I’ve got a game design in progress, a very simple one, where kids race snails around a track. It’s aimed at the 4+ age market with a very simple mechanic: chose a card depicting a snail, reveal simultaneously. Cards are the snails you want to poke. If your snail isn’t poked it moves one step. If it’s poked exactly once it moves two steps. But if it’s poked two or more times it gets scared and crawls into its shell. Easy enough that a small child could understand it.

I’ve got a game design in progress, a very simple one, where kids race snails around a track. It’s aimed at the 4+ age market and I couldn’t “#¤!”# understand why it didn’t work.

With two players it worked like a charm, letting the players play each other, letting you try to guess if the other would play their own snail, yours or none. But once I added in a third player the whole thing fell apart and I couldn’t understand why.

Here’s a hint: A beautiful mind. Yeah, the movie with Russel Crowe (if you haven’t seen it, go do so now, I’ll wait). It’s a great dramatization of John Nash’s brilliant mathematical theories and subsequent fall into schizophrenia. Except that it gets the math parts wrong because the game theory situation depicted in the movie isn’t a Nash equilibrium. Read More →