Friday, February 24, 2017

Colloquium on Games of Strategy: Chapter 1





Click here to directly download the MP3

Click here to watch the unedited version on Youtube

Welcome to the Colloquium on Games of Strategy.  Games of Strategy is a textbook on game theory written by Dixit (not the game), Skeath, and Reiley that we are reading to help improve our analysis of board games and board game design.  Paul Owen (owns 3rd edition) and I (own the 2nd and 1st editions) record a discussion about a chapter or two from the book every two weeks.  

In the first episode we talk about Chapter 1 & 2 (they are the same in all editions).  Highlights include a discussion on the importance of mutual awareness amongst players, signaling, and cooperative vs noncooperative games (Game Theory Style). 

You can find additional notes about the topics and our discussion from the first episode in this post from Paul Owen's Man Overboard blog.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Go Forth and Game Interview: Austin of Dr. Wictz

Tom Gurganus of the Go Forth and Game podcast & blog recently interviewed Austin from Dr. Wictz.  In the interview Austin talks about my experience pitching board games to publishers at Origins, how Dr. Wictz was formed, using the Controlling Idea in Design, and other developments (see Index below for more details on topics).

You can download the episode here.

Podcast Episode Index:
(All links below are to related Dr. Wictz blog posts or links  to things outside of the podcast)

00:00:45  Intro

00:04:22  Advice how to make a video for a board game prototype (Part I & Part II)
               
00:06:30  Dr. Wictz origins (formation of Dr. Wictz) story

00:11:00  How to use the Controlling Idea to design board games

00:19:38  How to use Iterative Design to refine a board game design

00:25:55  A little Unpub Network Love

00:30:18  Cattle Car (Active Design)

00:40:51  Hoboken (Active Design)

00:48:27  Pitching Game Designs at Origins Game Fair

00:51:08  Update on Post Position - Now Bookies and Bettors

00:53:25  Aaron & Austin's Origins Game Fair Side Bet

00:55:40  Game Designers of North Carolina

00:56:56  Why Designers Should Get Board Room Ribbon at Origins Game Fair

00:59:52  The New Jersey Syndicate (Upcoming design)

01:03:56  Overtime (Upcoming design)

01:08:57  A Fishing Story

Monday, December 21, 2015

Publisher Pitches Dos & Donts




Link to Download


Jamey Stegmaier of Stonemaier Games and Kevin Brusky of APE Games tell Dr. Wictz and TC Petty III their dos and don'ts for board game designers when they submit their games to publishers.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Should Designers Make Videos for Unpublish Board Games Part 2



Link to Download Podcast

Dr. Wictz and TC Petty III get together in a two part seminar series to discuss the role of video for board game designers in attracting publishers and players for unpublished board games.  In part two of the series, Dr. Wictz and TC Petty III talk with board game players Bruce and Mike from The Party Gamecast featuring The Party Game Cast about what videos actually matter to players.  After talking to Mike and Bruce Dr. Wictz and Tc Petty III reflect on the insights shared by the publishers and the players to deduce what are the most valuable roles of video for unpublished board games.

Link to Part One

Examples of Prototype Videos Referenced in Podcast:

Complete Playthrough - Vivajava: The Dice Game

Abridge Playthrough - Table Top

Promo Video - MVP Boardgames UNPUB6

Live Video (Periscope)  - Ed Marriott Gencon 2015

Rule Explanation - Hoboken

Rule Explanation - Daniel Solis 

Snippet - Hoboken Unwelcomed Visitors

Snippet - Hoboken "Game Over Man"

Internal Conversation - Michael R. Keller FCOJ

Should Designers Make Videos for Unpublish Board Games Part 1




Link to Download Podcast

Dr. Wictz and TC Petty III get together in a two part seminar series to discuss the role of video for board game designers in attracting publishers and players for unpublished board games.  In part one of the series, Dr. Wictz and TC Petty III postulate the goals of the different types of board game prototype videos before talking with Kevin Brusky of APE Games and Jamey Stegmaier of Stonemaier Games about what videos actually matter to publishers.

Link to Part Two

Examples of Prototype Videos Referenced in Podcast:

Complete Playthrough - Vivajava: The Dice Game

Abridge Playthrough - Table Top

Promo Video - MVP Boardgames UNPUB6

Live Video (Periscope)  - Ed Marriott Gencon 2015

Rule Explanation - Hoboken

Rule Explanation - Daniel Solis 

Snippet - Hoboken Unwelcomed Visitors

Snippet - Hoboken "Game Over Man"

Internal Conversation - Michael R. Keller FCOJ

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Moral Compass: The Last Turn

Something that has always perplexed me about game design is how to assess a board game where the outcome of the game consistently comes down to the last turn.  Does this signify the game is well designed or poorly designed?


Game is Well Designed

Who wants to play a game turn after turn once the outcome has been decided?  It leaves a bad taste in the losing players mouth because he has to spend the rest of his time playing the game with his defeat being rubbed into his face.  For the winner, it can become tedious executing the last series of moves that everyone knows will award you the game.

The solution - make sure the game ends when this moment occurs.  This is easier said than done, but this is the primary reason why it's generally considered a well designed game when the outcome of who will win the game also marks the end of the game.


Game is Poorly Designed

On the other hand if the outcome of the game always hangs in the balance until the last turn, why am I wasting all this time playing the game up to this point.  I could save myself and everyone else a ton of time by jumping to the last turn and completing the few actions it takes to see who wins the game.

I assume the purpose of playing the game is to maneuver myself to have the best chance to win. Meanwhile my opponents are attempting to do the same thing, and if we are trading barbs along the way, having a climatic conclusion is welcome.

But, if everything I do has minimal effect on changing the situation that resolves who is the victor of the game, then it might as well not be part of the game.  Everyone would be better served by a redesign that quickly recreates the end game and start the game from there.  Hopefully, the new truncated version of the game has some set of meaningful decision, otherwise the game is just rolling a dice to see who wins and not a competition of skill with our opponents.  In which case, we can play an equivalent game where we take bets on penny flips since this is heck of alot  cheaper than the current price of board games.