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Proposed TiGD series: "Common problems"

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jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008

This is a sample of a proposal for a series in the "Topics in Game Design" forum. The series would be on the subject "Common design problems" -- problems that plague our designs, and those of published games. Each week, we'd tackle a new "problem". What causes it? What games have the problem? What are some ways to get rid of/avoid the problem?

Example "problems" that could come up:

Kingmaker
Analysis paralysis
Multi-player solitaire
Runaway leader
Leader-bashing
"Effective" player elimination

Others?

Please respond if this series would be of interest to you, and add other common problems to the list! Or, propose a series that includes a couple of subtopics and give us an overview of how the discussion would go; what would it focus on? Looking forward to your input...

-Jeff

Anonymous
Proposed TiGD series: "Common problems"

Downtime

Zzzzz
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Joined: 06/20/2008
Proposed TiGD series: "Common problems"

Variety/Stagnation (same game/gets boring, after a few times played)

How do you build in variation?

GeminiWeb
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Joined: 07/31/2008
Proposed TiGD series: "Common problems"

What about changing the pace and length of the game?

Anonymous
Proposed TiGD series: "Common problems"

Good list so far...

How about "marketability" in designing a board game?
I have that problem...sigh

About stagnation being a problem... Try incorporating a modular board. One that changes with each play. Or randomly triggered in game events for a little variety, and my favorite mulitple victory conditions. With multiple paths to victory the game garners more replay value because players will attempt to build differing strategies around each condition and be tempted to try them all at least once.

Anonymous
Proposed TiGD series: "Common problems"

These are both kind of "physical" design. Not sure if this qualifies.

Bad ruleset (inconsistent, ambiguous, hard to follow, self-contradictory)
Bad parts design (poor quality, wrong shape, wrong material, too few)

zaiga
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Proposed TiGD series: "Common problems"

Good initiative Jeff! I think I would like this series best.

Another problem that could be discussed is that of turn order. Or rather when sitting to the left or to the right of a weak opponent for a large part determines how well a player does in the game.

- René Wiersma

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
Proposed TiGD series: "Common problems"

Thanks, all for your responses, and for those who haven't posted yet, keep them coming!

What I find interesting is that there seem to be two subthemes here. The one that I had actually intended are "objective" problems with a game. A kingmaker problem, for example, is a "defect" in the game system itself: if the rules or the common course of the game lead to one player choosing the winner, it's a "flaw" in the game.

However, some of you are suggesting things like downtime or poorly written rules that are problems with the game *experience*. I think these are definitely valid things to talk about as designers; I wonder if it wouldn't make sense to have two separate discussions on this subject, one about problems with the game design itself, and one about problems in experience. Some problems, like downtime or table order, sort of live in both worlds, but we could probably force-fit them into one or the other.

Thanks again to all who've chimed in!

-Jeff

GeminiWeb
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Joined: 07/31/2008
Proposed TiGD series: "Common problems"

How about getting the right balance between luck (e.g. which cards you draw, or the die rolls you make) and strategy? I'm thinking at the moment of games where a bit of luck make sthings interesting and can even some things out, but too much downweights the choices the player makes ...

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