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Hi, I'm Ananda

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ananda
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Hi everybody,

I'm Ananda. I'm interested in board game, board game design, and board game design heuristics, so I'll probably want to talk about all three on this forum. I've designed (and discarded) many games, but don't have any published games. Currently, I am working on a card game called Weavers. Looking forward to lots of productive board game design related discussions here!

Jay103
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Welcome! What do you mean by

Welcome!

What do you mean by heuristics in this context?

ananda
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I mean rules of thumb for

I mean rules of thumb for game design that generally improve the quality of any game (not the heuristics that players learn as they play the game, though I care about those too).

Some examples (my personal favorites):
+ Events that affect a player negatively should be foreshadowed
+ Each choice should benefit a player in at least two distinct ways
+ The interactivity of a mechanic should be inversely proportional to its complexity

questccg
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Hmm... Not sure about that!?

ananda wrote:
Some examples (my personal favorites):
+ Events that affect a player negatively should be foreshadowed
+ Each choice should benefit a player in at least two distinct ways
+ The interactivity of a mechanic should be inversely proportional to its complexity

Foreshadowing in most games is not possible. Unless it's some kind of RPG-ish campaign sort of "scenario" (like in many Miniatures games) where events somehow lead to "negative outcomes"... I can picture this in something like "HATE" by CMON: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cmon/hate

There is some "foreshadowing" when you lose a UNIT. (As a concrete example)...

Not sure what you mean by "interactivity" of a "mechanic"(!?)

As far as choices having two (or more) distinct benefits... These all seem like very "difficult" constraints you are putting on a design. If you design a game that is "FUN" ... that's already a big LEAP forwards.

These "heuristics" as you call them... are a bit "aggressive" in terms of design constraints. It's as BAD as Publishers who won't consider a game for publication if it is LESS than FIVE (5) Players. (What's so wrong with 4 Player games???)

Of course these are YOUR design constraints, not everyone else. Everyone has a right to their own "quirks" I suppose. I personally try to design with the most "clear/clean" design table (least amount of prohibition). But everyone designs games differently (I suppose). I like IDEAS that are "fresh" and come from real-life inspiration.

And I'm not saying those "heuristics" are bad... Just COMPLICATED. For example the option of choices having too many options could lead to Analysis-Paralysis syndrome for NEW players. And once that happens once, in many instances those player will NOT play the game a 2nd time!

Not to mention including YOUNGER players as part of the game. For example if the decision is "which card do I play?" and you add ANOTHER layer of complexity whereby each card has "multiple uses" like "Roll For the Galaxy" that might be too complicated of a game for kids under 12 years of age.

So be aware how "limiting" your "heuristics" may be...

Tim Edwards
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ananda wrote:I mean rules of

ananda wrote:
I mean rules of thumb for game design that generally improve the quality of any game (not the heuristics that players learn as they play the game, though I care about those too).

Some examples (my personal favorites):
+ Events that affect a player negatively should be foreshadowed
+ Each choice should benefit a player in at least two distinct ways
+ The interactivity of a mechanic should be inversely proportional to its complexity

Hi and welcome!

Those are interesting rules of thumb(s) :). Might even be worth starting a thread about sharing and discussing general principles (of thumb) like these. They are useful to think about.

questccg
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Just a quick follow-up

questccg wrote:
So be aware how "limiting" your "heuristics" may be...

And just to emphasize, I don't think of your "heuristics" as being bad... They are, in common terminology, called "Design Constraints" and many contests over at "The Game Crafter" (TGC) rely on certain constraints to focus efforts on one particular "type" of design.

While it might be good for a card to have multiple uses, usually you start with one use and then add some kind of "modifier" or "ability", which gives the player a second function (of usage). So this does happen, maybe not on ALL of the cards (as a constraint) ... But maybe like a "Good Practice" to allow some card to have multiple effects/uses.

So don't be offended when I say "limiting", that is the NATURE of "Design Constraints": they are mean to focus a design given a set of rules that should be followed.

Cheers and welcome to BGDF!

Note #1: I downloaded the template "designer" ... I'm going to take a look at it. But I have so much to do... IDK when I will have time to get around to it! But thanks for the links to it... I'll see IF I can use it or not (MSE).

ananda
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questccg wrote:These

questccg wrote:
These "heuristics" as you call them... are a bit "aggressive" in terms of design constraints.

Sorry, I gave a bad/vague explanation. When I say rules, I don't mean rules in the sense of design constraints such as "I will design a game that uses exactly one D20 and 15 double-sided cards."

The use case looks more like: "how can I improve my game? Oh, I can apply [insert design heuristic here]; let's try that!" Playtesting is still the final arbiter, so if feedback from playtesters disagrees with a heuristic-driven change then that feedback takes priority.

When I say that I am interested in game design heuristics, I just mean that I enjoy finding patterns in game design decisions that tend to produce fun games and figuring out why they work and when they apply.

Tim Edwards wrote:
Those are interesting rules of thumb(s) :). Might even be worth starting a thread about sharing and discussing general principles (of thumb) like these. They are useful to think about.

Thanks, I will definitely do that. I think there is already an entire sub-forum here dedicated to that sort of thing ("Topics in Game Design"). I provided the above heuristics just as examples to illustrate the sort of thing that I am talking about, but I'll make some dedicated threads for each of them to explain the heuristic.

questccg wrote:
I downloaded the template "designer" ... I'm going to take a look at it. But I have so much to do... IDK when I will have time to get around to it! But thanks for the links to it... I'll see IF I can use it or not (MSE).

Great! It is absolutely worth your time; I can't even begin to imagine how much time I have saved by learning MSE. Not only does it reduce the time it takes to format each card (which is already a huge impact) but if you need to change the card card layout due to rules changes (which I always have to do several times), you can just update your MSE template and then all the cards you have previously created instantly have the new layout.

X3M
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Always happy to see someone casting a fresh light on things

Welcome to this forum!

ananda wrote:
+ Events that affect a player negatively should be foreshadowed
+ Each choice should benefit a player in at least two distinct ways
+ The interactivity of a mechanic should be inversely proportional to its complexity

I have never seen these before.
But those are some good guidelines. Not to be confused with rules that have to be followed. They are more like, "making things more interesting if possible" kind of rules.

The third one is a bit confusing for me. What do you mean exactly?

let-off studios
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Interpretation

ananda wrote:
+ The interactivity of a mechanic should be inversely proportional to its complexity
I'm thinking of it as, "If something's simple to do, it should be more interactive. If something's very complex to do, it should be less-interactive."

Ananda, is that close to your original meaning?

ananda
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let-off studios wrote:ananda

let-off studios wrote:
ananda wrote:
+ The interactivity of a mechanic should be inversely proportional to its complexity
I'm thinking of it as, "If something's simple to do, it should be more interactive. If something's very complex to do, it should be less-interactive."

Ananda, is that close to your original meaning?

Yes, that's right. I think of the first part the other way though - interactive things should be simple. Simple things can be interactive or non-interactive.

Or logically, "if interactive then simple". That might be a better way to state the heuristic than what I said before.

Edit: yeah, "inversely proportional" was not the best choice of words because it suggests that the relationship goes both ways.

Jay103
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now I just need an example of

now I just need an example of "interactive" :)

X3M
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Jay103 wrote:now I just need

Jay103 wrote:
now I just need an example of "interactive" :)

Same here ^^

ananda
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Started a new post in a

Started a new post in a better forum to discuss the simple interactions heuristic.

https://www.bgdf.com/node/22438

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