Game Design

Fuzzy Thinking: Gaming Truism #12

RPGNet - 5 March 2018 - 12:00am
There\'s always someone who lacks source material knowledge.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: It's Perfect, It's Water, It's Wine

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 4 March 2018 - 5:57pm

This week's article & video highlights include Bennett Foddy on the pitfalls of perfectionism, a piquant analysis of Where The Water Tastes Like Wine, and lots more besides. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Review Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 4 March 2018 - 6:04am
You ever have one of those days where you wake up, get going with doing things, then look at the clock and are like, “Whoah! It’s already 7pm!! How’d that happen!?!” Yeah, that was my yesterday. I woke the same as any other day except a voice was in my head… Ok, no voices in […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: It's Perfect, It's Water, It's Wine - by Simon Carless Blogs - 4 March 2018 - 5:50am
This week's article & video highlights include Bennett Foddy on the pitfalls of perfectionism, a piquant analysis of Where The Water Tastes Like Wine, and lots more besides.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Firestorm: Stripes Event For Team Yankee Happening Now

Tabletop Gaming News - 2 March 2018 - 3:00pm
Battlefront has launched the second of their worldwide campaigns for Team Yankee. This one is called Firestorm: Stripes. The Russians have attacked into the central plains of Europe. Will the forces of NATO be able to push them back, or will these new locations stay under Soviet control? That’s up to you to decide as […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

IELLO Fairy Tile Contest Happening Now

Tabletop Gaming News - 2 March 2018 - 2:00pm
Who doesn’t love getting new games for free? Nobody (at least, I assume anyone reading this would be excited to get free games). Well, if you’d like a free copy of Fairy Tile from IELLO, you’ve just got a couple days to put your name in the hat. They’re giving out 3 copies and you […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Wyrd Previews Devouring Eel For The Other Side

Tabletop Gaming News - 2 March 2018 - 1:30pm
Today for lunch, they brought in Moe’s. As it was free food, we all kinda dove onto it and went to town like mad. You’d think we’d not eaten in years! I think we were all Devouring Eels. Good thing that’s what we get a preview of here in Wyrd’s regular look at the upcoming […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Polish Army Releases For Bolt Action Available

Tabletop Gaming News - 2 March 2018 - 1:00pm
The Polish had quite a rough time during WWII. They were the first targeted by Hitler’s Blitzkrieg. And, despite their best efforts, were no match for the German war machine. That’s not to say that they didn’t put up a good effort. Warlord Games has added new Polish forces for Bolt Action to their website, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

River Horse Previews Saber Athena For Pacific Rim: Extinction

Tabletop Gaming News - 2 March 2018 - 12:00pm
There was more than one Jaeger that went up to fight against the Kaiju that were finding their way into our world. Saber Athena was one of them. I mean… it’s a giant robot with a huge-ass sword, specializing in close-combat work. So you know I’m on board. Check out this preview for the upcoming […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Friday Snippets

Tabletop Gaming News - 2 March 2018 - 11:00am
Fridaaaaaaaaaay! Man, this week really did go by fast, at least for me. That’s certainly not a complaint, mind you. I’m always happy for the weekend. And, my dice came in. Though I’m not 100% sure what I’ve got on the schedule. I might go out and play some board games. I might stay in […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

TGN Review: Kraken Dice Iconic Blue Set

Tabletop Gaming News - 2 March 2018 - 10:00am
I don’t collect a lot of things. My board game collection is actually rather small. I only play 2 minis games, and the amount of each is relatively tiny. But when it comes to dice? … Well, I have a saying, “No such thing as too many dice.” I love these little jewels. I’ve got […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

At GDC, see how Friday the 13th: The Game was tuned for asymmetrical multiplayer

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 2 March 2018 - 9:15am

At GDC 2018 the director will reveal how the team worked to make a Jason player feel overpowered, and the large team of counselors feel very under-powered, while still having the experience feel fair. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Plaid Hat Announces Release Date for Crystal Clans

Tabletop Gaming News - 2 March 2018 - 9:00am
Crystal Clans is Plaid Hat Games’ upcoming strategic card game. It will put players in control of their own forces as they look to battle against their opponents, with the goal to be controlling the powerful crystals that grant immense power to those that wield them. Many of you have been waiting for this game […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Privateer Press Previews Slaughter Fleet Raiders Theme Force Box

Tabletop Gaming News - 2 March 2018 - 8:00am
It’s always nice when you can just make a single purchase and get a whole force in one go. Privateer Press is doing that with their theme force boxes. The next one to come out, which will be available on the 9th, is the Slaughter Fleet Raiders box. If you’re a fan of the blighted […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Arthurian Releases Available For Hail Caesar From Warlord Games

Tabletop Gaming News - 2 March 2018 - 7:00am
Warlord Games takes us back to the mythical time of King Arthur with another batch of releases for Hail Caesar. These new sets help you fill out your forces, with various unarmoured Saxons, as well as Royal Anglican Huscarls. So whether you want just your common soldier, or some with well-main chain and better weapons, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Leaving CDProjekt RED, a first step in the dark (Part 4) - by Ryan Pergent Blogs - 2 March 2018 - 6:33am
The conclusion of a 4 parts series about my time at CDProjekt and how I came to leave to build my own startup.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Making your game run as smooth as butter on the iPad Pro. - by Bram Stolk Blogs - 2 March 2018 - 6:32am
Apple's latest generation iPad Pro devices have been available for some time now. They come with what Apple calls ProMotion technology. But really, it's just what game developers call 120Hz display refresh. Once implemented, games run ever so smooth.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

The Soundscape of Suara: An Audio-Reactive Action Game - by Greg Dixon Blogs - 2 March 2018 - 6:31am
This article focuses on the unique technical and aesthetic challenges involved in making our audio-reactive action game, Suara. Sound and music played a critical role in the overall design of the game as gameplay reacts dynamically to the game's score.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Legio Custodes Model and Bits Available From Forge World

Tabletop Gaming News - 2 March 2018 - 6:00am
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Space Janitors have the coolest gear. Forge World is taking more orders for some Legio Custodes bits, as well as the Shield Captain. You’ve gotta have people in charge of the group, or you might end up mopping up something someone else already did, and that’s […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Love Your Players, Love Yourself

Gnome Stew - 2 March 2018 - 5:00am

gay love too <3

The night was cold, the fireplace was roaring, and we were gnawing on the delicious ratatouille and fresh baked bread our host Leslie had made. We warded off the three adorable pups as we idly chatted and a few people lazily looked over the Monsterhearts skins.  It finally happened, my lady and genderqueer friends convinced me to run them a Monsterhearts campaign. I’ve run this game about a billion times for friends and at game conventions and I’m even (abashedly) in a link on the Monsterhearts site that leads to a youtube game I ran a few years ago. So its easy for me to run it, even a few wines in. This time though, I wanted to try something a little different than my usual fare, since it was potentially a campaign instead of a one-shot. It turned out really successful! Here’s what I did.

Prep Work

I did some real basic prep work, cause I don’t like doing prep work. I’m an adult – ain’t nobody got time to stat NPCs. Just in general I’m also not a fan of “lonely fun”, basically spending time on my own with game stuff (unless it’s design, then I’m all in). The fun in game play, for me, is the collaborative stuff. To prep for this game of Monsterhearts, I made a series of lists I was going to share with my friends when we got together. I made lists loosely named “Inspirations”,”What I want to see”, and “Locations”. So kinda like this:


  • Suspiria: ballet school? something trippy
  • Ouran Host Club: all the characters are part of a school club?
  • Hemlock Grove: good trash, small town-ish

What I Want to See

  • dopplegangers, demons, people talking backwards, vampires, evil mermaids, scary cell phones, drugs, etc…


  • rooftops, pool, graveyard, ghost towns, bathrooms, lake, forest, cornfield, tunnel, etc…
Player Collaboration

I brought this list to game night with a general idea of the order of how I wanted to do things. Propose the inspirations first, then do character creation with everyone, then go through the “What I want to see” and “Locations” sections with everyone, then build some villains, then play a few intro scenes! Everyone loved the idea of the ballet school so we went with it, although we did consider just a normal dance school for a little while. Another player, C, even added a few more inspirational media to ballet list: Black Swan, Center Stage, and First Position.

This collaborative discussion of “I want this in the game” and also “I think I’d like to see it this way instead” and “can we maybe add this too?” are not only essential for MY fun, but essential to allowing creative input to the game we’re all about to play. The more people have input into what they’re about to do, the more agency they have, and the more agency people have, the more likely they feel the game belongs to them too!

The GM is a Player Too

This note is super important. REMEMBER, THE GM IS A PLAYER TOO. Definitely highlight the players and try to create as much fun for them as possible, but if you’re the GM, don’t forget your own fun. You’re playing this game too! Make sure to include things that are fun for you, or even ask for your own fun, or x-card out things you don’t want in the game as well. Don’t go too far on the servant side or too far on the dictator side of GMing… find somewhere more along the lines of collaborator. I find that when I conceptualize myself as a player having fun too, I more easily scale how much work I’m willing/able to do for the game and players. If I’m having fun, I usually have more creative energy! I find that when I conceptualize myself as a player having fun too, I more easily scale how much work I’m willing/able to do for the game and players. If I’m having fun, I usually have more creative energy! 

Being Transparent

There’s a few things I do to maintain a level of transparency with the group. I find that when I lay out my agenda for the evening people are more prepared mentally for what’s about to go down. They’ll know, ok, we’re going to do character creation next, and I can take a break after themes and locations, and can ask “oh I can only stay this long can we fit all that in by ten”? Additionally, they know I’m organized cause I’ve thought what order everything should go in! Trust and efficiency go up among everyone.

I’m also real transparent with my goals for the game! I share most of my ideas, like “I want vampires cause they’re awesome and scary and I’m vampire trash!” so it’s totally clear what my agenda is and nobody needs to guess. Then, when I’m running the game, I can decide when, where, and how to place those vampires, but everyone knows there’s vampires coming. It creates a fun sense of anticipation, while also being clear that nothing untoward is coming that someone wasn’t expecting. It also allows me to still be creative and free-form, adding the vampires where I like! Maybe they’re the villains, but oh wait, we have a werewolf character now, and everyone knows how werewolves and vampires feel about each other.

Checking-In About Content

After character creation, I shared the lists of “What I want to see” and “locations” with everyone, so that we were able as a group to determine what’s cool, what we all want, and what we’d rather leave out. These were ideas I kinda whipped out as a starting point. I can, as the GM, say where I’d like to start, and then the players can add or delete some of my ideas. So I’m kinda providing a rough draft of the game, like, “how do you like the way this looks”, and then the players can tweak and give me feedback on those ideas.

I, for example, am hilariously terrified of dolls and clowns. Sometimes I like being scared by them! But most of the time I’d just rather not engage. So I vetoed those in our game. Some of the other players decided to veto cornfields cause we wanted a forest, and other things in the setting because we decided we’d like it to be on a mountaintop. So with these lists established, I easily checked-in with my players about the kind of content they were comfortable with, and also what else they’d like to see added. Someone added a field of beautiful flowers, for example, and it wasn’t on my list.


So it worked out really well! We played a few scenes, and we all had these lists to pull inspiration from if we needed a location, or if I needed inspiration for a GM move. Although we totally forgot to create villains, but we’ll be doing that next session. Collaboratively creating villains is so fun, everyone basically has input into what they want to be up against in the game fiction. Super fun. Do you use lists like this in your game prep as well? What ways do you work toward group consent of content in your games?

Categories: Game Theory & Design


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