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Game Design

My Visual Communications class is doing a board game design project. I am struggling to come up with worthy concepts. A classmate found this great this great review of a book on the topic, and I was impressed enough to buy the book in PDF form.

The first bit of advice you get in the book is to maintain a childlike mind during the conceptualizing stage. I don't know if I have a childlike mode that I can shift into. Being a child was pretty awful for me, so I don't normally revisit that part of my life. But I am trying to keep a sense of fun. If I don't find my game concept fun, then nobody else will either.

Any advice from those of you who have designed games? (chadu, I am looking at you.)

Comments

chadu
Oct. 11th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
Sorry it took so long to read this: haven't been able to get into LJ all day!

I've heard good things about the book you're linking to (don't have a copy of my own yet), and this one's good too:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Theory_of_Fun_for_Game_Design

Also, look up Daniel Solis' blog:

http://danielsolisblog.blogspot.com/
http://gobi.livejournal.com/

He's a game-designing MACHINE.

My best advice, come up with a simple silly/fun rule that has emergent possibilities. Here's a quick idea that has a surprising amount of emergent gameplay:

HIT A DUDE
1. Hit a dude.
2. Play passes to the left.

That's the entire ruleset of the game.

More info:
http://hitadude.com/
http://ryanmacklin.com/2011/09/actual-point-of-had-wpg/

And a dissenting opinion:

http://githyankidiaspora.wordpress.com/2011/08/13/hit-a-dude-a-joke-a-game/

Think how simple checkers is. A couple simple rules of play leads to more complex actions activities. The fun can be found in how the simple turns into the complex.

It's like cooking: some flour, salt, and water, and BANG -- bread. (Wild yeasts for sourdough!)

. . .

Huh.

That's it.

Your game is titled WILD YEASTS.

;)
fenriss
Oct. 11th, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC)
Excellent! Just the sort of advice I was looking for. Thanks so much.

I am not sure if Wild Yeasts will work, given that we are expected to come up with a "theme" that we then apply to all parts of the game, so I am thinking "spooky" or "steampunk" or something else that I have a lot of knowledge about and can play off of. But for game mechanics, I will take your advice, and keep it super simple. Thanks again!
chadu
Oct. 11th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
Oooh, another thing that hit me is one of my favorite card-games: FLUXX.

Ruleset:
1. Draw a card.
2. Play a card.

That's it. Individual cards change gameplay, winning conditions, how many cards you can hold in your hand, play direction, all kindsa stuffs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluxx

Plus, there's a Pirate version, a Stoner version, and a Monty Python version.

In your case, I'd say go "spooky" or "cooking."

My friend Lenny swears by this game:

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/71655/wok-star

Did we ever play LORD OF THE FRIES?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_of_the_Fries

Two great tastes that go great together.


fenriss
Oct. 12th, 2011 12:23 am (UTC)
In your case, I'd say go "spooky" or "cooking."

I take that as a very high compliment. Thanks.

Wok star looks amazing! I don't think I have that kind of talent. And, no, I don't think we ever played Lord of the Fries. It also looks cool if... gross. I regret not playing more games now that I have to design one! Fortunately, in class on Thursday we are spending the whole class playing games!

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