Thematic Solitaires for the Spare Time Challenged

A blog about solitaire games and how to design them. I'm your host, Morten, co-designer of solo modes for games such as Scythe, Gaia Project and Viticulture.

Archive for States of Siege

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Variation or tenseness revisited

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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One of the most flattering things that has happened to me while doing this blog was when published game designer Wes Erni told me that my blog had influenced his work. One post he highlighted was this one: Variation or tenseness?.

In that post I posit the thesis that “there’s a conflict between variation and tenseness in solitaire gaming and if a designer goes for variation in a game then tenseness is hard to achieve, while if the designer goes for tenseness then variation suffers.”

Wes told me that in the game Mound Builders, which he codesigned, he tried to work on achieving both variation and tenseness. This made me think about the issue again and it occurred to me that three other games that I’ve been playing lately showed perspectives on my thesis that I hadn’t thought about when I wrote the original post.
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Fri Aug 8, 2014 7:40 am
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Rubber Banding, and other balancing features of game design: Part II – Guest post by Mound Builders designer Wes Erni

Morten Monrad Pedersen
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Continuing where he left off Tuesday, Mound Builders designer Wes Erni walks us through the set of thematic rubber banding mechanisms from the game, so without further ado I’ll pass the keyboard back to Wes.
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Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:00 pm
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Rubber Banding, and other balancing features of game design: Part I – Guest post by Mound Builders designer Wes Erni

Morten Monrad Pedersen
Denmark
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Microbadge: Fan of Stonemaier GamesMicrobadge: 1 Player Guild - Together We Game AloneMicrobadge: 'When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning' - Dr. Reiner KniziaMicrobadge: Level 17 BGG posterMicrobadge: Automa Factory fan
My attention was recently caught by a comment on my blogpost on rubber banding. It was by designer Wes Erni where he wrote briefly about the extensive use of rubber banding in a game he codesigned: Mound Builders (about a native American civilization centered around the city of Cahokia in the Mississippi area before the arrival of Europeans).

Normally I’m not a fan of rubber banding, since it’s often unthematic and leads to players gaming the system, but from Wes’ description it seemed that he had implemented rubber banding in several ways that were both thematic and hard to exploit.

This really intrigued me, so I asked Wes whether he could be lured into elaborating in a blogpost. As it turns out he was quite lurable - so lurable that his post ended up so long that I’m splitting it into two parts.

Lucikily the post was full of interesting information and insights that made me think. I was also pleasantly surprised by the many behind the scenes peeks that Wes gave regarding the development of the States of Siege series of games. So if you’re in any way interested in game design or the States of Siege series then go grab a nice cuppa and settle in, because this one is something special.

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Tue Apr 8, 2014 4:28 pm
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