Kobold Guide to Board Game Design by Mike Selinker

NOTES (*Incomplete* - I continue reading.)

Part 1 - Concepting: What games to make, who will play them and what impressions we will leave them with.

A compelling game mechanic only makes sense in context. Transplant that mechanic into another game, and there is no guarantee that it will work.

"When a game-maker does his job correctly, most of the moving parts are invisible, even when you break open the case." (page 3)

We have 2 brains, the child brain and the adult brain. The child brain is fun (eager, trusting, everything is magical and new), but he lacks discipline. Adult brain is the critic, the boring one. When you are to come up with a new idea (in the brainstorming phase), your adult brain needs to shut up. After the child is done, then the adult brain comes in and critical thinking enters in the process.

Games need to have engagement = reason to play.

~Players cannot explain why a game is engaging. Probably they do not know the hidden meaning: 'Because I feel smart.', 'Because I like watching my friends embarrass themselves.'

Play more games and observe what people like/dislike about them. Why some of them work why some of them don't work...

Beginning designers often over-innovate. Too much innovation makes the game hard to learn.

~ Every single departure from the norm is worth the player's time to learn.

~ If the designer does not know the standard, then cannot determine if it is with the cost to the player.

"...the best way of understand a game"s pacing is to think about how the player experiences gameplay as the story of what he did." (page 11)

First act: helps new players understand how the rules of the game work, so that they approach the second act with confidence.

The players will directly oppose each other in their second act struggles.

Third act: A player's success and failures in the second act should obviously be the massive determining factor on the victory.