Problems to think about in CCGs – Part 1 : Variance

In a previous article I wrote that if we’re going to make progress in design we must think more like critics and less like fans. That means a certain amount of playing devil’s advocate and a fair amount of tough love for our favourite games and genres. So, money where my mouth is, I love […]

Hearthstone thoughts…

There’s a lot to love about Hearthstone. When it came out I said that it made some fundamental changes to CCG mechanics that I really liked. It moved the genre forward. In much the way I talked about in my previous article Hearthstone took the opportunity to look critically at the popular games that inspired […]

Designers & Fans

Making games is hard. The hours are long. The work is intellectually demanding. The pay is garbage. So if you’re going to make games you need to love games. You really have to have passion. You have to be a super-fan. If you’re going to devote three to five years of your life to the development of […]

Counterplay & Balance – Part 1

What is balance? What do we mean when we refer to “balance” in games? We often hear the complaint from players and critics that a game is ‘imbalanced’ or has ‘balance issues’ and most people have a sense of what that means. But it’s important to remember that “balance” is a metaphor that describes a […]

Why are Mobas so Toxic?

“Players generally don’t AFK/troll when they’re winning.” I think players become toxic mostly when they’re losing. And the worse they’re doing (relative to the opposing team) the more likely they are to become toxic. Isn’t losing always bad? Why are moba’s different? Someone might think that’s not a relevant piece of information. “Of course people […]

Skills systems in Mobas part 2

I already wrote a bit about why I don’t think the skill progression systems in Mobas doesn’t really deliver on their goals. Here’s a bit on what I think are some helpful things things to consider when approaching this problem. Solvability. In the previous column I attributed the weaknesses in these customisation & progression systems to a […]

Coupling in Game Design

I wonder sometimes how many game designers are familiar with the concept of “coupling” from software engineering and how that applies to games. Coupling is a concept that (broadly speaking) measures the degree of interdependence between elements of a system. When two components are very closely linked such that the implementation of one is strongly dependent on […]