It’s worth watching. This is for video game design but the concepts are applicable with pen and paper design as well. This is also the core method I’m using for examining classes.

Coming soon is Fighters. So stay tuned.

To continue discussing the importance of the fantasy in D&D’s design, I’m going to focus on the classes and their impact both in the game and the world the game exists in. Part of the joy and draw of roleplaying games, especially pen and paper roleplaying games, is the theoretical depth of the world they exist in. There’s a living, breathing world behind the heroes’ actions. Since there is a living, breathing world, though, there has to be a place for the heroes’ skills, abilities, and histories in that world. They cannot be entirely divorced from the capabilities of the people around them, and they must represent their power in the story in the mechanics of the game (as the mechanics represent the “physics” of a world, in a way).

Unfortunately, Dungeons and Dragons has always failed on this measure in one way or another. Fifth Edition represents the biggest failure in this fashion.

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It’s time to shake off my cobwebs and get down to work again. Touche isn’t really going anywhere and I think I’ll talk about another project that’s a lot easier to analyze and dig into. Which is odd since it’s much, much more complicated.

See, I’ve been playing pen and paper RPGs since I was a child. I’ve always been emotionally invested in the opportunity to be someone else – a powerful wizard, a swashbuckling pirate, a fanatical defender of my people, a mad scientist, a humble priest. I’ve been drawn toward all sorts of gaming systems over the years, from the AD&D I started with to the classic World of Darkness that got me into online communities to the new wave of story-oriented systems like FATE and Dungeon World.

Dungeons and Dragons, though, will probably always be special. Besides being my first taste at fantasy roleplaying, it also forms the basis of several of the video games many people love – Icewind Dale, Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Neverwinter, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, The Temple of Elemental Evil, Eye of the Beholder…the list is long and has its own storied history.

I’ve kept up with the edition changes over the years, griping about the things I thought were a problem but mostly seeing the games move forward toward better play and a better understanding of the “D&D Fantasy”, the game’s own unique spin on the high fantasy of Tolkien and Morcock. That is, until 5th edition.

Fifth Edition D&D shoots itself in the foot, so I’m rewriting it.

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A Return to Resources

June 22, 2016

Hey everyone! Sorry I’ve missed a post this week, it’s been far, far too hot. Today, though, we’re gonna examine another important aspect of game design in card-based games and continue to look at Touché!

We’ve skimmed the top of what decks are and how deck building works. Before we can build on how deck building functions in any game, though, we have to look at the ecosystem that decks exist in. Or, to be less cryptic, we need to look at how a turn operates and the kinds of cards that are important in play. Since Touché! is a simple game, it’s a lot easier to see how turn order is important.

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The Burden

June 19, 2016

There’s a way the wind howls over the rocky plains of the world that sounds like the resigned sighs of a soldier sent to die.

It wasn’t exactly a plain, but it wasn’t exactly hilly. It was desolate and rocky, though, and covered in scrub and withered trees. Memories of towers seemed to over at the edges of the horizon, places where the mountains had been shorn away and foundations laid long before the towers fell. A lone figure walked through this wasteland, a single flicker of life pushing against the unceasing wind. Streaming from his back was a majestic fire, standing in grim judgement over the landscape that refused to know light or life.

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Designing Deck Devices

June 15, 2016

So we started to look at decks in general on Monday. Today we’re going to keep going in that direction by examining the work I’m doing working on deck structures for a game I’ve been kicking around for a while. What matters when putting together deck design templates? What does a designer want to look for when putting together rules for a deck-oriented game? How do decks work?

Well, I can’t answer all of these questions. I can’t answer many more that are relevant. But I can examine design from a designer’s perspective on a game that I think would be fun to play. So let’s talk about what it’s like to be a fencer in a large, wide-ranging tournament.

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This is the first in a series of posts I’m going to write about concepts in game design. This isn’t just going to be about any particular kind of game, either – this week it’s card games, whether digital or paper, but future weeks will explore video games, board games, roleplaying games, and possibly even children’s games. As I said last week, games to me represent a very important element of the human experience. They teach empathy, problem solving, resource management, and extensive planning among other things.

So today, we’re talking about deck building. Not just in the concept of something like Hearthstone or Magic the Gathering where you’re attempting to construct a winning deck before a game is even played but also games where deck construction is a part of the process, like Dominion, Ascension, limited environment Magic the Gathering, Hearthstone’s Arena, and games like Hand of Fate and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (the original release on the Game Boy Advance, not the remastered versions released on Playstation platforms later). Deck building is a great mechanism for teaching planning through interactions in the rules, statistical modeling, and resource allocation in an intuitive manner.

So lets get down to exploring why.

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