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 ...


75

“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.


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

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.


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 ...


18

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 ...


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

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 ...


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 ...


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

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

There are several ways to implement timers in board games Tokens. Games like Paper Tales or Pixel Tactics (starting from 2nd set) use addition/removal of tokens from game components to track passage of time. Like this: this option works well for cards (or other components you can easily store tokens upon) with relatively small number of simultaneous ...


12

Probably the simplest method would just be to add a turn marker. Have an area on the board with the numbers one through five printed out on it, with an "It's Brazening Time!" highlight around the the number five. If you're playing a game with a definite number of turns, just print all turn numbers with a highlight around every fifth. If you have an ...


12

You should fix it before submitting the game. The developer will have plenty of work to do anyway, from working on issues you're not even aware of, to tweaking factors to bring the game closer into line with the publisher's target audience. The better your game is before you submit it, the more likely that first play will be fun enough to make the publisher ...


12

Make it so that it doesn't matter if players have faked their profile. Say having a high ranked profile means that you have access to better equipment (and therefore an incentive to produce a fake profile). You could reduce the impact of this by (say) introducing a handicap for high ranked players when playing against lower ranked players. If there is a ...


12

This is a very difficult question to answer, and it's probably the reason that persistent, player power modifying changes are not included in most card games. one possible solution is a central online data store/mobile app This may be beyond your project, but one solution would be to implement some form of website wherein player profiles can be stored, ...


12

The card game "Set" may qualify. (Your requirements are awfully stringent but also not precisely defined, so you may disagree on a technicality—but I believe it fits.) It's described as the "Family game of visual perception," which is a good description. There are no turns. Twelve cards are dealt, and as soon as you see a set you call out "set" and then ...


12

In general, rolling more, smaller dice will give a narrower range of possible answers and a distribution that's more concentrated around the average value, compared to rolling fewer, larger dice. This is easy to see by looking at the extremes: rolling a single d12 will give every value between 1 and 12 with equal probability (broad range, no peak at all)...


11

Well one point towards squares is simplicity. It is a much easier system to grok (outside of weird rules for diagonals) The most important thing to consider is what your playing field is. If you are talking about a mostly open plain with very few obstacles, then a hex field is great as it avoids the diagonal rule cleanly. However if you were going with, ...


11

No matter what method you decide on, you will need to keep track of two things, the current turn order and the next turn order. I have a few options you could try: Two Tracks You can simply have two tracks that will show current and next turn orders. This is a simple solution, players can all stay in their seats and the turn will just jump around the table,...


11

Is there any way to design the end of the track such that over-rolls do not lead to any confusion? Write "If your roll is enough to move up to or past the end, you win. If you roll 5 when you're 3 spaces from the end, that counts as winning." on the board, or in the game rules, or even on the end tile itself (with slightly different phrasing). Designing ...


11

When I've put out games in the past, there have usually been two goals in font selection: Fonts that are easy to read at the angle the player will be looking from. Fonts that evoke the setting of the game. For example, The Golden Wilderness is set in colonial California, so a typeface that was widely used in the 1700s helps evoke the setting. There's ...


11

If you are looking to prototype a game there are really three options, you'll want to weigh Expense vs Effort vs Polish. Obviously if you are just playtesting (especially early in the process) Polish is not important, and keep expense and effort low will probably be helpful if you're going to be iterating your design a bunch! There are three main options: ...


10

One issue is staring at this blank canvas of a rule book and not knowing where to start. To find out where to start, first realize exactly what you're trying to accomplish: Tell someone how to play. I might suggest you show the game to a few friends, preferably the most interactive ones. If they ask questions, then when you explain it to another friend, ...


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