November 11, 2009

After this month is over, life should calm down and I’ll have time to actually get back to Emperor’s Heart. That said, some useful things floating in my head at this point about redesign in general:

Taking time away is really useful. Not like, “I’ll only fiddle with it”, but like, complete cold turkey deal with other stuff in your life and don’t think about the game at all.

It pulls you away from the emotion you’ve invested in specific design choices, making it easier to let go of things you were dead set on earlier. It also pulls you away from what you’ve fixated on during playtesting. Also, playing other games really helps bring things back into perspective.

If you find something that works perfectly, sometimes, and crappily, sometimes, you’re probably missing a crucial bit that’s being supplied by the group- either a choice in how to use a mechanic/set of mechanics or a choice in how NOT to use them.

If you’re stuck, there’s probably at least two mutually exclusive things you’re trying to get your game to do. Figure out what bits are fighting each other and pull one out to use for another design, some other time.

It’s easier to put in too much structure, guidance, and trust players/groups to strip it down and go outside of it later, than it is to give too little guidance and expect folks to figure it out.


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