Robot Invasion

It will be a surprise to absolutely no one that technology is slowly creeping into the world of tabletop games, just as it has in every other facet of life. What might actually be surprising is how slowly the creep is. Especially considering the wild success of mobile games and the ubiquity of smart phones, […]

Component Considerations

How do publishers decide which components to use for a game? These days, the possibilities are almost limitless, with many factories having a huge range of in-house products and the ability to outsource for unusual components when necessary. With such an enormous blank slate, how do you even start deciding which components will work for […]

The Tabletop Golden Age

One of my patrons recently asked about the board game golden age we’re currently going through. Things certainly seem rosy at the moment. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of new games released every year, and perhaps even more importantly, the quality of games has gone up immensely since the days of Monopoly and The […]

Teaching Games, Old and New

It wasn’t long ago that every digital game came with its own manual, just like board games do today. An excited new game owner would pour over the manual, learning how to play the game before ever putting it in a computer or console. It was an expected part of the whole video game experience. […]

The Price is Wrong

Publishing Corporate America was a big learning experience for me. I had previously designed games, and I’d even released digital games, but I had never handled so much of the responsibility myself. Manufacturing, shipping, distribution, marketing–frequently, I was in over my head, so it’s not surprising that I made mistakes. Today, I want to talk […]

The Holy Grail of Simultaneous Action

Young game designers quickly learn the importance of engagement. Basically, a player is engaged when he or she feels like a part of the game. An engaging game will make a player forget his or her real world problems. It will completely capture its players’ attention. In the early 21st century, a good indication that […]

Board Game Design Basics: Playtest! Part II

Last time on Board Game Design Basics, I gave a theoretical justification of playtesting and discussed some of the types of playtests you’ll be running over the course of developing your game. Today I’ll pick up where I left off, getting to more practical matters like who should playtest and how to make use of […]

Board Game Design Basics: Playtest! Part I

As a game designer, you’ll probably spend more of your time playtesting than doing anything else. Awesome! What’s more fun than playing games all the time? While playtesting your game should be fun (why would you want to be a designer if you didn’t enjoy playing games?), you can’t forget that you’re working, so it’s […]

Board Game Design Basics: Engage

Alright, your latest design is a masterpiece. On each player’s turn, that player first allocates workers, then collects resources, then builds units and buildings, then advances on the tech tree, then secretly declares attacks against other players, then rolls to determine battle outcomes, then moves military units to conquered territories, then allocates experience points to […]

Board Game Design Basics: It’s about Time

I know what you’re thinking. You’re going to have three boards. One will contain the map of the world. This is where you’ll place your armies. One will have a detailed economic simulation. The last one will contain all the random information necessary for the game, like the weather simulation and the relative power of […]