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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Board Game Design » Design Theory

Subject: A new Game Designer rss

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Jennifer Freeman
United States
North Carolina
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Looking for some feed back from the gaming community... What characteristics do you look for in a game designer? What draws you to follow a designer and the new games they come out with?
 
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Rob Harper
United Kingdom
Wantage
Oxfordshire
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I am drawn to games, not designers. If I find that a designer creates a couple of games I like, then I am likely to want to check out what else they make. I haven't thought about it more than that, so the main characteristic I look for is: "Makes games I am interested in."
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Claudio Coppini
Germany
Frankfurt am Main
Hessen
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My favorite designer so far is Stefan Feld, the reason being that every new game from him always includes a new specific mechanism that is unique and original and that drives the overall gameplay which is usually quite simple (mancala in Trajan, bots programming in AquaSphere, windrose in Macao, etc.).
So I like designers who almost always manage to come up with some new gameplay mechanism, even if it's something small.

Another characteristic I like in general is the availability of a designer to respond/deal with inquiries from users, whether it is on BGG or Twitter or somewhere else.
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Robert Bennett
United States
Greenville
South Carolina
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You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Fred.
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My favorite game designer is James Ernest and his games are all over the place: board games, card games, dice games, abstracts. The one unifying principle is keep the rules simple, which is what I really like about his games.
 
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April W
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When they make good games.
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Ben Smith
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I'd agree with others that it's the games that initially pull me in. If someone has a lot of cool ideas but hasn't actually made any games, then they are just a blogger, not a game designer. (And a good game blogger is a good thing, mind you!)

Once someone has made a game or three that I like, I will kind of take a look at what makes them tick, mainly as a way to try and steal their philosophies so I can maybe make a cool game myself someday! For instance, Matt Leacock's Google talk about the design process in general is super amazing, and has very much shaped my approach to prototyping and playtesting. Other designers have dazzled me with their cool themes and mechanics. And some like Renier Knizia are badasses in their own way; he has a few games I really love and respect, and various others that bore me a bit because they are TOO mathematical. So I wouldn't talk bad about him, but I've learned that I like games that are more about theme and fun and adventure and maybe silliness, so his games aren't necessarily for me. And then there's Richard Launius, who is aaaaall about the theme and makes games drenched in them. And I enjoy them! To a point... but I also get fed up at times with the layers and layers of rules; his games don't appeal to the engineer side of me that wants things to have fewer moving parts and be elegant.

In short, there are things that inspire me and irk me about many designers that I respect, and I try and learn from all of them. But each definitely has a game or ten to their name, and their games are what speak most loudly at the start and in the end.
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Matthew Van Howe
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Vlaada Chvátil is one of my favorite designers and the biggest reason I started following him is the crazy variety of the genre of games he comes up with. From Mage Knight the board game to Codenames and everything in between. Its such a diverse portfolio of design. Very inspirational for me.
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