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Subject: Designer diary 5: Engagement rss

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Rustan Håkansson
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Cities: Skylines board game designed by me!
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I have played a lot of Warhammer miniatures games (from Games Workshop, both Fantasy and 40K). I liked them, until I tested Confrontation (from Rackham). Then I never looked back. Warhammer was constructed to make you buy and paint absurd amounts of miniatures that were placed in a huge group and essentially represented wound markers. In Confrontation every single miniature moves independently and matters. But most important was the gameplay which was radically different.

In Warhammer one player takes a full turn, moving everything they have. The opponent is extremely passive, doing almost nothing for up to 30 minutes. In Confrontation you take short turns and are always on your toes, waiting, changing priorities during the round. For me one round of Confrontation was often more interesting than a full game of Warhammer in terms of what decisions you made and the engagement is completely different.

This experience made me notice very clearly when these structures appear in games. I like simultaneous action games, real-time games and games with short turns. I also like games where you care about what the other players are doing. During the development of the big Nations game we worked a lot with simultaneous action selection, but Vlaada helped us abandon that path. Both the big game and the dice game have short turns, players care about what the others do and almost everything players do are real choices.

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