Category: Game Making

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Design Flow : Conveying Table Culture

“What is your game about?” Your first reaction, the most obvious one, is to talk about the setting of the game—the elevator pitch. Hydro Hackers has an elevator pitch that I think does a pretty good job answering that question (see the end of the article). Let’s go one level deeper, and we can ask...

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Design Flow: UI and Neighbors

For the past few months, I have been wrestling with this small but annoying problem in the Hydro Hacker playbooks. It is a section of the playbook that defines your relationships with the other players. When I run this at conventions or in playtest groups, players always fill the section out...

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Making a Thing: Being Visible as a Creator

If you write, draw, paint, sculpt, build, or do any kind of creative work, there has probably come a point where you’ve made something and have decided to show it to a close friend. Someone you trust. Someone safe. “This is great!” they say. “You should share it!”...

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Design Flow: Gear

The last new chapter of Hydro Hackers that I wrote was about Gear. It is the last thing I designed for the game. After this, I will be just adding text and mechanics to all the existing chapters of the game. Gear was a tough thing for me to wrap my head around. I knew I wanted gear in the game,...

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Making a Thing: Prioritizing What Matters

Have you ever been working on something, anything, and you get a brilliant flash of insight? Something hits you, out of the blue, and your mind starts racing. You’ve got ideas, plans, you know just how to implement everything . . . . . . and it has nothing at all to do with what you’re...

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Design Flow: Campaign Playtesting

One of the great joys and challenges of game design is playtesting. On one hand, seeing your creation doing what it is supposed to—and people enjoying it—is incredibly uplifting. On the other hand, watching your perfect mechanic break under play can be heartbreaking. Despite the emotional roller...

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