June 19, 2012

The Choices We Make

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The title of this blog post is “The Choices We Make.” This statement is intended to explore two intertwined manifestations of the statement. First are the choices game designer’s make in how they sculpt a game to meet (and hopefully exceed) their intended goals for their design. Second are the choices players make during the game and how those choices are shaped by the game’s design.

More specifically, I want to talk about different scoring mechanisms/systems employed in games and how the quest for the right scoring mechanism in my own game, Hegemonic (not again!), has slowly progressed. The impetus for writing this was sparked by a reading of this article on the blog “Illuminating Games.” I will cover some of the same territory, but also go into more detail.

June 18, 2012

An Armature for Critique

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Since writing this article (originally posted July 18, 2012) I've since written a few longer reviews of my own over at BGG, and we've also held the second Voice of Experience contest, again making the call for more thoughtful and critical reviews.  I continue to stand-by my thinking described in this post - although a Ludology GameTek podcast on the topic of Criticism did provide another frame of reference.  Geoff made a distinction between a "Review," which is oriented more towards directing potential buyers towards a buy / no-buy decision, and "Critical Analysis," which takes a more scholarly approach to discussing a game in-depth irrespective of any purchasing considerations.  It's a worthwhile distinction to keep in mind - and the post below is perhaps providing more of a framework for Critical Analysis (as is Voice of Experience) than Reviews.  Although I'd be happy to see more critical thought brought into all reviews as well! (June, 24, 2014)

I was fortunate to be asked to participate on the Voice of Experience (VoE) Review Contest by none other than Martin G (who organized the whole shindig). The VoE contest, among other things, generated some excellent reviews and follow up discussion, in keeping with the Cult of the Critical’s goals to raise the bar on game critique and discussion.

The VoE contest also provided me with a lot of reflection time. I’ve been wanting to write more reviews of my own, as the only official review I’ve written thus far is my tongue-in-cheek review of Antke and perhaps my designers “preview” of Hegemonic’s Decision Space. In addition to those deviations, I have been thinking a lot over the past year how I would want to write reviews, what the focus would be on, what elements would be discussed, etc. This blog post will present a coalescing of many of these thoughts.