Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cards & Dice and Game Design

I’ve been making games for most of my life. A lot of them have been on the computer, and designing games for the computer has its advantages, like the ability to automate things, and handle large amounts of complexity and simulation. It also has its disadvantages, like it’s too easy to make things overly complex, and veer away from simple and elegant styles which are the heart of good game design. Also, you need a computer to play, so it has particular monetary and space requirements, especially for many people to play together. And playing on the computer, even with other people, isn’t as socially rewarding, at least not for me, as playing a game with people in real life.

I decided to invent some card and dice games in order to show what I do as a designer to a wider audience, and also to challenge myself to make games that had to be elegant and fit into stricter design constraints than computer games do. In some ways I think it is easier to make a decent complex game than it is to make a good simple game. With simple games, if you don’t get the rules and design right, the game usually obviously doesn’t work, and you have to go fix your core problems. With complex games, it can be trickier to detect and fix, but you also have more options for addressing it, such as inventing new systems and rules (or simulations or whatever on the computer). So making a good simple game forces you to get things right, which is a good challenge.

I have played all the card and dice games on my website in this book, for a total of hundreds of hours. They have been really fun to create and share with people. I hope that you get a chance to enjoy playing them.

Get the newly released book containing 7 original card and dice games at Lulu.com

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