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How to make a game easy?

3 replies [Last post]

I find it very difficult, when I am trying to design a game, to make the concept clear and accesible.
What follows is that I deduct the concept to the point I find it clear and accessible. But after doing so there is nothing really special anymore about the game and its rather boring.

The only game I know who succeeded in this is chess, I think. And settlers of catan, just for a little bit because it is a bit dull I think.

So my question is;
How do you fit in several mechanics in to a concept. And how do you make the rules logical so that, they don't really look like an extra rule because its seems verey obvious in the whole concept.

I hope anyone can give my some good advice or an article about this.
Or an example of an game where he/she thinks is represented what I just wrote.



Joined: 12/31/1969
How to make a game easy?

well chess infact integrates three mechanics into one game

1. pieces that move differently from one another
2. victory condition being to essentially capture your opponents king
3. movement and capturing rules that correspond with each piece

in a sense every game integrates at least two mechanics. The first being the victory condition, ie: capturing all other pieces, having most pieces on the board. The second is how one manipulates their pieces, ie: pieces move orthogonally, pieces are placed adjacent to friendly pieces. Now most games have a third mechanic which makes them unique. Now mixing two unique mechanisms such as go-moku's mechanism and amazons mechanism (a game i made) will result in a sole mechanism anyway. It seems you truly cant mix any number of unique german game mechanisms and use those mechanisms as they are in their respective games.

Joined: 01/04/2009
How to make a game easy?

I think the best suggestion for dumbing your game(s) down is to tell lots of people, and try to improve your technique everytime. I find it helps to compare to existant games, and diagrams work wonders if you can fit them in. What you really need to watch out for are ambiguous rules, which can really bog a game down. If you want to spread it beyond your close circle, explain the rules to new people and see what/if they get anything wrong.

Also, the length of the rules is irrelevent as long as they are explained clearly and succinctly. A nice feature which many games have are a referrence sheet/synopsis for quick checking and a detailed explanation for learning.

As for the mechanics themeselves, always be thinking about them. Can two sliders be merged into one? Are certain pieces and/or rules redundant? Often, when a game is updated, old rules will get left behind when they do little for or even hinder gameplay. But this isn't a reason to cut down all gameplay. It simply addresses the question: if the players are always starting with the same moves, then why not start them after those moves?

Many games are dynamic. For example, I would say that Axis & Allies, Deflexion, The Princes of Florence, Backgammon, Checkers, 4d Noughts & Crosses, Battleship, Monopoly, Octiles, Silverton, Octi, Scrabble, Master Labrynth, Pirateer, Carrassone, etc... are all good games. I have played all these games, they are all good and explain their mechanics (which are widely disparate) clearly and succinctly. I could keep going on games I have played, but that isn't even the smallest portion of the total out there.

Don't trick yourself into believing that making games impossible or even difficult. It just takes time and constant effort (which could be considered difficult, but it won't be if that is what you want to do anyway).

Hedge-o-Matic's picture
Joined: 07/30/2008
How to make a game easy?

I tend to write rules in the order they'll be used in the game. Most games have a turn order, and players must do certain things before they can do others. Explain each step in sequence. Using outline format in MS Word is good for this, in complex games.

The observation, above, that visuals help is also a good one. Visuals can make rules far easier to digest, even if they "bulk up" the rules a bit space-wise. But who cares about that? My abstract series Excerp Captum each had one-page rules sets. My Printer's Edition of the rules made each game take about six pages, but they were six pages of diagrams and examples, which a reader could blast through very, very quickly. The rules became "longer" by having fewer words, and lots of nice, detailed pictures instead. If you have the capability, this might be a good way to go, too, expecially if you're designing abstracts.

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