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Harmony and the Kludge in Game Design

[Originally appeared on]

Harmony and its opposite, the kludge, are fundamental to good game design. Games that lack harmony or have in-harmonious aspects have a handicap, though some succeed. Fortunately, most of the in-harmonious games are never published, or only self published.

Worker Placement and Deck-Building

I am known to dislike worker placement and deck building games, a view many people do not understand, so I’m going to try to explain why. I should say that any discussion of mechanics is especially prone to devolve into semantics and misunderstanding and pointlessness. But we’ll give it a go.

Forthcoming (with the usual caveats) Games

Someone on Board Game Designers Forum asked for a preview of my forthcoming wargames. So here it is.

RapierCon and Prezcon 2017

Odd how the focus of game development can move quickly from one game to another. I don’t try to force testers to play any particular game. I bring a half dozen or more games to any game session or convention, and while I may mention first the one I am most interested in playing, I give players a choice.

Recent Screencasts on my YouTube "Game Design" channel

I rarely get around to posting individual links to my "Game Design" YouTube channel here, so I decided to list the most recent screencasts instead.

Games as Art (with a capital A)?

To me, games are models of something, not a medium for conveying "meaning" and "significance." If, say, the model is history, then the players may learn history (a form of meaning). And they can learn a variety of other things from games. But this is usually a byproduct of the interest in the game, not the purpose of the game.

Stories in Games (again)

In a 2011 survey published by Josiah Lebowitz and Chris Klug, people who identified themselves as "gamers" were asked to provide the three most important factors when determining whether or not to purchase a game. The most popular response? 52% of all respondents included "story" as one of the three most important factors. The second most popular determining factor was "gameplay mechanics", ranking in at 42%. Genre came in third at 37%.

My recent screencasts on YouTube

I rarely get around to posting individual links to my "Game Design" YouTube channel, so I decided to list the most recent five screencasts instead.

"Essential" (as in Essence) 4X Tabletop Game

Recently, Oliver Kiley described his desires for a 4X (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) video game that did not rest largely on warfare. His idea is to have players compete to Transcend, for the race to rise to a higher plane of existence.

"Does playing board games with people always lead to frustration and anger?"

(This is another Quora answer, to the question quoted in the title.)

Of course not! Even with traditional-style board games that are directly competitive, most people remember most of the time that IT'S A GAME, not real-world. A particularly cut-throat game like Diplomacy or Age of Renaissance may engender more anger than others, but there are lots of quite peaceful board games as well.

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by Dr. Radut