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PLAY MORE GAMES!

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Squinshee
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If you look through my account history, you'll see that I've been active here in fits and bursts for over six years. I've learned a lot and some other users have even played prototypes of mine.I loved CCGs when I was growing up (Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic: the Gathering, etc.), and discovered board games more properly with my introduction to Catan (as I'm sure many others have too). This is when I started to create my own designs. I've gone through dozens of idea/iterations over the years, all of which have missed the mark but also improved as I encountered many of the same pitfalls newbie designers fall into.

After years of different efforts, I put it all aside in April. My designs weren't progressing enough and I was frustrated, unsure of how to improve.

In August, I joined a local board game group. Before doing so, I had played a total of 10 or so "modern" board games. In the intervening months of joining the group I've played 80+ different board games. These have run the gamut from dry euros, dense economic games, coops, quick card games, etc. Not only has this been a tremendous amount of fun, but it's also been an invaluable learning experience. Seeing how different designers approach design problems in different genres is eye-opening, each game bringing their own unique wrinkle to staple mechanics. Playing these games has broadened my understanding of my potential toolkit.

Last week I started and new design and got it to the table yesterday with experienced playtesters. One of the guys who loves making fun of me said, "As much as it hurts me to say this, it's a solid, fun design."

This isn't to say it's finished or perfect or that I'm a genius. This happened because I played more games.

That is my advice to all you hard working board game designers - PLAY MORE GAMES!

questccg
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Or another way of doing it...

WATCH MORE GAMEPLAY VIDEOS! I personally don't need to PLAY the game ... but instead get to watch a video about HOW the game is played. This too adds tremendous value because like @Squinshee says you get an idea about how different genres of games are designed and what they are like. I can say that I maybe go to my local gaming group once or twice a year. Sometimes when they play other games, all I do is watch... And believe me you get to understand how the game is designed just by WATCHING!

But since my focus is on ventures that can either bring some notoriety or some revenue (in volume of sales and so forth)... My board game designs are attempts to become successful in the Board Game Design space.

However I agree... LEARNING more about other games is beneficial to your own Game Design Toolbox. Cheers!

LoveInPaintCreations
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Agree with a caveat

While I do think playing games is important to game design, I completely agree with questccg about watching playthroughs is just as helpful. I can't go out to local gaming groups or even get to my flgs hardly ever, sure to my husband's job (1 car) and taking care of my 2yo. So I watch endless stands of playthroughs and have really learned so much more than I thought was possible this way. It's a great alternative

Jay103
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Dice Tower reviews are good

Dice Tower reviews are good for this.

ArkhamArkhiver
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So Many Games!

I used to not be able to play board games living in my small town, with the folks I new only really playing Magic, so I lived vicariously through YouTube board gamers like the Dice Tower (among others).

Then when I moved to new town, with a decently sized city only 30 minutes away, I discovered the local gaming store and began playing all these amazing games I had seen.

Just recently, I've played:
Arkham Horror LCG
Android: NetRunner
Vampire: The Eternal Struggle
Dixit
Mysterium
Letters From Whitechapel
Deception: Murder In Hong Kong
Terraforming Mars
Ticket To Ride
Tsuro
Ice Cool
Dice Town
Machi Koro
Century: Spice Road
Splendor
Highlander: The Card Game
Istanbul
Smash Up!
King of Tokyo
Coup
Blood Bound
Hive Mind
Telestrations
SpyFall
Codenames
Tichu

And there's still so many I want to play:
Fury of Dracula
At The Mountains of Madness
Game of Thrones LCG
Lord of the Rings LCG
Star Wars LCG
Five Tribes
Azul
Tokaido
Scythe
Forbidden Island
Forbidden Desert
Cosmic Encounter
Small World
...and too many more to remember or name!

Jay103
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I have the original Cosmic

I have the original Cosmic Encounter (with all the expansions).. So good.

questccg
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Watch it Played or Radho Runs Through

Jay103 wrote:
Dice Tower reviews are good for this.

Yeah my first view is usually Dice Tower because they usually are less than 15 minutes in terms of review time. And then IF I am interested by some aspect of a game, I'll see if Watch it Played (Rodney Smith) or Radho Runs Through have maybe a more "in-detail" look at how the game is played maybe for Radho a sample playthru ...

And sometime I like to watch "TableTop" with Wil Wheaton.

I also like to check out KS reviews with Edo Braraf, the Undead Viking (Lance Myxter) and Board To Death.tv... If I see something that I like.

What influences me GREATLY are BGG "Banners". I usually check out those games IF I find the banner interesting (KS Campaign or Board Game). So IF you wonder how EFFECTIVE those banners ARE... I'd check them out for sure!

I have heard they are rather expensive (like $800+ USD) ... I personally have not looked into their advertising fees. But I still find the banners interesting at times...

Jay103
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questccg wrote:And sometime I

questccg wrote:
And sometime I like to watch "TableTop" with Wil Wheaton.

He stopped that like a year ago, no?

I know this because I was (very briefly) excited that my game might show up there.

LoveInPaintCreations
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Jay103 wrote:questccg

Jay103 wrote:
questccg wrote:
And sometime I like to watch "TableTop" with Wil Wheaton.

He stopped that like a year ago, no?

I know this because I was (very briefly) excited that my game might show up there.

Yeah his YT is mainly just random ramblings...for some reason

X3M
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I agree

With that one should play games from time to time. Instead of focusing on design all the time.

It gave me new idea's to work on. Also new idea's for improvements on existing mechanics that I used.

Sometimes one is stuck. Have a break.

questccg
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Strange isn't it...

Jay103 wrote:
questccg wrote:
And sometime I like to watch "TableTop" with Wil Wheaton.
He stopped that like a year ago, no?

I know this because I was (very briefly) excited that my game might show up there.

TableTop Wikipedia Reference

Says 2012-Present... I sometimes check it out when I find a game that I want to learn more about. I just don't watch each episode for the sake of following along. I've watch "King of Tokyo", "The Resistance", "Alhambra", "Betrayal at House on the Hill", "Small World" and "Munchkin".

It doesn't say anything about 2018... strange(!?)

Update: All the OLD videos are available on Geek & Sundry... But there is no content after the 1st Video (or Last) which is Eldritch Horror Part 2 (June 7 2017). So if you are looking for the old videos, I have found them... But if you are looking for NEW content... Well that my friends, I cannot seem to find. Sorry!

Jay103
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There aren't new ones.

There aren't new ones on youtube.. he still does the thing on an internet-based network I guess. I can't see any way to get older episodes of it.

questccg
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How to watch the older videos

Jay103 wrote:
...I can't see any way to get older episodes of it...

1. Click on the Wikipedia Link/URL I gave in my previous post.

2. Click on Geek and Sundry channel from the RHS under the TableTop LOGO.

3. That will bring you to a YouTube page, scroll DOWN for TableTop.

4. Click on "Wil Wheaton's TableTop" NAME and you will be brought to a page with ALL of the videos from the 4 seasons that he filmed.

I hope I understood correctly(!?)

let-off studios
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Back in the Saddle

Nothing wrong with taking time away to refuel the ol' game-making tank, Squinshee. Good on ya. :)

Jay103
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questccg wrote:Jay103

questccg wrote:
Jay103 wrote:
...I can't see any way to get older episodes of it...

1. Click on the Wikipedia Link/URL I gave in my previous post.

2. Click on Geek and Sundry channel from the RHS under the TableTop LOGO.

3. That will bring you to a YouTube page, scroll DOWN for TableTop.

4. Click on "Wil Wheaton's TableTop" NAME and you will be brought to a page with ALL of the videos from the 4 seasons that he filmed.

I hope I understood correctly(!?)


No, I mean it looks like he's still making the show, but not on youtube. You can watch "live" episodes other places, which I think really are new, but it's hard to find older "new" episodes.

But since the actual Geek & Sundry page doesn't even MENTION the "TBD network", I'm not convinced that they're not just replaying old stuff.

If Heroes & Treasure shows up, well, I'll know it's new :)

Otterlabs
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I like to think about it this

I like to think about it this way: designing a game if you're not an experienced player is like trying to write a book if you're not a reader.

This is such valuable advice, I wish I'd started playing more games sooner!

Jay103
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Otterlabs wrote:I like to

Otterlabs wrote:
I like to think about it this way: designing a game if you're not an experienced player is like trying to write a book if you're not a reader.

They say one of the things to watch out for in a game Kickstarter is "First created, 0 backed."

Oceans4Ransom
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Really helpful stuff

Really helpful stuff everyone!

I have been extremely busy working a ton over the last few months and have had virtually zero free time to work on my designs let alone actually play any board games.

I gotta say that when I am working in the office or while on patrol, I try to watch something or atleast listen to a podcast (LUDOLOGY), whether it is just a few short ones every day or more. This has been a valuable experience.
I have mentally/visually played at least 15 games in just the last two days by watching videos and reading up on experiences.

Obviously, the first hand player experience is truly premier, however, these moments can sum up that experience or design efficiently even while you are unable to devote time/money/energy into physically playing.

I have learned so much in just those short minutes that would have potentially taken me hours more in person. So while I would much rather OWN and PLAY the games myself, I have gained a deep appreciation for utilizing these resources and honestly it has grown my design idea/skill database immensely, however minor it still may be :)

wob
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hello. i would like to add

hello.
i would like to add "play more classic and traditional games".
monopoly is much derided by "real" gamers as an example of a roll and move, a game with too much luck and not enough strategy - but its been around since 1935 and still as popular as ever, so it got somthing right ( and i think the community chest is the first "event deck)
traditional games are the types of card game you find in hoyles (rummy, hearts, bridge etc) and the board games that are so old no-one knows their origins (chess, go, backgammon, shogi etc.) these games have been playtested for hundreds of years. if you are looking for a mechanic or a perfect example of a game type learn a classic.
chess is a great example. simple rules, deep strategy. it is the grand daddy of a war game (with shogi). if you want to make a war game you can look at warhammer etc. or you can boil it down to its purest form and learn chess. to expand the example here is a brief (simplified) description of chess
"a 2 player board game where both players control an army, made of liitle figurines. they can move and attack in different ways and some have special powers"

a more obvious example is yatzy and roll through the ages. i dont know but i guess the makers didn't spend a lot of time playtesting the dice side of the game. they knew it was balanced and fun because it was balanced and fun to begin with (yahtzee was trademarked in the 40s but the game is older). all they had to do was add an extra layer or two to make it a huge hit.

Tim Edwards
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wob wrote:hello. i would like

wob wrote:
hello.
i would like to add "play more classic and traditional games".
monopoly is much derided by "real" gamers as an example of a roll and move, a game with too much luck and not enough strategy - but its been around since 1935 and still as popular as ever, so it got somthing right ( and i think the community chest is the first "event deck)
traditional games are the types of card game you find in hoyles (rummy, hearts, bridge etc) and the board games that are so old no-one knows their origins (chess, go, backgammon, shogi etc.) these games have been playtested for hundreds of years. if you are looking for a mechanic or a perfect example of a game type learn a classic.
chess is a great example. simple rules, deep strategy. it is the grand daddy of a war game (with shogi). if you want to make a war game you can look at warhammer etc. or you can boil it down to its purest form and learn chess. to expand the example here is a brief (simplified) description of chess
"a 2 player board game where both players control an army, made of liitle figurines. they can move and attack in different ways and some have special powers"

a more obvious example is yatzy and roll through the ages. i dont know but i guess the makers didn't spend a lot of time playtesting the dice side of the game. they knew it was balanced and fun because it was balanced and fun to begin with (yahtzee was trademarked in the 40s but the game is older). all they had to do was add an extra layer or two to make it a huge hit.

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Squinshee
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I'm glad to see this topic

I'm glad to see this topic generate all kinds of discussion!

questccg wrote:
WATCH MORE GAMEPLAY VIDEOS! I personally don't need to PLAY the game ... but instead get to watch a video about HOW the game is played. This too adds tremendous value because like @Squinshee says you get an idea about how different genres of games are designed and what they are like.

Watching gameplay videos/review/playthroughs are definitely helpful. I do find that playing a game versus watching a game elicits a greater emotional response that can mix in interesting ways when combined with the more analytical side of games. That's why I encourage people to find ways to play more. It's not just about seeing and understanding, there's quite a bit of "feel" there as well.

wob wrote:
i would like to add "play more classic and traditional games".

I'm going to push back at this a little bit. While it's important to understand why traditional games are still being played, much of their popularity is from being first to the market. Chess is clearly a solid design, but games like Sorry!, Monopoly, Uno, Mexican Train, etc. get played not because they're amazing games but because people know how to play them or they're dead simple. Non-gamers simply hate rules explanations - they're the biggest hurdle when introducing people to games. These games also tend to give players few choices and many times amongst those choices lies a clearly optimal one. Modern games are more interested in giving players more choices where the pros and cons are less certain. You don't see players having AP in Monopoly.

Tim Edwards
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Lots and lots of times the

Lots and lots of times the popularity of traditional games is analysed in terms that boil down to 'what's wrong with people'. The answer is usually - they don't know any better. Sometimes, it's other things like they can't be bothered to learn new rules. Sometimes it's more disparaging than that.

That can all be true, but I think it would be easy to over-rely on those explanations and a mistake to forget that when (sometimes quite sophisticated) people play these games, they do so because they're having fun with them - and there are any number of explanations as to what people find fun and why.

For that reason, I find playing Traditional games to be a very useful reminder that fun can come from surprisingly simple procedures and situations, which can help me look at my own ideas in a fresh way.

pelle
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I do not think I will ever

I do not think I will ever manage to get good at watching videos. I listen to podcasts now and then, and that works perfect for me while going for a walk or/and when I commute. (In fact listening to a good podcast series is often inspiration for me to go on more and longer walks, so also healthy.) There is always time now and then in the day to read a few paragraphs in some (e)book or a blog or some other text. But when I have a free block of time and opportunity to sit down in front of a screen and just watch something I have a long list of things in my netflix queue...

Most games I get to play are either what I can play with my kids or that are short enough to play over lunch at work, or that I manage to play the one or so times per year I have a few hours at a game convention. But if people are talking about some game I try to at least skim the PDF rulebook or/and read a few reviews/threads about it on bgg to understand how it works.

It is always fun to explore very old games too, especially the period approximately 1790-1830 has many good ones, but also later parts of the 19th century has some that were fun to play (or that I plan to play some day). Or less old games like exploring 1970's wargames. History of games is full of strange dead-ends and mechanics everyone forgot about.

wob
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i think traditional and

i think traditional and classic games are two different beasts. in my view a classic game is one thats old but still owned, (monopoly, cluedo, the game of life) these i admit have less to offer in terms of mechanics, but they still show how to make a good family/kids game, how to use theme and how to market. you might not pull monopoly out at your gaming group but you couldnt play scythe with your gran and kid. being complex, heavy and pure strategy doesnt make your game good it just makes it complex,heavy and without luck.

i also dont agree they're only played because they were first to market. partly because alot of them weren't, monopoly is based on a game called rent, uno is a game i learnt as sh*thead. but also there are hundreds of games from the monopoly era and before we dont play.

traditional games i class as "old enough to not know the origins" (im sure these arent the definitions but they work for me) games like chess. i think these may offer fewer lessons for designers as they tend to be abstract, so have no theme, and have no marketing tips. they are also almost to perfect, i have seen too many attempts at improving chess.

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