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 Copyright Eric Pietrocupo

E-Mail: ericp[AT]lariennalibrary.com

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News: Pausing board game design for now

Page: News.News201407291005AM - Last Modified : Tue, 29 Jul 14 - 1589 Visits

There have been large discussions lately about reconsidering if I should continue designing board games. The two key threads making me take this decisions are here:

Too many games is like not enough; Why continue making games?


Why modding video games is easier than designing board games?


I realised when modding warlock that is was much more easier than board game design since I had no compression to do. That is actually why I started to designing board games, but I never though I would have to do any compression of mechanics. It's the first time in years I had fun designing a game.

So there are 2 aspects to explore, the too many games on the market syndrome makes it hard to make you game visible and be played by others. So that in the end there is no good reason to design games because:

  • Nobody want to play your game since there are tons of cooler games out there, so you cannot give fun to others
  • Not only you earn no profit but you also earn no recognition because people don't play your game
  • You cannot design the game for yourself, because once the design is over you played your game so much that you do not want to play anymore.

So for creating new games, I will first try to make 1 single player game and see the experience I get from it. I will also design a lower scale or more tactical game design to avoid compression and abstraction of details. If it works well, at most I will enjoy desiging and playing the game, and optionnally, try to make it played by others. In that case, I could continue designing. But if I receive no fun in making the game, then there is no reasons to design anymore and I should simply stop designing.

For multiplayer games, I am getting very restrictive, I'll try to avoid multiplayer games since I have little opportunity to play in multiplayer. So if I design such game it will have to be:

  • Small: Take little space, easy to build as print and play
  • Short: Last preferably between 15 min and 30 min, max 1 hour. Shorter game are easier to convince people to play
  • Simple: Rules must fit on a double sided letter page.
  • Social: There must be a social aspect, which requires to be played as a board game and not on another medium.

Else I could try 2 player games. Many of my solo game ideas could be played with 2 players. So I will focus on solo with 2 player options before making 2 player games. But finding 1 player to play with me is not as much a burden than finding a group of player.

Second, there is the modding aspect which seems easier for me. I have many good variant, but sometimes variants are badly received. So one thing I could do if I stop designing games is only making variants. To make sure they don't get quickly rejected, I will only offer variants for games that I like as they are. So the variant should rather give different gameplay options rather than fixing the game. It will also fit better with my short motivation span syndrome.

There is also the idea of making video games with lib GDX, either real games or electronic board games. Video games is an attractive risky trap. I could try to make eventually some mini games with lib GDX to have an approximation of the development time. But still, there are simply too many video games out there, so the visibility is even lower than board games. I might continue working on wizardry for now, but nothing more.

At least with single player board games, I am restricting my audience and might get more view this way. As you will see, I have resorted my list of ideas according to the reflections set in this post. So I will favor games which have defined mechanics, which are single player games, which are very short and small multiplayer games and that I truly want the game to see the day. It shorten the list from 48 ideas to 13 open ideas, much better so far.

So in the end, it's the lack of reward (even non profit reward) that incite me stop designing games because why work on something in order to get nothing in the end, I'll simply work on something else. As for variant, it demands much less work, it get's much more visilibily, so I could simply stick to that.

We will see what will happen.

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