11 Mar

Why the Buy Once, Use Many business model makes Great Games Scarce

Bar Chart

Bar ChartYou’re hungry. You go to the store and, being a health conscious and overall enlightened person, you buy an ecological carrot. You eat it. Now you’re full (did I mention that you’re a real small eater, too?) and your carrot is gone. If you grow hungry again you need to go back to the store and buy another one. That’s the “buy once, use once” business model.

You’re a hockey fan. A big, big fan. You buy season tickets the moment they’re available. You buy season tickets for your entire family. You’re a great customer, someone who’s a pillar of support for your team. But once you’ve bought your season tickets you can go and see all the games without paying anything extra. That’s the “buy once, use many” business model. Read More

09 Mar

Why I should never support Kickstarter

Kickstarter badgeI’ll never support another Kickstarter in my life, I swear! There, I’ve said it. I’ve shown myself to be a heathen, an anti-developmentalist and probably an internet-hater as well.

Or I might have come to some conclusions about myself.

See, I’m bad at recognizing games. Some people are great at it. I know several of them. D. can look at a new game and go “oh, it’s a cross between Candyland and World in Flames”. He doesn’t even need to skim the rules. A. reads the rules and has a perfect image of not only how the game plays but also of the winning strategies. S. watches a gameplay video and can tell you if the game is broken. Me, I’m a chump. Read More

06 Mar

Downtime vs. Dead time in Games

Power Grid/Carcassonne smashup imageI hate downtime. I’ve always done it. But recently I realized that I really don’t.

See, there’s several kinds of downtime. I’ve always thought there was but one but in retrospect it’s easy to see that there’s always been two and, if one draws the analysis a step further, three, and I hate only one of them.

I’ve taken the liberty of naming them plan time, dead time and rest time. Read More

28 Oct

5 Tips on Writing Flavor Texts for Games

Themed writingBorg the Terrible lifted his stupendous sword and cleaved the fiendish knight in half.
“Argh,” he growled!

What game uses this flavor text? If you’re anything like me the answer is: “hopefully no one I’ll ever play”. Ok, so I made it up to be bad on purpose. But that’s mostly because I don’t want to single out any specific game. That wouldn’t be fair, as some great games have some terrible flavor texts and even games with generally good flavor texts manage an epic fail now and again. So for the duration of this post I’ll only post examples of flavor texts I like and make up examples of bad one. But enough with the disclaimers.

Good flavor texts deliver one key thing which rules can’t: emotion. Rules need to be clear, concise, understandable and ordered. Flavor texts do away with all of the above. Read More

09 Sep

Gaming: Voluntarily Performing Impossible Tasks of Uncertain Value

Dice graphicImagine that someone forced you to complete difficult tasks of uncertain value while others were actively trying to disrupt your work.

Now imagine that you chose to do it of your own free will.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But that’s exactly what we’re doing when we’re playing games. And the single word “chose” is the difference between fun and toiling under a sadistic taskmaster.

The rest is the same: the rules, the limitations, the work and the stress. But when we choose to do it it’s not bad stress, it’s good stress. Read More