Games Design Update #1

April, 2017

Being a game designer is hard, for you have to religiously invest a bulk of your time in doing two important tasks, playing games and making them.

Playing Games

When I say, a game designer must play games. I do not mean play only that one game that you really love. That won’t teach you anything, you must play all kinds of games even the one you necessarily won’t play in your spare time. When a game designer plays a game he or she dissects every game mechanic and inspects it thoroughly. Investigates why a particular design element or mechanic is part of the game? Does it achieve what is expected from it? Does it seem forced? Why is it designed the way it is? Is it balanced? What does it contribute to the game play? and so on.

It is a chaotic but educated study that happens at any and every given moment when a game designer plays a game, as a designer. That is the difference between a gamer and a game designer. That is the difference between saying “This is a good game” and “These are the exact reasons why this is a good game”.

I don’t remember the last time I played a game where I didn’t immediately stop and start analysing it. I do have to force myself and remove the designer within me so as to enjoy a game through a gamer’s perspective. I know it sounds really pretentious but it happened so gradually that I never even realised when did I transform in to a game designer from an avid gamer.

The sheer amount of games out there is mind numbing and one human being couldn’t possibly own and play all of those games in a single lifetime. Although I must say I do play as many games as I can on console and on PC. But classical and modern board games is something I have never truly gotten into from an educational or a professional perspective or even just for fun. Something that I have been wanting to do for a long time. For surely nothing is more purely a game than a board game.

This is where I give my eternal thanks to the power of the internet. It is a powerful enlightenment tool. I recently happened upon Geek & Sundry on YouTube and have been practically addicted to their Tabletop series with Will Wheaton where he plays the best of modern board games and which introduces me to new games that I do not own or have no time to play. Because I spent most of my time watching Tabletop on Youtube and reading my Bible (The Art of Game Design) I felt educated and inspired enough to set out to design board games of my own and so I did exactly that.

Making Games

I had so much fun making board games and me and my family have been playing them non stop for the past week. One of them is a quick card matching game and the other is a tile placement board game. They are still prototypes meaning most of the game pieces and cards are just cut out pieces of paper coloured in with sketch pens and it does not look pretty. But still I will update the complete rules and final art when it is done in the future. But for now here is a quick overview of what these games actually are,

Game #1 – Super Market Rush (Working Title)

Time – 10 to 15 mins

Super Market Rush is a quick card game where 2 to 4 players try to be the first to complete the set of items on their Shopping List either in hand or on table to win.

Game #2 – Zoo Mania (Working Title)

Time – 60 to 90 mins

Zoo mania is a card and tile placement board game where 2 to 4 players compete with each other to create the most amazing zoo by building unique Habitats and adding cute Animals that live there. You get bonus points for creating special combinations of Habitats and getting special Animals to live in your zoo.

I will probably now continue to work on these games a little bit more, play test them with my family, watch movies and Table Top, write and read something new and pondering over the questions of the irrefutable existence of the universe.

Peace.

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21 thoughts on “Games Design Update #1

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  1. Whoa! That must be a tough job. After I first tried to play Dixit (it’s a card game), I wanted to design a card game. Do you also design games like, Harvest Moon or RPGs?

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    1. It is quite difficult. To come up with new ideas all the time and making sure that they work, as a game. But it is also the most fun I have; when I am designing games that is. I would love to design big video games some day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to watched TableTop too. That’s when we studied how to play Betrayal in the House of the Hill and Deads of Winter. Do you have your games that are already on the market?

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      1. Hopefully. Hope to get an update. My cousin is a board game collector. I’ll tell him about you and about your soonest game (if it’s available in our country) Godspeed!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such an interesting post to me. I hadn’t ever contemplated how critical it would be for a designer/developer to dig into the multitude of games out there. I can’t imagine how you find the time to do that. Really. It’s an extremely daunting task in my mind. I love games, but that is based on the idea that I’m playing something I actually enjoy. The others are a bit like sitting in a bag and being smacked around. I have no interest in it. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for the cool read and the new perspective. 🙂

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  4. I’m so glad you’ve found Geek & Sundry! They’re pretty awesome. I’ve been into modern board gaming for about four years now thanks to the amazing talent of Shut Up and Sit Down. I think it was one of their videoes where I heard someone say that the best way to be a video game designer is to first design board games. 😊

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  5. Table top is a excellent alternative to online gaming which actually isolate individuals. We need admit their are a unhealthy trend growing ever more humungus and online game addiction statistics is scary.

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    1. I know. But when done right online games can bring people together. I have made some online friends in the past that live thousands of miles away but are still in contact after so many years. Most of these people I met through online games.

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