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Subject: Boardgame Reccomendations to become a better designer? rss

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Sam Mercer
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1. Boardgame Name
2. Why should I play it? What great aspects does it show me as a designer?
3. How should I play the game to get the most out of it? What should I keep in mind as I play it?
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Lacombe
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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1. Acquire

2. How to get a lot of gameplay out of very little complexity

3. Pay attention to counter-intuitive, cannibalistic tactics. You need to have shares in the largest chains in order to win the game, but you don't want to have shares in the larger chains early in the game or you will lose in dramatic fashion as your cashflow sputters out. Rather, you usually want to be in a majority position in the absolute smallest chains on the board in the early game stages and then have those chains killed off before they can get too large. Additionally, the game teaches the value of shooting for second-place everywhere rather than getting into a tit-for-tat showdown for first place in only one arena of competition, a skill often used in majority games and applicable to many other genres as well.
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Sam Mercer
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1. Battle Line
2. It is a very good example of "emergent gameplay". At all times, you are playing against your opponent, as in chess. The cards only facilitate a battle of minds and are not the central core of the game. You "win" by playing your opponent, you do not "win" by playing the game.
3. Observe how the different winning hands (run, flush, three of a kind, suited run) are all "the best hands" in certain situations. Also note the amount of unease and contempt created when one player plays a game changing "tactics card". It shows how rigidly set in "the game rules" (and trying to triumph using them) one players mind is, as soon as I play a card that steps out of the rules: the whole game is rendered obsolete. It is quite staggering to play against a well placed tactics card when you are "in the zone".
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Sam Mercer
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1. Dobble / Spot it!
2. In the amount of fun enjoyed with a game versus the time taken to get there: this game reigns supreme overlord. I do not know any other games that provides such entertainment in such little time. This is an example of a game set up to be entirely and only: fun.
3. Realise that the idea is overly simple and very "un boardgamey". There are no dice, there are no chits, there is barely a box to speak of, it consists of just some interesting "toy" style cards and a fairly inept rulebook. Yet compare the amount of fun had by all players on this game, than that great game of battlestar you had the other day.
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peter newland

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1. Any game you can get your hands on
2. The aspects of it that you like are the good ones
3. Play according to the rules. Is it fun, and why or why not?

Honestly, the only way to get good at designing a game is
1. play everything
2. design a game and let other people play it
3. get feedback and repeat steps 2 and 3 until the game is fun
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Ben Milton
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1. Space Hulk
2. Play it for its beautiful asymmetry, near-unbearable tension, life-or-death tactical choices every single turn, and the way it makes losing feel heroic and satisfying. You can HEAR the soundtrack playing.
3. As the space marines, proceed methodically, watch every corner and hallway, set up defensive overwatch position at the end of every turn. Make a run for it if you think you have a chance, and sacrifice a marine if you absolutely need to. The objective is everything. Take calculated risks. Make each Marine's death worth it in Tyranid blood.

As the Genestealers, put the pressure and panic into the human's heart. Push push push the genestealers forward even as they are slaughtered. Send one forward to be die in order to stack up a hallway full of his friends behind him, using him as a shield. Hide behind corners. Force the slower humans to make riskier and riskier decisions. Make them desperate.

Basically, play with your side's personality, and the mechanics make it awesome.
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Alex Weldon
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dufflehead wrote:
1. Any game you can get your hands on
2. The aspects of it that you like are the good ones
3. Play according to the rules. Is it fun, and why or why not?


This, plus find what you like and play lots of that. Is there a certain designer you admire? Play everything by him and figure out what the common thread is in his games... is there a certain mechanic you like? Play a lot of games featuring variations on that and check out all the different things that have been done with it. And so on.

It's not so much what you play so much as playing it mindfully, paying attention to the game as a designer, not just as a player. Imagine it's your own game and you're playtesting it... what works? What could you improve? What elements could you see also going into one of your other games?
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Hoot of an owl, chatter of leaves, by a spooky crossroads waits
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This thread should be a geeklist, because then I could append comments to each indivuidual entry or something.
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Sam Mercer
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http://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/140448/boardgame-recommend...

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Clive Lovett
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Last year I asked established designers (Knizia, Kramer, Pauchon..and more) to give three pieces of advice for aspiring game designers.

One of the comments that stands out is to play any game - NOT JUST THE GOOD ONES!!!!

You will learn as much from the bad games as you would from the good ones. The key is to question why games do not work and why they do work.

So my reply is to play any game that you have not already played and after you have played it (and during) track what was good and what was bad.
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Matt Riddle
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all. Sam!! How was holiday?
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John "Omega" Williams
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To become a better designer...
Design games...
Rather than trying to ape (or puzzle out) what has gone before.
Especially because one persons good design is someone else's worst.

If you want to observe good board game designs then start with the bare bones basics. Clue, Monopoly, Risk, etc. These are solid family type games that have endured a very long time. Look at how the board is laid out, how the game flows. Ignore the mechanics at first and look ad the game on a whole.
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Martin Gallo
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Cogentesque wrote:
1. Boardgame Name
Baseball Challenge

Cogentesque wrote:
2. Why should I play it? What great aspects does it show me as a designer?
It focuses on the manager's decisions rather than just the statistics. This emphasis transforms it from a game to something resembling a simulation while retaining the fun factor.

Cogentesque wrote:
3. How should I play the game to get the most out of it? What should I keep in mind as I play it?
Know your subject and figure out what it is you are trying to present. Note that the game is still relevant and playable with today's players as it was in 1979 - THAT is scalability!
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Ben Pinchback
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Great idea Sam. Added mine to the Geeklist.

Ok, here's a bonus other one:

Through the Desert
Why?
Simplicity. Here's your turn: Place two camels. Next. It's amazing in its simplicity, but this game is wicked cool. It's strategic, tactical, mean, sneaky, and overall boss.

What?
As you play, just pay attention to how many stinking things you are trying to accomplish with just two little actions. Camel 1 and Camel 2. There's a lot to accomplish with these pastel little guys. What a freaking great game.

I wish I had half the brain of the good Dr K.
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Herc du Preez
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bno70_1 wrote:

I wish I had half the brain of the good Dr K.


Don't feel bad. Have a grape camel: grapecamel

Also updated geeklist.
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Sam Mercer
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Mr Mat, Mr Ben! Welcome to the party!

Yes my holiday was fantastic thankyou very much! - Yesterday I bought Jaipur because it's a good game and I was there man, I was there! Thanks very much guys - also; 27k ! awesome!

Back on track:

I do understand why we say "play all the games and design continuously" but is there not some merit to taking the best only and learning from it? I mean BGG lists 58,000 games in the databases at the moment - and lord knows that there is no way I will be able to play all of those in my life time. As opposed to playing games chronologically - what specific "dont miss" game should I play to get the most out of it as a designer?

Thanks for geeklist updates, im going to move discussion to over there !

sam
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Alex Weldon
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In a way, you might actually be better off playing middle-tier games than the very best.

I mean, when I play a really top-notch game like Carcassonne, I end up just thinking "man, I wish I had made that." Sure, there's things to admire in it and learn from, but there's not a whole lot you could improve (except for buying up all the later expansions and burning them), so as soon as you start borrowing mechanics from it, you might as well borrow all of them, forget about designing a game, and just go play Carcassonne instead.

I draw the most inspiration for games that have some aspect(s) that I really love, and others that make me go "man, I wish they'd done this better... actually, I bet I could do it better."
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Sam Mercer
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xopods wrote:
In a way, you might actually be better off playing middle-tier games than the very best.

I mean, when I play a really top-notch game like Carcassonne, I end up just thinking "man, I wish I had made that." Sure, there's things to admire in it and learn from, but there's not a whole lot you could improve (except for buying up all the later expansions and burning them), so as soon as you start borrowing mechanics from it, you might as well borrow all of them, forget about designing a game, and just go play Carcassonne instead.

I draw the most inspiration for games that have some aspect(s) that I really love, and others that make me go "man, I wish they'd done this better... actually, I bet I could do it better."


But then your aim is to "improve on an existing game". Which would be a very specific design goal. Personally I would encourage people to make their own games and not start on an existing base on which to improve. If all your games were based on existing games that you tried to make better: all of your games would be "just like X game, but a bit different"

s
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John duBois
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Cogentesque wrote:
xopods wrote:
In a way, you might actually be better off playing middle-tier games than the very best.

I mean, when I play a really top-notch game like Carcassonne, I end up just thinking "man, I wish I had made that." Sure, there's things to admire in it and learn from, but there's not a whole lot you could improve (except for buying up all the later expansions and burning them), so as soon as you start borrowing mechanics from it, you might as well borrow all of them, forget about designing a game, and just go play Carcassonne instead.

I draw the most inspiration for games that have some aspect(s) that I really love, and others that make me go "man, I wish they'd done this better... actually, I bet I could do it better."


But then your aim is to "improve on an existing game". Which would be a very specific design goal. Personally I would encourage people to make their own games and not start on an existing base on which to improve. If all your games were based on existing games that you tried to make better: all of your games would be "just like X game, but a bit different"

s

If you approach it from the perspective of "this game is only okay, but this mechanic is great" with multiple games, you're not improving an existing design, you're borrowing from it. Most game designers do this to an extent.
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Alex Weldon
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JohnduBois wrote:

If you approach it from the perspective of "this game is only okay, but this mechanic is great" with multiple games, you're not improving an existing design, you're borrowing from it. Most game designers do this to an extent.


Exactly what I was going to say. Borrowing from one source = copying, borrowing from multiple sources = research.

The point is that there's no sense borrowing a mechanic from Carcassonne, because they're all already part of a happy family. I'm talking about rescuing orphan mechanics from broken homes and building them a new place to live together.

(And of course, you also come up with some stuff of your own... but there's no point in playing games for research if you're going to avoid taking anything from them, unless maybe you just want to learn what not to do.)
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