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"Typical mistakes in boardgame design" lecture

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Anonymous

Hi!
Im putting a lecture about typical mistakes in boardgame design up into my blog. The lecture was held last summer at ropecon by stefu and me. I will try to translate and upload the rest of the lecture as fast as i can. Hopefully during the week ill have it all uploaded.

http://meepleland.blogspot.com/2005/11/typical-mistakes-in-boardgame-design.html

I have uploaded these topics of the lecture:

Gaming time
* Length
* Undetermined playtime
* The games arc
* downtime
* Analysis paralysis
* upkeap / book-keeping

Interaction
* Multiplayer solitaire
- Interaction through the gamemechanics
- Direct interaction
- Interaction outside the game
* Player elimination
* King making
* Runaway leader

johant
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Joined: 12/31/1969
"Typical mistakes in boardgame design" lecture

For those visiting BGDF its just a summary of what we all know

Give us more than just the topic, i bet you can

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
"Typical mistakes in boardgame design" lecture

It sounds like you've already given this lecture, so this is probably a moot point, but I don't think it's accurate to call these "mistakes"; the connotation is wrong. A mistake is something like saying 5+6 = 12, it's a product of carelessness and can be easily corrected. The attributes you feature are flaws, but they are rarely the result of sloppiness on the designer's part, and much more often the result of the complex interactions of the many interlocking mechanics that make up a game. They're also generally troublesome to remediate, requiring changes to the mechanics or possibly the whole game itself.

It's a mostly semantic point, but I think it's an important distinction as to what category game flaws belong in.

As you may have seen, we had a series of discussions about this very subject in the "Topics in Game Design" forum. Check it out to see what we've had to say on the subject.

-Jeff

stefu
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Joined: 12/31/1969
"Typical mistakes in boardgame design" lecture

I'm "the other guy" so I'll just pop in with some comments.

jwarrend wrote:
, but I don't think it's accurate to call these "mistakes"; the connotation is wrong.

Ansi's choice of word is a bit wrong there. The whole thingy was about "typical gamemechanical problems in games" and thoughts around that subject. It certainly is exactly the same thing that has been discussed here in the "Topics in Game Design", but we just thought it might interest people to mention about our lecture here as well... and actually it was more of a discussion session rather than a lecture (the lecture part was there perhaps more to inspire discussion and wake some thoughts).

The points Ansi has listed now in his blog are basically a direct translation (from Finnish) of the document we used for our "lecture" part. They don't contain everything we said about the subject but they pretty much contain all the points we talked about. And yes, it certainly is pretty much a summary.

The whole point of our lecture was not to give the ultimate truth behind everything around the subject and netiher was it to dig very deep into the various topics (after all they would each deserve their own lecture). It was just to get people to think about mechanical problems and taking them into consideration not only when designing but also when rating or discussing about games... a kind of introductory session on the vast subject.

Quote:
The attributes you feature are flaws, but they are rarely the result of sloppiness on the designer's part, and much more often the result of the complex interactions of the many interlocking mechanics that make up a game. They're also generally troublesome to remediate, requiring changes to the mechanics or possibly the whole game itself.

Indeed. And because it's such a fundamental thing it certainly is important (IMO) to take it into consideration from the very start. I've myself faced surprisingly many "glorious" gameideas and descriptions where only the descriptions of the mechanics show that they haven't given thought on various "typical problems" that would arise from the suggested interactions between the mechanics... or if they have given thought they haven't had much experience from such problems.

Therefore we thought an introduction and summary on the topic was important... they might be self evident things to most users here but we just thought it still might interest someone even here.

-Stefu

PS. Some small background:
-We are just hobby designers but very active gamers and thus we have faced alot of game mechanical problems in games but we might not have faced the task of actually solving them in designing
-We come from Finland were boardgaming culture is starting to bloom but gamedesign culture is in babies shoes (thus we wanted to hold an introductory thingy to get mainly hobbyist designers to think about the topic)
-Ropecon is a big annual convention in Finland made by a large group of volunteers. It's the biggest annual convention in the Nordic countries with over 3000 visitors each year... it's pretty much a mini Gencon.

stefu
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Joined: 12/31/1969
"Typical mistakes in boardgame design" lecture

Oh btw. I seem to have Adminstrator rights ;) I guess they are remnants from the starting times of this forum 'cause I used to be active during the first couple of months :) (hi darkie and hpox if you still remember me!) it certainly has grown from those times and it's looking good.

Sorry for this totally off-topic message...

-Stefu

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