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Axis & Allies

Ticket to Ride is excellent at generating tensionImagine this: you’re in the middle of a game of Ticket to Ride. You’ve got four red cars in your hand; you need six in order to build that link from Miami to New Orleans and complete your ticket. Your opponent takes an orange and a white from the card row and reveals – a red and a red! Exactly what you need! Except it’s not your turn yet…

Ticket to Ride is great at creating tension. You see what you want but you’re blocked from doing it.

There’s a name for this type of tension creation: a Decision-Resolution cycle. Actually it’s a discovery-decision-resolution cycle but Decision-Resolution sounds better. Here’s how it works: (more…)

ClockThere’s one thing that’s always in short supply amongst players, whether they realize it or not: time. Not timed actions time, not AP time but the good, ol’ fashioned, 24-hours-in-a-day time.

Time is the one resources one can never get more of. You can hire an army of maids to clean your house, a horde of accountants to run your business and any number of personal assistants to take care of your needs but you’ll still, never, ever, be able to get more than 25 hours in a day. Sorry, Freudian slip.

Time to play is rare for most people and there’s lots of things clamoring for it: media, friends, that unfinished project in the corner. So when players take the time to play your game they expect that time to be well spent. They expect to get a certain amount of enjoyment out of their invested time, whether social, intellectual or physical, and if we fail to deliver they’re likely to refuse to play the game again.

Thus we need to take care not to waste our players’ time. We need to make sure it’s well spent, that every moment in the game is engaging. (more…)