Game Design


Balancing the Game – Part 3

Welcome to the third installment of our math-tastic* series on game balance for tabletop and video games! The first installment is here. The second is here. And the third is… um… below. Playtesters, as I mentioned previously, will have many opinions on your game’s balance. These opinions are essential to the game development process—especially as…


Balancing the Game – Part 2

Game balance is part art and part science. Today, we’re tackling the science. Previously, we discussed the three steps to laying the groundwork for game balance. (Go on, read it and come back. It’s pretty short, but pretty important.) In today’s entry, we’re looking at how to build on that groundwork to bring balance to…


Balancing the Game – Part 1

I hate game balance. I mean, I like when games are balanced—who doesn’t? But I hate doing the balancing. You know the creative rush, the wide-eyed glee of the initial burst game design inspiration? Game balancing is sort of the opposite of that. And so, for those of you who, like me, groan when we…


Return of the Steel Dragons

For the past few weeks, I’ve been up to my metaphorical elbows doing game design on Steel Dragons, an upcoming new game from QuickCharge Games. Steel Dragons is a co-op adventure board game in which each player takes on the role of a hero who fights monsters, uncovers ancient secrets, and works with the others…


Stung by Gaming – In a Good Way!

As I obliquely mentioned on Friday, this past weekend was the debut of B-Con, a tabletop board game convention in Denver. In addition to the standard “sign up and play” events, the show also featured lots of both open gaming and prototype games from local designers and publishers. No, I didn’t bring my Haunted Hotel…


Haunted Hotel of Horror – A Random Game for Halloween

As I mentioned earlier this week, I had no intention of doing anything on the blog but Ghost Punchers for Halloween this year, but my fickle muse had other ideas. Specifically, she dragged me down the path of making a random board game with a spooky theme called Haunted Hotel of Horror. (Try saying it…


Fine. I’ll do a stupid Halloween game.

Still hashing out the details, but put together this teaser. Are you happy now, brain? Are you? Good. (Stupid brain.)


Renegade Muse

Yes, it’s October. It’s the season of Halloween and spooky, horror-themed… well, everything. But aside from Ghost Punchers (coming soon!), I wasn’t planning on doing anything to celebrate the creepiest month here on the blog. That is, until my muse went rogue. “You should make a quick horror game,” she whispered as I woke up…


Surprise!

An often overlooked tool in the metaphorical game design tool box is the element of surprise. After all, most people like positive surprises (“You get a car! And you get a car!”), and even negative surprises can keep things interesting (“You get a tax audit! And you get a tax audit!”) — and in games,…


The Big Payoff

As the days get shorter, the air turns colder, and natural generally transitions into “contemplate your own mortality” mode, I find myself avoiding thoughts of the grave by focusing on something cheerful, like tabletop game design! Today, for instance, I’m having some thoughts on the concept of “payoff” and I’d like to share them with…