Game Prototyping


And Now, the Robots

As I left the grocery store, a mousey woman stopped me. Her three children wriggled around and climbed her legs like kittens. She ignored their antics as she fixed her gaze on me. “What’s new with the game?” she asked. “You know. The one with the robots? Dropping?” “Ah,” I said. “I see what’s happening…

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Robots Dropped, Rules Changed

I finally fought my way free of the Sarlacc pit long enough to do some playtesting on that Robot Drop game I keep muttering on about. And, as I suspected, the game as written was as dull as a butter knife sealed in rubber and wrapped in bubble wrap. The biggest problems were these: When…

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Dropping by Design

Last week I casually brought up that I was working on a new game, and rambled on like a senile old man about its components. (“Back in my day, we didn’t have numbers on game pieces. We had shapes like triangles and birds’ feet, and you just had to count ’em!”) Today I’d like to…

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In Defense of Default

I’m working on a new game. It’s called “Robot Drop” (for now) and, while you might think it sounds like a typical “dudes fighting on a board” game, it’s actually an exploration of temporal and tactical game play space using… dudes. On a board. Who are… um. Fighting. Okay, it’s not exactly smashing genre boundaries,…

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Spider Plan

Weeks ago, I promised to work up what the Spider Siege board game looks like from the perspective of the spider player. It’s got to be different from the human players, right? While those two-legged meatbags scurry across the board trying to gobble up resources like iron, food, and population in order to create and…

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The Cost of Killing Spiders – Part 2

“So we’re spending these ‘points’ of resources on units,” says my hypothetical reader, picking up the conversation from where it dropped earlier this week. “What does that get us? How many points is each type of unit worth?” It’s at this point I admit that early prototyping is as much art as science. Ideally, there’s…

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Behold the Board!

As I threatened earlier this week, I’ve actually put together a rough draft of the Spider Siege game board. And I do mean rough draft. Even as I was laying this thing out, I saw where some resources might be better off somewhere else, and realized the board needed another river or body of water….

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Doomed Faster

Last week I had the opportunity to playtest Doomed Colony two nights in row. I was pretty giddy at this turn of events because it let me note any issues from the first test, then immediately adjust the game to address them for the second. The first test was version 2.0 (described here) and it…

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Doomed Update

You know why I’m such a big proponent of taking notes during board game playtests? The biggest reason is that there are always a few days, weeks, or even months between me saying “Oh, right, I should totally change that” and actually having time to make that change. If my notes are poor or lacking,…

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1d6 Game Design Tips

I like to throw out bits of game design wisdom when I can. It’s usually stuff that I’ve picked up through study, painful experience, or months-long sessions of meditation and dream-questing on remote mountaintops. I wouldn’t claim to be a True Ascended Master of game design (my dream-quests only last 20 minutes, tops), but I’ve…

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