Game Design

Friday Snippets

Tabletop Gaming News - 9 February 2018 - 11:00am
Hello, Friday, my old friend. As usual, Friday’s one of my favorite days of the week, busy as it often is. But busy’s good. It’ll make the day go by quick and I can get to the weekend that much faster. Not 100% sure what I’ll get into this weekend. I think I want to […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Sonic the Hedgehog: Battle Racers Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 9 February 2018 - 10:00am
Anyone else got a sudden hunger for chilidogs? Extra onions? Just me? … Maybe that’s what I’ll have for lunch today. Meanwhile, in the world of fast creatures and rings, Shinobi 7 has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Sonic the Hedgehog: Battle Racers. Grab your favorite anthropomorphic furry critter, lace your shoes up tight, and […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Asmodee Acquires Mayfair Games

Tabletop Gaming News - 9 February 2018 - 9:44am
Add another one to Asmodee’s collection. Mayfair Games has announced that they’ve been acquired by the board game company, effectively immediately. From the announcement: As of today, the management team at Mayfair Games, Inc. announces we will wind down game publishing. After 36 years, this was not an easy decision or one we took lightly, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Sailor Moon Crystal Dice Challenge Combat Game Available To Pre-order

Tabletop Gaming News - 9 February 2018 - 9:00am
I have to admit, I know very little about Sailor Moon. My knowledge of anime pretty much starts and stops at Trigun and Cowboy Bebop. I do know, though, that it’s a popular series that many people out there love. Well, if you want to bring it to your tabletops, you’re in luck Dyskami Publishing […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New 40k and Necromunda Releases Available to Order From Forge World

Tabletop Gaming News - 9 February 2018 - 8:00am
Bit of a shotgun release week for Forge World. You’ve got a new Primarch in the form for Rogal Dorn. You’ve got some Legio Custodes characters and bits (space janitors have the coolest gear). Then there’s the Space Wolf terminators and bits. And, of course, new Hired Guns for Necromunda. Like I said, a bit […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Mobile Game Optimization Tools 2018 – Top 23 ASO Tools Reviewed - by Marcus Kay Blogs - 9 February 2018 - 7:16am
Which mobile game optimization tools are Right for You? When I started doing app store optimization (ASO), I was so overwhelmed by the numerous ASO tools available in the market. If you are looking for your best ASO tools, check out my reviews below.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Omens of the Pharaoh Is Now Available for Elder Sign

Tabletop Gaming News - 9 February 2018 - 7:00am
With all the troubles in the world today, we all know that the true evil is… Ancient Egypt! *Imperial March plays* At least, the minions of Nephren-Ka are evil, and they’re looking to bring the long-dead pharaoh back to life. You investigators will have to make sure that doesn’t happen. It’s what you’re tasked with […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Difficult Decisions In Your Game

Gnome Stew - 9 February 2018 - 6:07am

“You could wear the suit,” he said to me, in his most logical, persuasive voice, “and then she wouldn’t get hurt. I know you love her.”  If this were real life, it would be tragic, but since it’s a rousing game of Fiasco, it’s fun. I stared at him, speechless — do I don the suit that will inevitably catch me on fire, or watch the love of my life put it on instead, and hope that I can save her? My indecision becomes a decision, and I’m there to witness the consequences of my actions. If this were real life, it would be tragic, but since it’s a rousing game of Fiasco, it’s fun. I love having to make difficult decisions as a character, to see what I think they would do and weigh their past experiences and the narrative and make the most interesting choice. These kinds of decisions are key challenges for your players.

What Do I Mean By Difficult Decision?

Before we jump into how to think about decisions, let’s get a quick definition out there:

Decision: a conclusion or resolution reached after consideration. In psychology, decision-making is regarded as the cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several alternative possibilities.

Difficult: needing much effort or skill to accomplish, deal with, or understand.

So a difficult decision in a game is when you are presented with two or more possibilities whose outcomes are hard to weigh between — for instance, do you wear the flaming suit, or do you let your evil manager put it on the girl you’re in love with? Both outcomes are bad, but maybe if you’re not wearing the suit you can save her fast enough? Except what if you can’t get to her in time? Or, for a less Fiasco decision, do you hand the magical book of instant wish granting over to the evil cultists in exchange for the safety of the city you protect, or do you save the world at the possible cost of your home and loved ones?

 Fun from challenges is the fun of overcoming obstacles, and what is a difficult decision if not an emotional obstacle for us in game?  We game to fulfill many different needs. Sometimes it’s just fun, and sometimes it’s an exploration of ourselves, our world, and our society. If we talk about the kind of fun that difficult decisions are, I see them as one of the inherent challenges of RPGs (a reference to the 8 Types of Fun). Fun from challenges is the fun of overcoming obstacles, and what is a difficult decision if not an emotional obstacle for us in game? Full disclosure, I have a game in joint development right now called Turning Point that is an exploration of how humans make decisions. It is, at its core, the game of hard decision making. The challenge of a hard decision is one of the things that draws me to gaming.

Why Include Difficult Decisions In Your Game?
  • They add conflict and interest to your games, both internal to the players making a decision, and to the table as a whole. The choices they make will affect both their characters and their world as they go forward. They add depth to the characters, the world, and the narrative.
  • It’s a moment to make your PCs stop and think instead of just smash, smash, smash. When they are presented with no clear positive or negative outcome, they have to think, or possibly even look outside the box for more creative answers.
  • It’s safe to make hard decisions in games—it is pretend, after all, no matter how the outcome goes. In fact, sometimes it’s more fun if it goes badly, because our consequences are imaginary and can be left in the game. Real life doesn’t let us fail gracefully, but in an RPG, we can.
  • Your game table can be a safe place to explore moral dilemmas because again, the consequences are imaginary. Even so, we take the memory of making those decisions with us, and from a purely social standpoint, those experiences can help us when we come to decision points in our own lives.
How Do You Make a Decision Difficult?
  • Have clear stakes. When you present them with the problem or situation, lay out clearly what is at risk here. Will the hostage be killed if they make a wrong move? Will the priceless artifact they’ve been hunting for weeks tip in to the pool of lava if they don’t choose wisely?
  • Raise the stakes. Once you have clear stakes, or if the stakes are known, raise them. Hit them where they hurt—in the feels, in the wallet, whatever it is that motivates your players. Does their baby sister turn out to be the big bad? What happens if they take her out? What happens if they don’t?
  • Make no clear positive or negative course of action. Work in shades of gray. If that’s the PCs baby sister chanting on the pedestal while she plunges the sacrificial knife downwards, do they know if she’s possessed? What if they can save her? What if they can’t?

The most difficult decisions I’ve ever made are some of the best gaming memories I have. I always hope that I am making difficult decisions for my players too—these decisions also make truly interesting stories. What are some decisions you’ve presented your players with?


Categories: Game Theory & Design

Late Pledges Open Now For HATE

Tabletop Gaming News - 9 February 2018 - 6:00am
February is the month of love. But if you missed out on the HATE Kickstarter, it can also be the month of HATE. For those that didn’t join up with the Kickstarter and are just hating yourself for that (see what I did there?), you can still join in during the Late Pledge time and […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Dungeon Solitaire: Devil’s Playground Card Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 February 2018 - 3:00pm
Sometimes you find yourself the only gamer around. Maybe you’re at a doctor’s appointment, waiting to get in. Or you’re the first one at the LGS for the day. Or you’re waiting for everyone to show up for gaming night. Or you’ve just gotten home from work and nobody else is there and you wanna […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Page Quest: Season 1 Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 February 2018 - 2:00pm
You might think that playing an RPG requires a lot of space. You’ve gotta have a big table for your mat and room for everyone’s sheet and dice and all that, right? Wrong! A4 Quest requires only a little bit of space to play. Same with Page Quest: Mythical Artifacts (as they both use the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Twitch guidelines address harassment and sexual content

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 8 February 2018 - 1:56pm

In a blog published today, Twitch shared the new enhancements made to its community guidelines which include policies on anti-harassment, hateful conduct, and sexual content.  ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Ponyfinder – Blevik – City of Shapeshifters Now Available

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 February 2018 - 1:00pm
Blevik is a city dominated by doppelgangers. So, while it can be a nice place to visit, you’re never 100% sure who you might be interacting with. This new book for Ponyfinder (also Pathfinder and 5th Edition) gives you details of this strange city, along with new spells, traits, and other class options. You can […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fortnite hit 3.4M concurrent players last weekend

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 8 February 2018 - 12:14pm

The sever-crushing load of players was likely due to the rising popularity of the game's free-to-play, cross-platform Battle Royale game mode. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fields of Agincourt Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 February 2018 - 12:00pm
One of the most iconic battles in Western Civilization, Agincourt saw King Henry the V beat the French on the fields of Agincourt. Now, you can bring that moment of history to your tabletop in Fields of Agincourt, a tile-laying game of positioning, terrain, and the plague. The game is up on Kickstarter now. From […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Thursday Terrain Corner

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 February 2018 - 11:00am
It’s another Thursday. Still haven’t gotten a handle on Thursdays. But we’ll make it through to the weekend soon. Just gotta put our heads down and power through. It’s a quick Terrain Corner for you today. We’ve got: Resin Cast Mob Football Goals Up On Kickstarter Resin Cast Mob Football Goals Up On Kickstarter Digitally […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Munchkin Valentines Available From Steve Jackson Games

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 February 2018 - 10:00am
While you’re still waiting for the release of the Munchkin CCG, Steve Jackson Games has other Munchkin-themed products available. And since we’re just under a week away from Valentine’s Day, love is in the air with these sets. From the announcement: The day of love is coming soon, and we know you’ve prepared something lavish […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Shades Of Chaos Games Releases Outlands 2nd Edition

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 February 2018 - 9:00am
Games occasionally need a bit of tweaking. Try as the developers might, something might not work as intended, or things might just feel stale, or they come up with new ideas for better mechanics that don’t work within the current rules. As such, they revise things and we get a new edition. That’s what we’ve […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Planetopia Board Game Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 February 2018 - 8:00am
There are billions and billions of stars in the galaxy, and around them are billions and billions of planets. In Planetopia, you take on the role of one of those planets, newly-formed and ready to harbor life. But with all those planets available, you’ll have to work hard at attracting life to you. You might […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

USAopoly Announces Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time Board Game

Tabletop Gaming News - 8 February 2018 - 7:00am
I have to admit, I’ve read very few fiction books. They’re not really my thing. However, one I remember reading and enjoying was A Wrinkle in Time (actually, back in grade school, for a project, I even created a board game about it. So there’s your gaming tie-in). The book will soon be a movie. […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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