118

By Zermelo's Theorem, every 2 player game has one of the following: Chance Hidden information (this also includes simultaneous moves) Either first or second player has a strategy that will guarantee them the win Both players can guarantee a draw (or force the game to go on forever) Any game that has (1) is clearly out. Any game that has (2) is also out ...


77

“Agricola” is the Latin word for “farmer” (dictionary). It is derived from “ager” (“field”) and “-cola” (“-tiller”, “-cultivator”). “Agriculture” shares the same root, and so does “acre” (albeit indirectly). That a Roman general had it as his last name is unrelated.


63

Kingmaking can be a desired feature in its own right Particularly in games with a political or simulational bent, kingmaking can be a desired feature. The kingmaker gets to feel like he accomplished something even if he didn't win, and the tension and turnabout can contribute to a more exciting play experience. Thesunneversets' answer addresses this much ...


57

What is a game? There's some argument about what exactly constitutes a "game" in academic and design circles. Going by Salen and Zimmerman's definition from Rules of Play: A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome. Cooperative games still have rules and definite win/...


40

I find it a bit odd to include the first move advantage in chess as an element of luck -- it assumes that luck is involved in choosing the color, but that choice isn't usually seen as part of the game, more of the tournament organization. But there are a few ways to fix it. The most obvious and usual is to play multiple matches, with alternating colors. ...


31

The biggest thing I can think of is limited knowledge. Hanabi is a cooperative game where each player has access to different information (no one can see the cards in his or her own hand, but can see everyone else's cards). As soon as different players have access to different information, playing by yourself becomes impossible. The other examples I can ...


26

Consider the game of go, where Black starts, but White gets a number of points (the komi) to balance the advantage of Black's first move. Now, of course this may still not lead to an absolutely balanced game, but the complexity of the game pretty much swamps the remaining difference. From a purely theoretical standpoint the game is still a win for either ...


21

I'm no game designer, so this is just off the top of my head: I'd try and tie it to a mechanic that already exists in the game and which the players can't avoid, or at least get a obvious (maybe short term) advantage from, so it's unlikely to for them to forget. Examples: Each player gets 5 cards at the start of the game and must play one each turn. ...


20

My experience with people such as this is that they're impatient to start playing, and don't want to take the time to read lots of instructions. The best thing you can do, as @beam022 touched on, is improve the instructions. Make them non-threatening and as easily understandable as possible. Game element formatting Graphic symbols--used sparsely--can help. ...


20

Doing some research shows you will still 5-9 range but it will be slightly more when you are using d4. Now if that difference causes a problem that would be up to you to decide. One other thing to note is you will no longer be able to roll a 2. This comes from https://anydice.com/program/51b6 # | % for 2d6 | % for 3d4 | 2 | 2.777778 | 0....


19

There are a few popular ways. Have a duplicate game board with a referee to validate things. Have a map of the game board set aside with the secret locations marked. Have numbered locations on the board where the hidden units can be and mark the number down secretly. Use decoy markers. Place several markers on the board and treat them like a real unit. ...


19

You have several options if you want to collect a large set of generic components so that you can throw your own prototype together. Thrift Store games you buy just for the components If you frequent thrift stores regularly, you can pick up cheap games ($2-$4 usually) specifially just to harvest the components from them. Some good examples from the list ...


19

Send the rules. Fear of having your idea copied/stolen is a uniquely amateur mentality. Daniel Solis (designer) and Gil Hova (publisher who references other publishers) cover the topic well in their articles about this very topic. Additionally, there is this entry on BGG. They all conclude that you should not worry about someone stealing your idea. The ...


16

Each player puts a coin on the table under their hand. This will work perfectly if it's always the same two options, or if you can easily determine a sensible mapping from head/tails to the available two options.


16

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer This answer* on startups.SE suggests (though doesn't completely confirm) that the mechanisms of a board game cannot be patented (which I suppose explains why we have so many deck-builders, for instance), but you may be at risk of copyright infringement if you go so far as to copy graphics, trademarked characters or names and ...


16

EDIT (April 2017): I released the SVG-based software described in my original answer below for playing card design as a desktop application. You can learn more here: http://cardcreatr.shane.guru Original Answer: I use custom SVG when designing playing cards. Inkscape uses SVG as its backend format. Coming from a web development background, I found SVG ...


15

There are different stages to testing. You need to make sure the core idea and gameplay is workable. You can do some of this by playing through a few games with just you playing for each other player. Then you need to start creating the game. This will be an iterative process. You get the game together, and draft some instructions, and get some friends ...


15

According to this and this, the government has a role in labeling of products that can be used by children, and that 13 is the youngest recommended age you can put without doing additional testing (though sometimes even that is not sufficient). The lower the age, the more robust the testing required, particularly for things recommended under age 3. The rules ...


15

BoardGameGeek has 58627 games listed*, and 11132 of them are marked with the dice-rolling mechanic** . So that's 19% - but of course, there's no guarantee that all of the games were appropriately tagged, so treat it as a lower bound. If you're curious about more specific categories, you can used the advanced search and limit it to games with or without dice ...


15

Not sure how applicable it is, since it never had an actual physical card-based implementation (and ergo isn't strictly on-topic for this site), but Alteil was an online game based on CCG deck-building mechanics. While the original Japanese game still appears to be in active development, this answer is based on the English localization of it that has been ...


15

Simultaneous choice is another method of forcing players to stumble over each other a bit. Space Hulk Death Angel uses this to great effect - players have to choose between their available actions, placing the card facedown, before all choices are revealed simultaneously and then executed in order. Robo Rally can be played in teams, and there you can really ...


14

You said: I found no card with trigger effects when they are sacrificed to other cards In a design article, Mark Rosewater said: Originally, Perilous Myr dealt 1 damage when it was put into the graveyard from play but 3 damage if it was sacrificed. And it wasn't the only artifact creature with this rider. As I explained in parts 1 and 2, black ...


14

I hardly feel that they just guess or take it on the feels when coming up with the cards cost and ability limitations. Actually, they kinda do. Mana cost depends on several factors: How common the card's ability is in the color. Flight for example, is generally least expensive in Blue, White is slightly more expensive, and red/black slightly more, and ...


14

Working Solution: For n players, you need two identical decks of cards, each with cards numbered 1 to n-1. Keep the first deck ordered from 1 at the bottom, to n-1 at the top, and add a random card from the second deck to the top of the first deck. Set the rest of the second deck aside. Each player will get a single card from the first deck, telling them ...


13

I think the main points have mostly been hit. A few strategies: Direct interaction during other players' turns. For example, if there is a combat element, if the defending player has interesting choices such as playing cards from hand to gain advantage. As mentioned, Magic is a good example as the defending player has plenty of decisions to make and cards ...


13

Fundamentally, there are three factors to consider: Reading level required to read the rules. Thematic & graphical content. Difficulty of play. All three are highly subjective, and vary widely by nation, but the least so is reading level. There are good algorithms for reading level calculation used in education; they generally hold up well. They ...


13

To a certain extent, kingmaking is a desirable element in multiplayer games. Suppose that another player has been making my life a misery throughout a game, to the extent that I fall so far behind that I no longer have a chance of winning. Obviously it's not exactly fun for me to then have to spend the rest of the game taking my persecutor down with me, ...


13

Most of the answers so far say that king-making can be an acceptable feature of a game. However, there are certainly people who don't like it, whether they are the king-maker or not. As such, making a game that avoids king-maker situations is a good goal, not because it's bad, but because it's seen as bad by some (many?) people. King-making is especially ...


13

Designer and sometimes attendee at design group BOGA DAP here. I'll share my personal experiences and preferences. As a tester, to feel good about the event: In general, I prefer the game to be taught as if you were teaching an already-published game. If you are getting a blind playtest, or testing the ability of players to learn from a rulebook, then I ...


13

Whatever non-expert game you play (Monopoly, snakes and ladders, etc.), rolling a 6 is good, rolling a 1 is bad. So I'd say "You win if you roll a 4 or more" is the most intuitive way to speak to a non-gamer.


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