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The Hollywood Thumbrule

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larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

In the book I am reading, there is a sentense that talked about a thumb rule that could be interesting to apply to board games:


There is an old Hollywood rule of thumb: If a line in a script doesn’t serve at least two purposes,
it should be cut. Many designers, when they find their game doesn’t feel right, first
think, “Hmm… what do I need to add? ” Often, a better question is “What do I need
to remove? ”

I think that is a great idea: make sure that each elements of your game serves at least 2 purpose.

Lately I have used this rules: In my game, I awarded conquest trophy that gives you victory points. But now it is also used to intimidate other players.

From know game example: The buildings in puerto rico has 2 purpose: give you special abilities and victory points at the end of the game. Cities in settlers of catan allows to give you resources and victory points.

So do you think it is a good thumb rule that could be applied to board games design?

Joined: 07/08/2009
As . . .

someone who would be equally happy having either one of those unlikely professions (and will be satisfied if they only ever remain hobbies) I agree with the general idea. It's certainly something I keep in mind when thinking about games. There's only so much stuff a game can have!


Nix_'s picture
Joined: 09/23/2009
I like the idea, but aren't

I like the idea, but aren't there some mechanics in a game that are pivotol enough not to need 2 purposes?

I'd have to agree though that the more parts of a game that have multiiple purposes the more interesting it can become.

Callan S.
Joined: 08/21/2009
I think yes, but having a

I think yes, but having a possitive consequence and a negative consequence for the player from the one mechanic, instead of having two possitive purposes. Even if the negative only occurs in corner cases.

Bittersweet is more of an interesting flavour than sweet sweet :)

Willi B
Joined: 07/28/2008
For Designer Games,

This is a pretty good idea. For some games though, especially those aimed at younger audiences, I think it could get confusing.

Obviously there are ways to "hide" the double usage of mechanics, but for overt usage it can get complicated.

San Juan, for example, takes some players a few plays to adjust to the 'cards as currency' concept.

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