On Game Design

Temple Dash at Gen Con 2016

Posted by in Game Design

I’m excited to announce that in addition to speaking at Gen Con this year, I’ll also be bringing the prototype version of my first board game “Temple Dash” (working title) to the Gen Con 2016 First Exposure Hall. Temple Dash is an improvisational storytelling board game for 4 players. As you play, your surroundings will change, ghostly figures will appear then vanish into the mists, and friendly faces will become deadly foes. You must overcome these mysterious trials using only your pack of junk and your quick wits! Want to know…read more

Can I Borrow A Feeling?

Posted by in Game Design

A few months ago I listened to an episode of The Game Design Roundtable that focused on the theme vs. mechanics debate. I recommend listening to it as I’ll reference it a decent amount below. I’ve been thinking about the discussion and trying to put my finger on why it continues to bother me. Here’s the problem: I think the Theme vs. Mechanics discussion is fallacious. I believe it’s missing an incredibly important third piece that changes the relationship between the two: Feeling. I strongly believe that a game designer’s…read more

Lessons kids have taught me

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For nine years I taught a Youth Theatre Workshop as a summer job in Bermuda with a very good friend of mine, Daniel Frith. I was eventually lucky enough to get a job designing games aimed at a similar age-group and my experience translated pretty well. In this article, I’ve collected some of the things I learned working with kids, including some of my experiences designing educational games. Okay, here we go. Kids are smart. Seriously. Starting with a strong one here. In fact, if you don’t have time to…read more

Elegance & Engagement

Posted by in Game Design

Extra Credits recently aired a great episode about depth and complexity in games. If you haven’t watched it yet, go do so. At the end of the video, the host made the statement that most designers hold elegance in design up as the Holy Grail of their craft (mostly true) when they should instead focus on player engagement. In this article, I hope to explain why these two concepts are in reality one and the same. I believe that elegance supports and protects the engagement level of the game. I argue that elegant…read more

Mechanical Dissonance and setting player expectations

Posted by in Game Design

One of the most important parts of a game designer’s job is to help the player understand exactly what the game expects them to do. To properly enact their will upon the game through its mechanics, the player has to know what goal they are trying to achieve and how. If your mechanics are giving opposing messages to the player, it can lead to a lot of confusion and unsatisfying feedback. No one wants to feel like they’re playing a game wrong. I’ve been playing a decent amount of Hitman:…read more