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Queens Court development diary

posted 10 Oct 2014, 12:28 by Aaron Billingham

This Monday I learned to ask two questions: does the feel of the game you've designed match the theme you started with and do you need a piece for that?

I’d managed to get a working game together for this month’s designers meet – rather than just testing mechanics – and people gave me good constructive criticism and advice for moving it on. However, I couldn't help but notice something bigger: I’m trying to develop an easy-fun game that plays in under an hour but what I've currently got is heavier strategy, where people were deeply considering each move, considering each move in relation to their whole round’s set of moves even.

So, I have a game but it doesn't match my wanted theme… What to do, what to do? Easy: keep the ideas written down for another theme, another higher-strategy game, and simplify here for this game – always keeping an eye on previous lessons below of course: Perhaps this new idea is the one worth chasing and the original idea should be dropped…? In this case I’m going for the former, as I think there’s still a theme to capture and room to simplify, as ‘do I need a piece for that?’

I've currently got three cards that players choose from each round to show how they intend to move. I’m trying not to have a round-the-table turn order (because it doesn't suit my theme), going instead for a way of having everyone making their move choice at once and then revealing together by turning over their cards. I’d thought that this would make for a faster game, with everyone involved more of the time – less downtime at any given point. However, the simultaneous reveal just means that there needs to be a defined order for the players’ moves to resolve in and a way of resolving ties if any players pick the same card.

…But  again comes the idea of reversing the idea in the search for simplicity: If there needs to be a way of resolving turn order then really all I should have done is use that instead of a round-the-table turn order. Keeping it simple: I didn't need cards for the movement at all, as if I run the new turn order then the player movement choice could just be made at the point of their turn. As long as their move choice is quick, clean and simple the players turns won’t be too long… I hope.

Edinburgh games designers meet (BoardGameGeek): http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1122966/playtest-group.

 - - -  Aaron - - -

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