All posts by Greg

Victory Conditions

There are a variety of ways to win the artiste game, as each card has its own win condition. While there is always a manager who wins by catching the artiste and an artiste who wins by escaping, the other players could be up to anything. They could be trying to get a specific other player to win or to lose. They might be trying to make their suggestion influential or to make incorrect suggestions but have the artiste caught despite them. In today’s post I’d like to discuss different approaches to adding a variety of victory conditions to games.


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Analysing Social Deduction Games

Now that I’m a fair way in to developing a social deduction game I find myself trying to work out how to analyse social deduction game states. A competitive game should be winnable by either side, depending on their skilful choices and decision making, I want to get more into how social deduction games achieve this goal as a means to working out what to include in the people’s orchestra game.


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Tinkering with things that work

In last week’s playtesting two things were universally agreed:
(1) The ‘performance’ expansion is the best expansion as things stand.
(2) The ‘performance’ expansion does not live up to its potential and some of its cards do nothing.
This seems like an excellent time to start thinking about the ins and outs of tinkering with things that work, because sometimes if it ain’t broke it can still be made betterer.


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Signalling (art and titles)

Today we had a meeting with an artist and graphic designer who we may hire to work on the Artiste project. I’ve previously advocated placing a great deal of trust in artists – on the basis that there’s no sense in hiring an expert and then having a non-expert (i.e. me) telling them how to do their job. However in this case our prospective artist isn’t a gamer, so while I can trust her on the art, I need to be careful to indicate artistic and graphic elements that have specific meaning in the context of board games.


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Artiste June-July

I’m aware that the information that I’ve put out about the artiste game has been somewhat disjointed, so this week’s people’s project post will bring everything that’s happened over the past month and a half together to give a coherent account of what the game is, where it’s at and where it’s going. If you’ve been following the project closely then skip the second paragraph after the second image to get into things that are not being discussed for a second time.


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After another couple of playtesting it’s become apparent that the artiste game is the strongest by an order of magnitude. Whether I’m testing with gamers, musicians or just people who want an excuse to do something other than continue with their regular work for twenty minutes it’s consistently come out on top. We’re going to commit to making that game, so now I’m tasked with developing and balancing it as well as looking at ways to expand it, so I’d like to spend this weeks post talking about expansions.


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My parents were both gamers, pretty much as soon as we were able to handle it me and my sister were stripped of our copy of Monopoly (which I guess must still be gathering dust somewhere) and put on to gamers games. I remember getting blacklisted by a childminder’s service because we asked the minder if she wanted to play a game and devastated her with some 80s bookcase game with a million components, a 6 hour playtime and a rulebook sufficient to club a rhinoceros to death with.

Toshiba Digital Camera

Continue reading Simplification

Orchestra Stereotypes

In game design I often make concious efforts to avoid the use of stereotypes. Games are a form of media and a lot of harm is done in the world because various forms of media use their influence to reinforce stereotypes that cause people to treat each other badly. In theory they can be an excellent tool. People can learn rules more easily when they key into things that they already know. Also theme (the part of a game that describes what it represents in story terms rather than the mechanics and mathematics that determine how to play and win) is much stronger when it can anchor itself in familiar things within a players thoughts or memories. It has been my opinion that these advantages are nowhere near desirable enough to outweigh contributing to supporting the beliefs of individuals that condone pain, suffering and death on the grounds of gender, orientation or race. However today I’m working on a game that keys heavily into a very specific set of stereotypes and it is glorious.


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Meet the Games

There are 3 games in development for TPO and they’re all undergoing testing to determine which will new card game will be produced. They’ve each had only a handful of playtests and so are still very alpha, one may be replaced entirely even before the final decision of which to keep, but I’ll introduce them here regardless so that you have some clue what I’m talking about when I refer to them in future weeks. So, contestant #1…


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