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Gaming Thoughts

Games of 2016: Pandemic Legacy

Pandemic Legacy Zman Games 2015
It’s the end of the year! And that means it’s time to talk about end of year assessments of the most important piece of culture: GAMES! I might come back to this, so I’m not going to cap myself at “TOP 5” anything. But I might not come back to this, so I’m going to start off at the top. I want to talk about one of the most important board games for my 2016: Pandemic Legacy. In particular, I wan...
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Bluebeard’s Bride: Behind the Curtain

Here is a glimpse behind the curtain of how one of the ring moves for Bluebeard’s Bride was developed. I will explain my thought process when my fellow designers and I took the functioning version of dirty yourself with violence and reshaped it into a version that encompasses everything the game really demanded from it.   Dirty yourself with violence is triggered when a player with the ring res...
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Enjoyment vs Experience: The Dark Souls Dilemma

Enjoyment vs Experience
Dark Souls 3 came out recently, spurring much writing on it and the Dark Souls series. In particular, this pair of articles, one from Adam Smith of Rock Paper Shotgun, one from Rob Fearon on his blog We Make The Cops Look Dumb, spoke to me. Adam Smith argues that Dark Souls, at its design core, shouldn’t have a mode designed to make the game easier: “The difficulty isn’t an elitist exclusionary ch...
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The Impossible Trinity: Actor, Audience, Author

Impossible Trinity
One of my favorite concepts in economics is the impossible trinity, a macroeconomic framework that explains why monetary policy can’t do everything it wants to do all at the same time. Monetary policy design is hard, and I love that “the trillema” reminds us that we can’t always get what we want, even if we get to set monetary policy for a whole country. Lately, I’ve been thinking about an impo...
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Picking the Right GM Move in PbtA: Part Two

Picking the Right GM Move in PbtA Part 2
You can read part 1 here. Navigating the Territory In the first post of this series, I talked a lot about harder moves and softer moves, how to make them, and what those terms mean. I argued that any move can be made harder or softer, and that there’s no quick and easy rule to figure out when exactly to make a harder or softer move—it’s the GM’s job to make that judgment call. I ended the piece ...
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