03 Mar

Designing Contradictory Choices

Patchistory gameplay“The most interesting gameplay comes when the player’s goals are somehow contradictory”
– Raph Coster

I recently got my hands on Patchistory Amazon . It’s an interesting concept: you build your civilization out of cards with 4 slots on each card were each slot (or slots) contain some sort of resource. As you place your cards you must place one of the slots on the new card over a slot on an old card, potentially removing your old resources. So you’re building an engine by removing parts of your old engine.

This goes against the good old adage of “improve and increase” that’s common in engine builders. In a way it reminds me of Nations Amazon “tear down all your workers” mechanic. Except that in Nations you still have an upgrade path. In Patchistory you are often left with a tile that you can’t place, or that you can’t place optimally. It’s like building a puzzle where you’ve got to throw out some pieces. Read More