Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Critical Analysis of Board Game Design

So for the past two years, I've completely fallen in love with board games.  And there are plethora of voices out there with respect to reviewing and criticizing games.  However there are not many voices out there that attempt to critically analyze board game design.  Which is one of the more fascinating aspects of any game design.  Because every decision you make as the designer will have a very real impact on how the players experience your game.  And I find the reasoning, or lack there of, that went into various design decisions fascinating.  I also enjoy really thinking about how boardgames and people interact in terms of an ordered system, and an active agent that must navigate it.

So this blog will be all about the games I play, and how the design decisions effect the experience from a variety of angles.  Common angles will include how friendly it is to new players?  How easy it is to make mistakes in the game?  How much time is spent making decisions as opposed to overhead invested in updating the state of the game?  Are the decisions obviously good or obviously bad?  Are the decisions so bland as to all be about the same?  Does the game reward long term planning, short term planning, or is it so completely random as to not reward planning at all?

Obviously I have my own preference with respect to many of these questions, and as my criticism of games grows in sophistication, I will likely discover many more important questions.

The first game that I will be critically analyzing is Commands & Colors: Ancients.

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