise that characterizes Udemy. In the long run, I think this will predominate over the Udemy. Keep in mind I mean game design, not game development. Learning Game Design, Part 1.
While the ratings on Udemy are not trustworthy - there are several schemes for getting "5s", including some where the instructor pays someone! I'm available as a guest for podcasts interested in someone who knows a lot about game design and the industry, and has very long experience as well. I've been testing an alpha build of a computer version of one of my unpublished board games being programmed in the UK. It is a space wargame, vaguely reminiscent of Stratego but far more fluid, yet much quicker.
No estimate when it will become available. The photographer took dozens of photos, kind of surprised by the one they selected. Video: Jason Levine interviewed me at Prototype Con. I had no warning and no prep time for this, I'd say I held up fairly well. Pacific Convoy. Worthington have stated in their newsletter that they will publish my vaguely Stratego-like game Pacific Convoy. It's on a hex board, lots of space, and all pieces can move at least two hexes straight line only. It's much less hierarchical than Stratego, as well, and two air pieces can move in the same turn.
Different victory criteria, as well - you need to get a transport to the other side of the board, no flag or command vessel to hunt down. There's an email "interview" with me in rpgreview. Tom Vasel interviewed me for episode 27 of Boardgame University.
So I must have done something right. And Tom must have asked good questions. Roger was the uncredited editor of Britannia for its original publication by H. Gibsons in Britain in He passed away in , unfortunately. Wallace was involved in the testing. With some pieces, 35 nations, and areas, it lasts hours with experienced players. When I began to think about doing a new edition of Britannia, around , a all-of-Europe game I had done while developing Britannia.
Though not as big as Conquest Europa, it took 12 hours to play the first time, so I set it aside and then completely forgot about it. One of the first new games I started when I came back into the hobby was an all-Europe game, which was playtested at WBC in It turned out to be a natural five player rather than four player game.
Someday it may see print, perhaps in Against-the-Odds magazine or annual. In the meantime I've devised another all-Europe game that lasts about two hours, and has been played in These games both end with the Mongol invasion, after starting with the fall of the West Roman Empire. I expect that the new edition of Britannia perhaps multiple versions will show up on Kickstarter sooner or later, as the majority of publishers now use it. I have spent a great deal of time testing the full Historical Version of the new edition, which is a "more accurate" representation of history than past editions.
The Introductory version of that game is much quicker, a "freeform" version. But the versions that will likely attract the most people are standalone, separate games, a short as little as in non-solo testing version and a diceless hour version. Discussion of testing is at the Eurobrit Yahoo Group. This community supports audiovisual learning and teaching about game design at online locations such as Udemy. It is about game design, not game development not programming, art, sound.
Most online "game design" courses are actually about game development. In video games, game design also involves a great deal of communication with the people who actually make the software. Making and marketing the game is not part of game design, though very important to the success of a commercial game. Game design has little to do with visual arts and nothing to do with computer programming.
Results of my game designers' survey are in my blogs, e. If you've read this book, I'd appreciate you posting a customer review on Amazon. Very complimentary review by Jeffro Jeff Johnson from late May ' From ARBA vol 44 p. Pages 25 ff in Diplomacy World April '13 contains Jim Burgess' rather stream-of-consciousness review of the book, as related to the game Diplomacy. I was active in the hobby in the 70s, and have designed more published Diplomacy variants than anyone, I think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, he knows the actual title. From a reader review on Amazon. You know the author is not wasting your time because he is not wasting his. He gets to the point: "You want to make games, Johnny? The only way to do it is to do it". I know it seems obvious, but sometimes you just need to be told, and it's refreshing not to feel that the author is winking at you like they have a secret which they've promised to share and never do.
I did not feel that this author held anything back, and now I have something really extraordinary on my shelf: a textbook that's not only become my go-to reference, but also an inspiration - believe it or not, it's exciting! Kindle is Amazon's format, but with a free app you can read Kindle books on PCs.
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You may know that you can get a free PC program that lets you read and buy Kindle books. I don't know if something of the same kind is available for eBooks. The PDF version is no longer listed. I have not seen a copy of either of these formats. Something to keep in mind for future contracts, getting a copy of the electronic versions. The first 27 pages, and page , of my book are readable on Google Books.
Excerpt on GameCareerGuide: A systematic view of game design. The book is now being offered by some small sellers for less than the majors are selling it for paper version. There are a range of issues to consider and solutions offered for a variety of challenges in game design. I was able to check issues I'd come up against in my game design and find either that I had approached things in one of your recommended ways due to intuition or collective consideration by our game dev group , or you gave me new ideas to try or things to check.
Over all this a great generalist game design book for tabletop games. The book is a video game design book first, tabletop second. Scott Nicholson wrote recently to let me know that "I've decided to adopt your game design book as my primary text in my 'Transformative Game Design' class I'm teaching in the spring at Syracuse University. I reviewed a wide variety of game design texts, and found yours to be the best for what I need! Thanks, Scott. He's well known for " Board games with Scott ".
Transformative games are games intended to change the player in some significant way. People outside the USA might consider using Book Depository to order, as they have free shipping to about 50 countries. I have not used it myself but see references to it. I am using twitter regularly now. I am lewpuls. I've received a notification from FFG that the contract is terminated. So I have been looking for another publisher for a revised edition, and have two strong candidates. The plan for the new editions of Britannia - don't forget that plans don't always work out - is that there are several versions.
In the process the game has changed some, which I also think will be interesting for players. In particular I've eliminated some things that I strongly dislike. First, it won't be possible for the Romans to make a deal with the Welsh, who then submit although never touched. This time, they Will Fight. Second, it won't be possible for a "starving army" to commit virtual suicide by making a bad-odds attack. Its compatriots will have to come along. Third, we won't have the Romano-British scurrying for the hills, abandoning their homes and farms.
But they'll be in better shape than in the old game. It also won't be a Roman walkover with Romans even known to be killing Caledonians. The Roman will have more difficult choices. Unfortunately, players who tend to make a hash of the Romans now, when it IS often a cakewalk for an experienced player, may REALLY make a hash of it in the new version. There's a smaller, diceless version "Rule Britannia" that uses a new board 21 land areas including Ireland ; and a quick, really small nine nations "Gateway" version no set title, tentatively "Britannia Brevis" that also uses a new board 18 land.
Like so many things in life, you tend to get out of things what you put into them! Yes, passion will carry you over the goal line similar to what adrenaline does for a runner in that last few miles of a marathon. I know its slightly different than board games as a self made object hoping to use kickstarter for some newer equipment, get some exposure with reviewers, and then hopefully build by business with that momentum.
My end goal is to still get the project out there, and its already beyond a humble project with one or two products, but I feel it is neither in the epic proportions, but somewhere in between that is hopefully manageable. Good advice, as usual, Jamey. Thanks for help deciding, Jamey! Great post as usual Jamey. I ended up aiming halfway in between! There are some real tricks in creating a successful humble campaign, but more risk in creating an epic one.
Lessons…endless lessons! The reward prices were low, as were the funding goals. How to run a humble Kickstarter […]. If I had read these lessons nearly 3 years ago when I started my project I would have changed my mind and gone humble. I do not regret my decision for the epic. If my game is successful it will have other humble games related to that universe.
My passion was for the epic in the beginning and I will follow through, especially after all the money and time I have put into it. Lots of valuable insights in this post! The game we are developing could have very different price points depending on the components we choose for it, i. Since the game itself is quite simple and this will be our first campaign, we are leaning more toward a humble one.
I still need to research this more and look for examples of other campaigns that have done this. If I think about it, a lot of designers leaning towards epic campaigns, because its in correspondence with present era. Its too many games out there and every day bring new batch of it, that humble project can be even harder to lead to its successful ending, because of its lack of visibility and attention of everyone.
I can consider our project as epic one with your measures, but on the other hand, we develop PC game, that needs whole different level of budget to finish and in compare to other awesome indie video games I can suggest, that humble project could be up to But yes to get that much money as first time ks creator is like challenge NASA to build a Deathstar :D:D Good point is, that after reading your lessons, I decided to postpone our ks campaign by several months to polish the game more, engage and build up community more etc…..
After year of working out of my passion and love on our project, I must admit, we are not prepared yet, to have chance with that much of fascinating campaigns all around us. So be prepared 5x more than needed before your launch :. Elothia: Thanks for your comment. My biggest worry is coming up with reward levels. Michael: May I suggest that you look through Kickstarter to see what other novels have used as reward levels? I have been, and you are right about the fan base. Jamey: It was the hardest decision to made so far heh.
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What do you think about my suggestion about humble size of project in video games up to There are some fair points here from commentors like Elothia that there is some danger that humble projects may be overlooked now due to the huge press and truly epic size that some of the bigger games are getting. That said, I still think that the learning opportunities afforded by a humble project make it the way to go to start out. Plus, from a personal level, I think that most folks would get a big moral boost from seeing any project, even a small one, through to fruition and then use that drive to power through larger projects.
You have to start somewhere, right? What do you think about running a humble campaign, with the backers getting the chance of playing the game and give feedback, with the reward of discounted or free copy of the board when it is released? Behnam: Thanks for your question and for reading my book! Some people are happy to get involved by playtesting it, but at worst they should do that for free and at best you should compensate them with a copy of the game or with direct payment. The game does not have much of art, but I was thinking of developing a simple app to enable playing and testing the board game and giving feedback.
Such an app I can run a humble campaign for in Kickstarter, I guess, right? I will be able to get more metrics from a digital game than a hard copy. Also, with such a digital system, I may be able to play with them over Skype and observe them in action, if they want to. Definitely, if I can give people a copy of the board game to play with, it will be better and more fun, but creating copies of the game and sending them to people in different countries will be expensive as well.
Behnam: As Sheldon eludes to, your first step is actually make this thing in some form. You can worry about Kickstarter later—for now you gotta make something and see how it works.
Jamey: I think the discussion is becoming a bit confusing. I have made the board game and have tested it in a small scale. I want a way to test it in a bigger audience, with more people playing it and giving feedback before I launch it. And I was thinking of using a crowd funding campaign to do so, if possible.
Behnam: Thanks for clarifying. If you want to test a board game without requiring people to make a PnP, you could use Tabletopia.
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First, I would like to thank for hard work to give us this important lesson which I benefit a lot from it. In my opinion, I think it all depend on the preparation before your launch. Epic project need more preparation than humble project. A good example is Joey Vigour who took one year of preparation before his launch. Which mean more lesson. And lastly, I think one of the key of successes is keep gathering information in every aspect that help the project.
Information is really powerful. Thanks again and keep it up :.