58: Keeping Up

58: Keeping Up

As a designer, do you try and keep up with what is happening in terms of new releases, trends or other aspects of games? If so, how do you keep up with new information, and does it affect your designs?



Yes, I definitely try to stay up with what is going on in terms of new releases in the portion of the market I work in. I take regular trips to the store and play as many games as I can. It’s important to know what’s out there and hot – but it’s just as important to know what kind of games are released and don’t do well. The flops can indicate which areas of the market aren’t ripe for innovation as companies are often not willing to play in a space that hasn’t been fruitful, unless some time has passed.

Kim Vandenbroucke

I follow a variety of review and board game news channels. It’s very important to me to know what is currently happening, what is popular, what consumers are saying about different products, etc. This information doesn’t directly impact what I am designing (because if you are chasing trends you need to be good at predicting what WILL be popular, not what is popular now, and I’m not great at that). I make what I make. The information instead is useful when making hard decisions about what to cut, or what direction to move a design in.

Jessey Wright

Social media provides a “digest version” of what people are talking about gamewise. I don’t go out of my way to seek this information or consume content unless someone specifically points to a game I need to learn about, usually to see if it is similar to a game I am working on. I prefer to play games rather than read about them as I learn more about the mechanisms that way. I tend to be very inspired after a con where I can play new games vs. one where it’s all business – it’s hard to separate business from pleasure!

Sen-Foong Lim

I try to keep up with the latest design mechanics by playing lots of games (it’s a hard life!). I also challenge myself to try games that I think I might not ordinarily play in order to truly broaden my horizons!

Sam Illingworth

It’s important to know what’s out there and hot – but it’s just as important to know what kind of games are released and don’t do well. — Kim Vandenbroucke

I love games, and it’s natural that – whether I were to make games or not – I’d be interested in what’s available. Online reviews, Facebook, running around shows…

As a designer, I’ve walked around London and Nuremberg Toy Fairs, enjoying all the sights and taking time to enjoy the ideas. I experience personal curiosity, inspiration, and joy at all the creativity.

Honestly, it’s uncommon for a game to directly inspire a design. If anything, I try to stay away from existing stuff.

But it’s great to be reminded what’s possible, whether it’s a brilliant rule, or a new piece of engineering.

Bez Shahriari

I keep up as much as I can by consuming board game media. I will scrap a game that is too close to something that was just released and chalk it up to timing – should have gotten a move on!

Adrienne Ezell

I tried to keep up, and in the nineties I even tried to play all new gamers’ games. There are so many new games now, and so many separate trends, that I can’t really keep up with new games. I can only get a vague idea of what’s happening, through the internet and magazines – I still receive Tabletop Magazine and Spielbox, but the BGG and Dice over are probably my main ways of keeping up.

I don’t think it’s possible to keep designing exciting games if one ignores what the other ones are doing.

Bruno Faidutti

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