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I don’t usually watch videos as they take too much of my time compared to reading the same amount of information. But I recently came across Tiffany Ralph’s board game industry interviews and I’ve been chewing my way through them.

Most of them are very good, and they cover a wide range of questions, from pure beginner issues to in depth stuff that even experienced designers could use.


Being creative means finding the unusual in the usual. Like here:

As a board game reviewer, a frequent board game teacher, and a thrifty board game buyer, I read a lot of rulebooks. A lot, a lot, a lot of rulebooks. Which is a shame, because many of them are bad.

– FarmerLenny @ iSlaytheDragon

Lenny, over att iSlaytheDragon is frustrated with badly written rule books. Which is why he’s put together a short, sweet, 13 point guide to writing rule books which will kill every bad rule book stone dead within the next couple of days.

That’s right, we’re coming for you [deleted-for-security-reasons]!

Lenny, I hear your pain, brother!

Linky:  Laying Down the Law (a guide to rulebook writing) @ iSlaytheDragon

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of EmotionsPeople engaged with emotions first. Then comes the rational decision making, often after we’ve already made a decision with our feelings.

Courtney Seiter over at writes about ways to engage your audience from a marketing perspective. In short, happiness makes us want to share but it is anxiety, awe and anger that leaves a lasting impression.

Which makes sense if you consider the last time you read a book where you became angry at the villan – chances are you wanted to make the hero give them their comeuppance.

Linky: The Science of Emotion in Marketing: How Our Brains Decide What to Share and Whom to Trust @ Buffer

Tiffany Ralph (@TheOneTAR) interviews Panda Game Manufacturing about the ins and outs of manufacturing a tabletop game. Well worth the watch, gives both an overview of the process from a business side and dives into several specifics.

Robot Turtles design sketchSometimes we tend to look too much inwards, toward what we know and what we love. Which is fine, but it makes us miss the golden nuggets of wisdom that come from people in related fields.

So, without further ado, here are five wild success stories and hands on tips from five toy designers who went from zero to hero in no time flat. Some nuggets:

Find the hook. I couldn’t convince myself that Robot Turtles was a good idea until I came up with the phrase “A board game that teaches programming to preschoolers.” That generated interest. It was something new. If I said, “I made an educational board game,” nobody would have cared.

– Dan Shapiro


Illustration: Eureka MomentPsychologist Dr. Christian Jarrett writes over on 99U about the 5 most common creativity myths, including the myth of right/left brain specialization, that IQ is needed for creativity and the myth of divine inspiration, an Eureka moment:

The trouble with the myth of the Eureka moment is that encourages the belief that creativity is a passive process. It suggests you have to wait and hope that you’ll make a breakthrough. It’s true that the final moment of insight often comes as a surprise— a spurt of inspiration rising suddenly from the geyser of the unconscious. But crucially, for this to happen, your unconscious mind needs material to work with. It cannot sift and recombine ideas—a process known as “incubation”—if you don’t first put in the hard work of studying and mastering your field and exposing yourself to different perspectives. That Eureka moment is actually the last step in a long, involved process and not the only step.

Link: 5 Creativity Myths You Probably Believe @

Intelligence imageMVP Boardgames has a series of articles up on the “Fun to Time ratio” where they discuss what makes a game fun, how to make a long game feel short, how to keep the action going and more. In their third installment they discuss what makes a game fun to play for players, what we as designers can add to the game in order to make players feel special. Here’s an excerpt:

People want to feel smart.  Anything you can do to make the player feel smarter without making their opponents feel dumb is probably a good thing to add to your game.  Think about the games you like.  Why do you like them?  Probably because you are pretty good at them.  You feel good playing them because you make good decisions.  You feel smart.  Even if you don’t win your favorite game a lot, you are probably either getting better the more you play, or see your decisions making positive impact on the game.

Link: FUN to Time Ratio Part 3 @ MVP Boardgames

Six months ago French publisherAsmodée Éditions acquired US game publisher Days of Wonder (technically it’s a merger but DOW is now a fully owned subsidiary).

Now Asmodee has done it again, anouncing a merger with Fantasy Flight Games. From ICv2:

Fantasy Flight will gain greater access to Asmodee’s distribution and marketing base in Europe.  In Europe, Asmodee owns distribution companies in the UK, Germany, and the Benelux countries, in addition to its home country of France, through which it sells many games beyond its own, including those from the U.S., such as Magic: The Gathering.  It also has exclusive distribution relationships with some game companies, such as Days of Wonder for Ticket to Ride in some countries.  It is the channel to the market for the Pokemon TCG in France, the UK, Belgium, and Spain.

Link: Fantasy Flight Games Merges with Asmodee @

Oliver Kiley, of Big Game Theory!, does a marvelous job of summing up the #GamerGate brouhaha and adding his own thoughts and analysis of it (always worth reading). Here’s a sample:

Which leads us to the second point: games are a form of media. Media; like books, or video, or ancient scrolls, or newspapers, or TV broadcasts, or pamphlets, or press-releases. Just as “books” aren’t all supposed to be “fun, entertaining reads” neither must games. There are books that are written for entertainment (of all persuasions), just as there books designed to teach or instruct, or recount history, or inspire action or bring to tears. A film/video can be an instructional safety video or an inspiring work of artistic vision and narrative. Games are no different – and they certainly don’t have an obligation to be “fun” despite their historic roots. So long as a past notion of fun is used as a benchmark for conceiving of and evaluating games, the potential of the media is going to be constrained.

Linky: Culture Storms and the Evolving Medium of Games @ Big Game Theory!