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Balancing Games - Completion Time

I wrote a piece a few weeks ago about balancing games for movement. This time I want to focus on completion time. Let me tell you; there is nothing more humiliating than a bunch of people who have set aside time to play test your board game that you said would only take an hour, then witnessing as they casually check their watch now that your game is taking way longer than it should! This happened to me numerous times. When a game designer (me) feels the need to shut down playing his own game because he/she can sense people are getting bored and checking out, you know you have a GIANT red flag. I mentioned this before, but it's absolutely critical that you nail down your game time. Bottom li

Curbing Instant Gratification

I don't know about you, but I sometimes could use a break from the instant yet temporary satisfaction we get in life. Sure, it's nice to have modern conveniences, don't get me wrong. Having info and answers promptly available is wonderful most of the time. But there are just certain things that will not come instantly, no matter how hard we try to force it. Some of those things may include, relationships, game design, saving money, game design, finishing that important project, and even game design! Did I mention game design? When I first started working on Pandemonium Estate back in 2012, I worked on the game for only about six months before deciding that it was a good idea to launch on Kic

Bearing the Brunt of Criticism: Play Testing Your Game

I started play testing Pandemonium Estate long before it was even ready to be play tested. I was eager to play because thought I nailed the mechanics of the game on my first try. I had a group of my good friends play the game which, at the time, was very roughly cut out from white board and used paper cards. No shame there, all games start somewhere. I remember how excited I was after the play test, but I couldn't have been further from completion. Once I wasn't playing the game with my understanding and forgiving group of friends, I started taking it to various game stores to be tested by strangers. That's where things got tough. At this point, I had only been working on the game for about

Balancing Games - Movement Styles

As a game designer, I think it's important to at least play other games. For a while I didn't want the influence of other games to impact how I designed games, but you can learn a lot just from playing other games and familiarizing yourself with common concepts. Not only tips and tricks for making your game more relevant, but also, at times, learning what not to do. In the early stages of play testing Pandemonium Estate, one of the reoccurring flaws was that the game just went on far too long. Too long to the point that we would have to stop playing nearly 3 hours in because people were just exhausted and wanted it to end! Not only was this embarrassing, but it was actually a huge eye-open