Great game designers here Great game designers here

I just spent a good chunk of my weekend at SkyCon. While other people in the industry are off at Spiel or C4 or PAX Aus, I was chumming around in a local con that can’t compete with those ones on size. That’s okay – good, even. I was able to spend more time with some awesome people, to hear amazing stories about people’s run-ins with famous people before they were famous, to see board games that are pretty likely to become giant successes, and met some of the most passionate people out there.

There’s some overlap between those categories.

Regardless – it was a good con. I was there representing Lynnvander Studios and GenreCon, helping spread the word about the projects we’re working on, the awesome things we have in the works, and more. That’s the same old hustle of things.

When I’m at cons, or really most times that I’m surrounded by other creative people, I have an urge, an itch, to just sit down and work. People tend to inspire me, and that’s a big reason that the first full-length book I wrote had whole swaths written while in the back of a bar where friends were playing pool.

I got to spend some amazing time talking to other game designers about their ideas, about how to price games and build them, how to tell stories, how to do all sorts of other creative things. I got to help price out a game and brainstorm ways to make it cheaper while still feeling like the awesome game it is. That kind of thing gets me excited – I’ve written before about how the best creative endeavours are often in part realized by their constraints, and I think that this may be the case here.

I wanted to talk, specifically, about one of the decisions that we were making. In the version we had priced out (not my project, again, I’m just a helper) the armies were all represented in small wooden tokens. This was important for manifesting things like army formations, etc. One of the ways to really reduce costs on the game would be to turn all those into punchboard instead.

Mechanically – it wouldn’t change the game one iota. I think there’s more to it than that though. We did some ad hoc polling and everyone agreed that it wouldn’t “feel” as good. Wooden tokens, I suspect, in part evoke that scene we’ve all seen in movies where generals move small pieces of wood around a map to represent real troop movements.

Feel is incredibly important to a game, and that experience was a great one – stumbling across a way to print the game for MUCH cheaper, but losing something important in the process.

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