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Schools of Thought

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Joined: 09/02/2014

I've got an interesting one for you all. My friend and I are working on a board game, and we decided to make a big, 4-Player RPG esque game. We've been working on it off and on for a few months now, and everything is coming together well enough. Neither of us have experience making board games.

We have a friend who is taking game design courses, and by chance he had a board game design course this year. He made his own game for the course (Which was interesting, but rushed) and he has some good insight to give. However, the primary thing he tells us to do is to make everything smaller. To try and make the game have less parts, less cards, ect, ect. This is in direct contrast to what we decided to do, because our game has multiple unique characters, lots of tiles, and lots of treasures.

I know neither side is right or wrong, but I thought this could be a fun debate. When is less more, or when is it time to go for as much as you can? If you have no experience making a game, is it smart to go all in on a big game?

Joined: 12/27/2013
I'm all for big and slow

I'm all for big and slow games, I find it so satisfying the more you have physical clutter at the table. Some find their enjoyment diminished the longer a game goes, and some the other way around.

I'm not that experienced myself either, but I think going big the first time is not a bad thing by itself. I mean if a big project is scrapped there's more to salvage for the next project and you have bigger picture of the things that went wrong, than with smaller games.

My mentality for making games has been that I try to shove every aspect and concept I want into one, and from there try to shave off the excess if needed, or maybe even cut the gameplay into chunks that don't need to be done in one sitting.

DifferentName's picture
Joined: 09/08/2013

There are advantages to both. I imagine making games with less is at least good practice, so when you make a bigger game later you have more experience and understanding to know how adding other mechanics change the game. Big games can be great, but a lot of the time it feels like the creators didn't know what they were doing when adding some features.

I think one way to do it is, if you encounter a problem in your game, with some part that doesn't work as well or plays slower than it should, consider removing something instead of always adding or changing something.

Another thing is if you want to publish the game, more components cost more money.

Joined: 09/02/2014
More money

Ya, cost is a big factor. In order to make the big experience we want, it would cost a lot to produce. This will likely be the reason why we never get our game published, even if we finish it. I know that's what my friends trying to tell us, but he just doesn't know how to say it. He's an artist, not a speaker haha.

Joined: 11/19/2012
Make the game as big as it

Make the game as big as it needs to be and no more than that.

I highly recommend you make the game TINY especially during your early stages of development. Most of my initial test projects have 10-12 card decks.

When you're building a game things aren't going to work right. With a small game it's easy to identify "THIS is what's unbalancing the game, THIS aspect is not so fun, etc." The more pieces you have the more possible ways it'll break.

Build small to prove your idea and make sure the core gameplay is worthwhile.

Then add a few more cards... and a few more. Eventually you can have that "epic" game but you'll never have more than a few variables in any single test.

Or, of course, you'll reach that point where you've added too much. Because you've been adding incrementally you know to stop creating and will save loads of time.

Joined: 04/30/2013
I too am a student studying

I too am a student studying game design. The reason for lesser materials in a game, is to make sure your players have lesser objects to deal with, thus lesser things to remember

Even if you say your game is designed for a niche market to justify the usage of many materials, the problem remains that there are many things for your player to take note of. In addition you yourself have more things to consider in your design. Its just troublesome for everyone involved

A game does not need to be cluttered to be complex. Seeing how you mentioned "multiple unique characters" and "RPG", it sounds like a DnD variant. Do correct me if I'm wrong.

You should consider what is the primary experience you want for your game. Only when you take that into account for your design, can you start considering the materials you would need to play the game.

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