Good day to you fellow board game creators :)
On this day of January - I want to talk about something that won't always make people happy around the gaming table, which is player elimination!
This topic has many nuances to how and what is implemented it the games, but there are few opinions about it I believe, in general you can either live with player elimination or you can't.
Fear not - this post won't be about my personal opinion towards player elimination or the psychological effect behind them ;)
I want to talk about how you can decide whether or not it should be in your game - and how you can avoid and/or implement it in different ways...
What is player elimination?
In short - player elimination refers to the fact that you might get eliminated from the game, before the game is finished. E.g. you are starting out 4 players, and while 2 of you might get eliminated sooner or later, the game doesn't end before the last 2 players have battled it out.
There are also games out there - presenting players with indirect elimination. This meaning that they might not be "out of the game", but they can no longer "affect the game or win by any means". It can lead to the same feeling as being removed from the game - though here you have to sit and be reminded of your defeat every time it's your turn.
Should you have player elimination in your board game?
The first question you should ask yourself is... should I have player elimination in my board game?
Though many people doesn't like this factor - it is part of some games, and if implemented for the right reasons together with the right determinations / mechanics it may very well work.
Ask yourself some of these questions
How to implement player elimination
You might think it doesn't take a genius to implement elimination in a game, and you would be quite right about it. Nevertheless it does take some thought to actually implement it in a way - so that players accept it as a natural outcome of the game.
A player decision
One way to implement it is to create a visible barrier of which you as a player will have to cross in order to be able to be eliminated from the game. Here's some examples
Giving people a choice of "gain vs. risk" can create an acceptance towards the ultimate failure. Or like some of the examples illustrate - if you as a player knows that when you enter the final stages of the game (reaching a certain level of points) you now have a risk of being annihilated from the game.
Boosting your last efforts
While it's always a question about balance when it comes to the possibilities of players to catch up with the leader. It may be a good idea to include a somewhat "last stand chance" for players about to be eliminated from the game. Meaning that player might get boosted when in dire need of it.
I'm sure many of you would agree that if you have to go down - an epic last stand is the way to go. Making the ending memorable, and maybe you might even survive to take an enemy haft way with you in your fall ;)
And at last... make sure you take into consideration how long a player might be out of your game, if eliminated.
How to avoid player elimination?
Now that I have touched the aspects of implementing player elimination - I want to talk a bit about how to avoid it.
I've put together some examples on how you can achieve this.
How to avoid indirect player elimination?
While it might seem easy to avoid "total player elimination" by stating something in the rules. It doesn't really ease the pain - if your game consist of heavy indirect player elimination.
By indirect player elimination I'm referring to the possibilities of a player to hinter, lockup or block another player off completely, in other terms eliminating that player from the game.
A few examples on how you might avoid an indirect elimination
You can find many reasons why you shouldn't have player elimination in your game... but on the other hand, there's no denying a game might be more interesting if the risk is there. You wouldn't play paint ball if it didn't hurt when you got hit ;)
In the end - it's all about implementation...
Happy gaming to all of you - and check out my newest game project Burning Suns, remember to sign up :)
Hi again fellow board game developers,
I wanted to take up a topic which has always been a interesting aspect in a game for me.
The concept of language neutral layout / design in a board game... this may seem strange to some, but for me - who have played with many different people with many different native languages - the concept in itself is a huge selling point!
As a Danish guy living in Germany with a Belarusian wife - it's not hard to see why I like the no-text board games ;)
With this in mind, I would like to go through a series of thoughts and pointers you might want to explore further yourself.
Why would you make a language neutral game?
There are some neat advantages in making a board game without any real text on the game board, playing pieces, cards and so on...
Of course this doesn't come without a "cost", or at least some important factors you have to consider carefully...
Examples of board game mechanics and so on - explained with symbols.
I've found some examples in games, where symbol explanations seem well implemented (though some of them still have text, you can argue whether or not that's necessary).
I'm sure you can find many more - and these will be the ones you should refer to - when trying to make your own game.
The pictures above - are from the following game: Cyclades (Hades), Small World, D-Day Dice, 7 Wonders, Race for the Galaxy and Eminent Domain. I take no credit for their success, design or game play.
How to implement it.
If you choose to go for a game without text - you have to think about the implementation. How will you do it?
With text you can easily create associations - because you can tell the players to get them ;) But when you don't use text, you have to keep associations and visual explanation in mind all the time.
There's a fairly big chance - that you'll have to do a bit more play testing with the "no-text" solution.. but it will be a sweet achievement when you have a game that can be memorized by symbols and actions instead of long text sequences.
Plus - you might be lucky to have players from all around the world playing your game, without the need of a total reprint of the game!
No matter what solution you come up with - I hope you'll have fun :)
Writing rules for your board games
Hey my fellow game makers,
One thing that's always taking up a looot of my time - is writing rules.
Well of course that doesn't apply for the first draft when I'm writing the rules for myself.
But when other people are going to have a try at the game the rules need to be much more precise and simple.
In the following sections I'll try to take you through my rulebook writing :)
The early beginning...
I always start out with a blank document where I write down a lot of headlines consisting of aspects and figure:
The Basic Index
In continuation of my evaluation I start building the index for my game rules based on my results. This is an easy way of getting your rules structured and it could look like this:
Rewrite and rewrite
When you've written down every single word that you can sqeeze out of your mind about how to navigate your great game it's time to shorten them "again"..... and I mean REALLY shorten the rules.
There's this classic rule about text - that you can make your sentences 30% shorter when rewriting them.. and this feature can be applied to your sentences several times. Well, it may be less or more depending on who you are and what not.. but your rules can without a doubt be shorter than it is at this moment.
Using pictures and icons
As we all know pictures says more than a 1.000 words... which when implemented correctly also works in board game rules.
The illustration on the left is used in my rules for COMMANDERS where I have to explain a lot of maneuvering around the map. With several pictures I make it easier to understand where you can and can't go.
It also has a psychological effect when people glance at your rules - it all of a sudden looks easier to overcome. All thanks to the good old Donald Duck comics we read as children ;)
Keep it precise and simple
Remember that every page you add to your rules will eventually narrow your potential market. Not everyone has the patience to read/learn a Warhammer rulebook. My experience with casual gamers is to keep the rules on a maximum of 4-5 standard A4 pages (this doesn't include pictures, stats, data sheets, reference sheets etc.).
That if you can't explain a rule live to the test persons playing your game - then you won't have much chance explaining it to them through text. In that case you might have to work a bit more on that specific rule.
I think that's all I have to tell you about rules for now.... until you come to visit my blog again - happy gaming! :)
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