33: Speciality

33: Speciality

What would you consider to be your game design speciality? Did you develop this intentionally, and do you ever want to change your focus?

 

 

Like my music and my movie preferences, my gaming tastes and my design inspirations are wide and eclectic. I appreciate the detail in things and it’s the detail that I try and put in to my designs – not fiddly rules or expansive tableaus but honest, researched and true-to-the theme finessing; a Tony game has Easter Eggs too: puns, jokes and hidden references. It’s just me, really; tucked in amongst the components.

Tony Boydell

I specialise in making small to medium weight games that play in about an hour or less. I did do this intentionally after having a design that played in over an hour and getting to experience designs that took less than an hour; it was way easier to iterate on a 45 minute game than it was an hour and a half game and it’s also a lot easier to get playtesters for shorter games. I don’t think I’ll ever want to change my focus, but I might want to design a longer game at some point.

Carla Kopp

It seems that I have some special skill for pure 2 player games. Probably because I played and studied deeply strategies for Chess, Othello, Go, Backgammon and all those kind of classics when I was young.

But when a sparkling idea comes, I never think of the number of players. This is fixed later in the design process.

Bruno Cathala

I purposefully develop games that aim to start conversations around scientific topics. I don’t think that I want to change this focus too much, as it enables me to combine two of the things I love most: games and science.

Sam Illingworth

A Tony game has Easter Eggs too: puns, jokes and hidden references. It’s just me, really; tucked in amongst the components. — Tony Boydell

My ludography suggests that my speciality relates to working with intellectual properties. I have a voracious appetite for geek media, a good eye for stand out moments, and a knack for writing in the voices of other characters. I am skilled at identifying the underlying themes and plot points that can be rendered down into a game experience to elicit the same emotions fans feel when engaging with the source material. While I intentionally seek out working with licensed games as I enjoy playing in worlds I love, I am focusing more on building my own words and characters, currently.

Sen-Foong Lim

Puns? *laugh* I find one tiny, microscopic thing that excites me about an idea and run with it. Sometimes that’s a punny name for a game and then I make the game. Sometimes it’s turning something backwards or sideways. Then, full speed ahead!

Adrienne Ezell

I’ve always held that while I do design (that is to say invent) games, my strength is in development. Whether an idea was mine to begin with, or someone else’s that I co-opted, my speciality is finding what I perceive to be the core of what the idea was meant to be, and bringing that to the fore. In other words, my speciality is editing – finding a better way to do what I think a rule or mechanism was trying to do.

Seth Jaffee

I am skilled at identifying the underlying themes and plot points that can be rendered down into a game experience to elicit the same emotions fans feel when engaging with the source material. — Sen-Foong Lim

I am sometimes called “the Master of Chaos”, and I’m supposed to be designing chaotic games. I think it’s wrong. Chaos is disorder due to excessive complexity, and I try to make simple games. I’ve always tried to design games with fewer core mechanisms, fewer rules, and I think I’ve become quite good at it. On the other hand, I don’t want these games to become purely strategic, so I let these simple rules develop into strong and sometimes slightly wild interactions.

I sometimes try to design light strategy games, light bluffing games, light party games, but I’m definitely staying on the light side.

Bruno Faidutti

Just the opposite, I tend to be pretty eclectic. I’ve made abstracts and party games, Euros, card-driven games, dice games, and more. This reflects my general orientation in the world: I’m a generalist with a holistic approach and a broad range of tastes. I tend not to get obsessed with any one mechanism.

Isaac Shalev

I like to think I specialise in making games no one else would (in their right mind) make. Specifically, I think I’m pretty good at translating real world drivers, psychology and social pressures into mechanics that, while possibly not resulting in a good game, sure makes for an interesting experience. This was definitely cultivated deliberately and I make sure I read widely across behavioural, political, social and economic science … and then throw it all away in favour of something that will just make people feel awkward and ashamed.

Andrew Sheerin

I don’t consider myself to have a speciality, but I have tended towards producing light games. This is because they are quicker to develop, playtest, and construct prototypes for. They are also the sort of games I enjoy, and lighter games often sell in bigger quantities. I don’t currently want to change that focus. Investing a vast amount of time and money on producing a heavier game seems a big risk – considering the likely returns.

Adam Porter

I’ve always tried to design games with fewer core mechanisms, fewer rules, and I think I’ve become quite good at it. — Bruno Faidutti

I don’t know if I’ve done enough to say I have a speciality, and what I have worked on that’s out there… they’re all so different, there’s not really a central thread that brings them all together. I guess I’m *trying* to focus on games that appeal to a wide audience, wider than just ‘gamers’. Accessible rules, different themes from the norm, fun to play…but aren’t we all going for that?

Michael Fox

My board game superpower is “generating content”. You give me the design space, I’ll come up with 200 simple-yet-compelling player powers or action cards or ongoing abilities or thematic events; whatever you need. Then, of course, they still need to be polished and balanced.

Peter C. Hayward

I would say that I intentionally aim for the opposite. I like to work in all different genres and with all sorts of mechanics because it keeps the experience of game design fresh. If there’s any thread running through my designs it’s that I like shorter play times – games as short as 30 seconds real time up to an hour or so. I had always planned to never work on a heavier euro because I don’t usually enjoy playing those, but then Peter Hayward proposed an idea for a co-design I couldn’t say no to, so I guess I’m working on one of those now, too!

Alex Cutler

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