Pass Go: Design Your First Table Top Card Game | Grant Rodiek | Skillshare

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Pass Go: Design Your First Table Top Card Game

teacher avatar Grant Rodiek, Producer/Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (1h 51m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. An Exploration of Card Game Mechanics

    • 3. Build your creative space

    • 4. Brainstorming Mechanics First

    • 5. Brainstorming Theme First

    • 6. How to focus creativity

    • 7. Advanced Brainstorming Mechanics

    • 8. Fundamental Questions to Answer

    • 9. Designing Your Cards

    • 10. Creating some Basic Rules/Structure

    • 11. Testing and Iteration

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About This Class


Learn how to design a game to call your own! This class will start with a discussion on brainstorming and conceptual design, then shift to creating a prototype out of your idea and ultimately testing it with friends. The goal is to open your eyes to the highly innovative realm of table-top game design.

Creative and curious folks of any skill level are invited to learn new approaches to the creative process and develop what may be your best game ever. Join us as we create and experiment together! It'll be fun, like any good game.

First, we'll talk about games, specifically card games, as that's what we'll be creating. We'll discuss inspiration and brainstorming, followed by putting those nifty thoughts into something tangible. Then, it's time to build and play your game. 

As a professional game producer and designer for 8 years, published board game designer, and blogger, I'm eager to share some of my favorite design practices with you. Before long you'll be delighting gamers with your own innovative creation. 

This class will cover an introduction to the game design process, including:

  • A quick overview of card games and game mechanics
  • Using inspiration and effectively brainstorming
  • Converting neat ideas into potential mechanics
  • Building your prototype
  • Iteration through testing

Would you like to play a game? Yours? Then sign up for the class!


Why Game Design? 

Game design is the perfect fusion of so many creative skills. It is a great destination for writers, illustrators, musicians, and even folks like woodworkers to create something fun, tactile, and thrilling. Game designers are toy makers. They bring people together to laugh and share a great evening. Your game can be the reason people enjoy their night.

Meet Your Teacher

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Grant Rodiek



Grant Rodiek has almost 8 years of experience developing best-selling digital games as a producer and designer. His first published table top game, Farmageddon, funded via Kickstarter, won a Parent's Choice award in 2012 and is on its second printing. Grant blogs openly about developing his table top games at 

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1. Introduction: hi. I wanted to create a quick introduction to the class. I've already recorded all the lessons. I've already written everything. I've had a few days to think on it, and I thought that it be useful. Just have a quick, high level introduction. The thing is, game design is a very broad topic. It's something I person been working on for every years now, and it's very difficult for a single skill share class to cover everything that you need to know about game design. You'll find a lot of times and lessons blow that. I discuss things very broadly, very hypothetically. Then sometimes I'll get really specific in certain instances. But right now we have over 50 people enrolled in the class. Hopefully more will join in, which means that 50 ever creative processes, 50 different games, all sorts of things coming in. So I just want to invite you the reader on dis student that, um, you can ask me specific questions about your game. You could ask for more precise information that I may not cover or if I start on something . But don't go as deep into the discussion as you like well again, asked questions you guys paid for this class, your students and I owe it to you to do my best to try to help you get something out of this class. Help you make your game. So if you have questions, please ask them. Please check the lessons. Take notes as you go. And if there's a topic that a tree is there something that just feel free to follow up and be like, Hey, Grant, I have a question about this. Could you tell me more about that? And I'll do my best to continue the discussion. You know, we have this really cool technology known as the Internet that allows us to do back and forth stuff, so please take advantage of it. Thanks. 2. An Exploration of Card Game Mechanics: Hi. My name is Grant Reddick. I am teaching this skill share class on card game design. Thank you for joining me for this first lesson. I'm going to first introduce myself to give you an idea of who the heck I am. And then I'm gonna take some time to walk you through a handful of very popular and successful card game mechanics. And the idea behind this is if you are new to the realm of card, game, design or board, game design or design in general, some of these ideas will hopefully spark your interest and give you, you know, an idea. Something you might not have thought of an idea that Oh, I could do that myself. What if I took that and then twisted it for my own game? So that's what we're gonna do today. And I really wish looking forward to you joining me. Just a sort of a broad announcement. If you if you ever have questions or concerns or you just want to talk to me about your ideas, feel free to comment in the class, and I'll be there to help you and back you up that za two way Street. I really want to make sure I'm there for you. So my name's great. Rudic. I've been a professional video game designer for about eight years. Here in San Francisco, I work on games like the Sims. I have a girlfriend named Beth. I have a corgi named Peaches. We walk her all the time, and she is ridiculous. I started designing card games and board games about four years ago, and since then I have had my first game published by a small publisher called Fifth Street Games. It's a game called for Armageddon, and it won a Parent's Choice Award last year. It's us more loss, small light. Take that game and I'll tell you more about it later. Throughout the course, the game that got me really interested in card games is a silly game called Munchkin and Munchkin is something I bought at a bookstore in Australia when I was there on vacation four years ago. What I loved about Munchkin is that it is surprising and random you don't know what's gonna happen every time we draw the card of monster comes out great treasure. You could win and be, you know, overwhelmingly victorious reading it totally screwed. The other thing I love about it is that there is great social strategy and that the people you're playing with will determine how well you do. You can't go it alone, you have toe, get people to help you, and then you might in turn stab them in the back. And it's hilarious, and it's like playing poker or monopoly. When you finally collect that from your family, it has that that moment of, Ah ha and it's It's hilarious, and I love that that special feeling you get from sitting around the table with people. And so they landed on this 20 hour flight. After playing munchkin the whole way home, I immediately went and grabbed a pen and paper and thought I could do this. I could do this. I could make my own games. And the truth is, anybody can. And that's what's beautiful about board games with video games, you know you have to be an animator. You have to be a code, or you have to have an engine. All this stuff that really complex. But with a board game, you just need index cards, pen and pencil. Um, you know dice and things like that, and you could suddenly make something. What I love about board games is that there this combination of tangible elements, you know that the cards in the paper and logic and math and writing it combines so many creative exercise that just makes it really compelling and really fun. So if you're good at math, you get writing. If you're good artists, there's something here for you, and there's a way you can excel and be great games. So let's talk about card games first, cause that's the focus of this class. We're designing a game for the project that is a card game. Nachos card games specifically because they are simple and they make sense. The people. I have a couple of reasons for why I really love cards. We're gonna go through those really quickly. First off cards give you something to own. You know, when you're playing a game and everyone's at the table and you're looking at what's on the board or what's in front of you, that's that's Everyone suffers things that you share of it. If you have, if you have a hand of cards is yours, you own these. Nobody else hasn't. That sense of ownership is really powerful for players. It's powerful for the experience, and everything is that cars give you a secret. Now, if you reveal the cards, people could see them and sometimes you know after their played there out front. But while you're playing, you know something that nobody else knows, and that's funny. And that's fun. And that makes you feel clever and you have a secret. Everyone loves having a secret. I love that about cards. Cards are also comfortable, and by that I mean that they're a classic and standard game component. Everyone in their home most likely has a standard set of poker cards, bicycle playing cards that you get at Walgreens for three bucks and your grandparents played blackjack and bridge and Ukraine and all those games like that. Cards are a great way to introduce people to games. And yes, there's definitely hardcore people in people who know lots of games. People like me, I play games all the time, but cards when people see them, they're not really intimidating, and people, when it comes to down to the table with you cards are also portable never underestimate the value of having a game fits in a box like this, and you could take with you in a backpack. You could play it anywhere currency grade because any picnic table suddenly becomes a place to play games. That's really fun. And finally, like I said before, cards can and should be simple. With a card, you'll have so much room for so much information, its its not that big. You can't fill it with text. If you do, you're making a mistake. I deliberately chose cards for this class because it's one of the best ways to focus you as a designer and to basically put a box around. Your creativity in that box will force you to make creative decisions out of the scarcity. If you have unlimited components and Dyson and all these different pieces and coins, you're gonna get quickly overwhelmed, you're gonna reminds gonna go racing. But if you if you start small, if you keep yourself focused, you'll find that you have a game much quicker than you would have otherwise, and that game will get better much more quickly. That's what happened with me and firm again the first time I designed to gain after playing Munchkin. It was this huge game called Space Encounters, and it had asteroids and you could colonize planets and build them up and you could attack each other and build Starfleet's. And it was terrible and it took three hours to play and nobody want to play. It was so complicated and then made farm again out of just a handful of index cards, and it took 20 minutes to play, and it was really easy to explain. It was really easy to generate upon, and it took me two years to finish it. But after the very first play test, my friends that had played the previous game said, This one's much better than your last one. So my advice to you is to start simple, and that's what we're doing. This class start with cards. Keep it simple. Don't do anything crazy. So we're gonna talk about a handful of really cool game ideas that I love, and hopefully some of these will give you an idea for something that you could do on your own in your own design. Feel free to borrow these. These air just federation points its inspiration don't worry about always having to create your own design from scratch, because if you take the idea and you literate upon it, you have all of it. You'll make it yours eventually. Um, obviously, don't steal. Don't just copy someone, but But don't be so afraid. Teoh. Take something that somebody else has done successfully and use it as a stepping stone. Great designers do that all the time, and it's very common. The first came I want to talk about is poker, um, bookers, one of popular games on the Earth. People play it, watch on TV, and it's really a fantastic game. Talking about Texas holdem poker. That's the most common one, at least that people talk about most often on TV. So let's talk about some cool things about poker. Everyone has to secret cards. Now there's three cards or five cards. Eventually, it's been lost the plate there, out on the table. But everyone has to secrets. The cards are also a known quantity. There's a guaranteed probability, you know, that if you have two of the five that there's only two more five out there, and that lets you sort of know your chances Um every now, then, of course, you have what is referred to as the nuts, which means that you guarantee can't lose. But it's kind of fun that you know something and you think you have the best hand. But you might not. And that, probability is is great cause it's it's it's information, but it's not perfect information. The thing is, you get to share the set in the centre, which is fun, because if you know what he could have, plus what you have seen, this all builds up. You could see. But it's really fun. The best part about poker, those. It's full of bluffing and lies and intimidation and bullying with the chips. How people, you know, push their sunglasses and things like that never ignored the social elements that you could have at the table. There's some games that are purely based around social illness. There's a fantastic and called resistance where people just lie about being who the spy. If you've ever played wearable from Mafia, that game is purely about social mechanics. It's you think that someone's lying or you think that someone is telling the truth that's really rich, and it's a really great design. And finally, players and Booker went by having the best set of cards. Three of a kind, four of a kind, you know, flock straight flush, royal flush. There are sets that you can combine and build things with, and this is interesting. The reason I want to bring a poker is that I wanted to use it as an example to tell you about what else you could do with something like that. And I'm specifically talking about the sets of cards. What if you are a starship captain in a huge space fleet? But as the player you guide your ship with a hand of poker cards? Now the cards in the middle could be abstracted thematically as opportunities or ideas that the commanders can have and the cards you have in your hand. Our is your personality, or it's your ships weapons. And if you have the best set of cards, you could play them to fire on your opponent. And if I have a really powerful set, it's gonna be guaranteed that I'm gonna damage him. But if I play something like a pair or two pair that sort of week, I may not damage him, or I'll do only minor damage. I might when you use that on a fighter versus a cruiser. So I chose that because I want you to start thinking about how you could take a game like poker and more fit towards a game about battling starships. What else can you do with a hand of poker cards? Design is about borrowing ideas from others and repurpose ing them in new, inventive ways. How could you repurpose poker? Think about that. Let's talk about set collection and the amazing and utterly simple game of Colorado, which I need to find in front of me players. You one of two things on their turn. They draw card off the top of the deck when they put it in a row, or they claim one of those rose for themselves. Now all the cards in the game, as you could see here, are just colors. There's about six or seven colors, and you know there's blue. There's yellow. Over the course of the game, you're going to continue collecting the sets, and at the end of the game you score your best three sets of colors. So, for example, If I have three blues, that could be one of my best sets. And then I have two yellows that could be one of my best. That's I would earn points positive points for those. However, if I also had an orange and green, which aren't my best three sets, I would lose points for those. So, really, the entire game is just about collecting the cards You want three of them so pink, brown and gray, and then not collecting the rest and minimizing how much you do it. That's it. It's really simple, but it's so deep in it, so compelling. And that's set collection. You're just collecting colors of things and they mean something. So sometimes it's not just colors. You could be a set of numbers. It could be sets of symbols. What if you're making game about preparing salad? Your sound requires a certain assortment of ingredients, so you need a tomato card, avocado cards, letters, cards. You have different customers with different tastes. Somebody comes in and, like I want salad that has this or the chef could say, I need you to prepare this for me, something that has a Regula and Cherry tomatoes versus heirloom tomatoes so you might collect those tomatoes from the back for a certain customer who's worth a lot of points. Or you might save those cards and set them aside because it might be worth something more later. So the cool thing is, you got to figure out how you're going to use that. What, you're gonna collect it, how you're gonna spend it. Design is about creating interesting and difficult choices with few elements as possible. What can you do with only colors or merely symbols? Instead of red and blue? You could use a triangle and square. Think about those different elements, and maybe it'll fire something off in your mind. Another SEC election game I love just quickly give an example of something you should be playing is ticket to ride. Take a dry again is a game where you have cards with just colors, this black trained guards and pink trained cards. And over the course of the game, you might need to build a train from Berlin to Vienna, and so you'll spend five green cards to build a five link train on that route. It's really that simple. So you're just collecting the cars. You need to build the routes on the board. You spend them, you get to build something again. Set collection, just collecting stuff and spending it as you go. What about word games? Many of you have probably heard of games like cards against humanity or apples to apples. And in these games, you have a hand of cards with downs on them. Now is, could be people like, You know, Henry Ford presidents things like that for T shirts, just anything that could be a thing. And then every round someone draws an adjective fluffy, silly. And then you have to pick the one the adjective or a noun in your hand that you think best fits the adjective. So someone might draw fluffy and you play creamed corn. And then you do that secretly, and then one players the judge and they pick their favorite combination. That's it. It's that simple, and the games really fun and really goofy because it allows your personality to come forth and you get to play against different people based on who they are. It's really entertaining, and it involves as every player goes around the table, everyone has different personalities and all the joy and the depth comes from the social elements and the cleverness and the jokes and what I really love that sometimes you play with people who were really dirty. You play with people who are the actually play with people who are really serious, and it changes every round based on who you need to play to. What if you created a game in which you're writing for the newspaper, who can create the most bizarre story or tying the word elements of some form of murder? Mystery? What if you're a reserved creating spells from powerful words? If you've read Patrick or offices The name of the wind, you know that words in that story have incredible meaning. You know, just by saying certain words, you can initiate really powerful spells and do crazy stuff. What can you do with a word? Game design is about giving players and opportunity be creative. Your game should always let people feel clever, even if it's a simple is pairing an adjective within our So somebody took apples to apples and I don't know if this is exactly where they got the inspiration, but someone took the notion of apples apples, in which your parent a noun with an adjective, and they did it such that you're pairing picture, but these show you, all of them You're pairing some pictures with the story. So on my turn, I look at this card, which has a little cute little donut dollhouse, and I say Suzy's not coming home today. Happy, whatever that means. And you then need to pick a card from your hand that you think matches that. And here's the thing with the little girl being towed away by soldiers that could work or hey, here's one of her walking forlornly through the winter, she finds a flower. Does that work? I don't know. Maybe, maybe not anything is again, just like apples to apples. But with images this time and stories that are created by the player you create, this hilarious game of imagination design is about transporting players to their imagination. Your game should be immersive and enriching story in moments of creative wonder. Your game should help players create a story. There's a famous game called Tales of the Arabian Nights, where you have all these cards that have all these story elements on it, and the game is more about telling a story than winning. And it's really compelling for a lot of people, and your game could be that as well. You could create that story. Have you heard of a drafting game? In a game like seven Wonders, you have a hand of cards that are passed from player to player. So, for example, to borrow these, let's say this is my hand and every turn. I have to look through the cards, but I think one that I want to take and play in front of me, and I have to pass these cards to the person on my left. What's cool about that is that when you draft, you have to choose between picking something that you want versus taking away something that your opponent, the person to your left, might want. And it's a really difficult choice because you're like, I really want this logging camp, for example. But I know that he's building up his military, so if I take this military, he won't have it, and then that'll set him back. And I know what else he hasn't here isn't fitting his strategy, so it's a really difficult given. Take it to figure out what you want and that that one simple choice that you have a hand of cards take one. Pass the rest. That's beautifully simple, and you could create all sorts of interesting and difficult choices. Their design is about creating a broad range of choices about overwhelming the player. It's also about interaction, no matter how. So, if you take something, you remove that option from an opponent, how we give players choices that influence others at the table, and how many exciting options can you give them? Remember, we're gonna give them just enough options of their brains, are excited and feel the possibilities, but you don't want to overwhelm them and scare them away. Perhaps you've heard about deck Building. Dominion is just this huge game that has been so influence on the industry and is ushered in so many deck building games. At the beginning of the game, players begin with a crummy deck filled with basically money. That's it, and on your turn, you take your cars, you play them and you see how much money you can gather, which again you have money you buy all sorts of different cards without different possibilities. These cards have text like this car's worth to money into points with this car lets you buy more things and reduce the cost of other things. Or this card makes your crappy coins worth more coins. The cool thing about the game is that there are so many options, and there's so much different randomness and probability that comes in is that you can sort of craft your own strategy and you could experiment. See, well, I wonder if this past, well, we path will lead me to victory. And it may or may not. Oh, maybe this path will lead to victory, and it's really cool because you don't know what's gonna happen in return. But you sort of generally refine and build up this engine of cards and it it's beautiful because of how it let's you experiment. Now that you make mistakes and recover and try to outmaneuver opponents and make a better deck than your opponents, can you make the best engine? Can you make the best way of doing it? And so again, the way deck building works in case you weren't Fleischer, is that you you. You typically have cards in front of you. You play cards. You use those cards to acquire new cards, which you put in your discard pile. And then at the end of your term, you draw new cars from over here. When you have no more cards to draw, you shuffle your discard pile, put back over here and begin drawing from there again. So you basically put cards in their shuffle draw from there, but cars in there. It's really fun. Really. Cold design is about letting players experiment, attempt odd strategies, make mistakes and learn from their mistakes. Deck building is all about, you know, experimentation, timing and execution, and practice really makes perfect when trying to build a better light bulb. It's it's really entertaining. It's really fun. Let's talk about some other wars. Some of wars is a game that takes cards, and instead of having cards, be the actions that you play there actually soldiers, their little units that you put on the map. So over time you could put your cards in front of you, and it's like you're putting your army down. So instead of plastic figurines or dies or or complex shapes. You just use cards. And the cool thing about cards versus, say, a figurine is that you could put text on it. You could put its health on there. One thing that's great about some of the wars is on this card. It tells you what the creature does, damage for how much healthy has what he cost to put out. It's really simple. You don't have to remember anything so. But better part about. That, too, is also gives you a way to make a chest like experiment, but with more variety, because the car insularity have different text in different functionality. So if you are making a game about little soldiers and armies, you could do something like tanks and jet fighters. Or you could be a naval battle game. That's the second Punic War or the Battle of Trafalgar. You could make a game of football or soccer players or baseball, where you have your different players on the field and you move them around a run. You could see their stats there, so really don't think that you can't make cards into soldiers. You could do whatever you want with the card, and that's what makes hard, so flexible with cards you can create a variety through texting, just symbols. But because you can have right, it doesn't mean you should go wild. Be careful. Be sparing with your variety. Um, one of things about someone wars is that every creature has a different functionality, and that means you have to learn that functionality. Now. Someone worse is a fantastic job of it is one of my favorite games. But sometimes people go overboard and other games where they think that because they can do as much varieties they want, they should be careful with that. Let's talk about one more, and I just want to throw this out there just to say, Hey, you could do whatever you want. What if you made a game that is fully in real time? If you maybe remember the classic game speed that's played with a bicycle deck, you basically have cards in front of you, and you have a hand of cards and you play them as fast as you can while your opponent is playing them at the same time. That's really fun. Now. It's not for everyone. Can some people don't like the stress and the tension of real time games. But you could think about a game. For example, There's a game called Testing that's about to come out on Kickstarter that my friends designed and Tess in has it such that you have samurai warriors and you are trying to place sacred animals in front of you. And as you go, you need to quickly play the animals and then collective and score them. However, you can play your samurai warriors on an opponent to block him from scoring, and he could do that against you as well. And so you need to very quickly decide where to put your creatures when to spend your warriors, whether to save them for defense. It's a really compelling game that's very fast and very interesting and very tense, and it only plays in like, a few minutes to play a full round. So think about real time. One more silly idea you could think about is there are games have been coming out where you can throw cards like almost a drinking game or something that you would see in a bar, Um, like horseshoes or something like that, and you shouldn't think that just because it's not serious, you're holding the cards that you can't do it. You can throw cars and do all sorts of funny stuff with him. When I first started to give out board games, I had almost no knowledge of modern gaming. My experience was basically monopoly risk strategic. Go have played a game called here Escaping Colors. It's fantastic. Munchkin was sort of the game that brought me into the modern era that started opening my eyes to the fact that there's so much more out there. The best thing you could do at this point is immediately after this lesson is over. Just a few seconds more. Turn it off, go to your store, go to your local board game store, go to Amazon and target gonna Barnes and Noble and check out some of the games I list A bunch of the resource is below and listed. A bunch here could play these games, read their rules, find out what they did and get inspired by them. It's sort of like wanting to read, and you need to go read a great science fiction. All this sort of an idea for what can be done play the other games. Find out what mechanics excite you. Three game I designed for this class is an example. Is a drafting game Lately? I love drafting. I love the idea of how simple it is. You have this option of choices and you pick one of the new passing that's so simple and so easy. But there's so many choices you give a player. So look at the games around you and find something that inspires you and then bring it with you next class, where we're gonna talk all about brainstorming. The next lesson is about brand storming, beginning the design process and trying to put these ideas on paper and using them. Thanks for watching. 3. Build your creative space: Hi. Welcome back to lesson to In the last card lesson, we talked about just general card game mechanics cool ideas that you could potentially use to kick start your own idea for something you could do with the design. Things like drafting deck building, using cards for their action abilities. You could throw cards you could really time car design. Basically, from the last lesson your take away should have been, I should be playing other games. I can look at what these other games I could do on get inspiration from in this lesson reaction to start talking about brainstorming how to put those ideas that you have on to paper, how to start making something with those ideas. And I'm gonna do a small Siris of shorter video lessons. We're gonna discuss basic tips for creativity in this one. How to design with a mechanic. First idea how to design with a theme. First idea how to focus this creativity. So you actually go from crazy ideas all over the place to something you can actually use, And then finally, we're gonna talk about specific tools that will help you thes air. Both methods, as well as actual tools. So there are a lot of different ways for people to be creative, and there's no one right way I can talk about ways that I use. And I can also talk about ways that I know what friends using my other design peers use. And I'll try to give you those different ideas. And hopefully this gives you a sense for the best way to go about being creative and creating things. One thing is that you need to have a pen and pencil. You need to have a legal pad or some sort of notebook, and you need to keep it with you at all times because you should never let a good idea go away. This is one of the keys to when you start designing here in mining to needs to be open all the time, cause you might get inspiration from the food you eat. Ah, science fiction, all of what you just read. You might go a climbing at the gym with a friend and realized maybe I could make a make a game out rock climbing. You might see something on TV. You should always be looking for inspiration and all the things you do the senses that smells things like that. So always have a smartphone. I have pulled over on the side of the road on my commute home to record a voice memo. When I have an idea, have a small little notebook that you keep in your pocket. I have dozens of these. I keep them. Always have a notebook. Always have a pen and paper. Never let a good idea go to waste. The second thing that is absolutely central is that you need to set aside time and create a space for you to be creative. This is something that seems obvious and stupid and unnecessary, but it's it's It really is fundamental to having great creative experiences for me. I often find that my best creative ideas are when I'm mowing the lawn when I am at the park with my dog, not really thinking about things, or sometimes I'll just go to a cafe, get surrounded by some good sort of like just just a little bit in the ways that's going around. And I don't have the Internet. I don't have Twitter and on Facebook, all these distractions you want to remove all that stuff. If you were sitting at your desk like I'm doing right now talking to you, there's a chance that I'm gonna turn on Facebook, Turn on Twitter, do all these things that distract me, So you need to go find a place where you can get into your head. You're not gonna get distracted by the Ralph Wrong things. Bring yourself some creative toys. Bring yourself Rory Story cubes or action figures or whatever it takes to give yourself good distraction that keeps your hands busy and find a place we could sit down and re creative. Have time. Good Creativity is not often just pencil down, just just going and going. You'll find that sometimes you just need toe, sit back and stare and think and make sure you give yourself that time to do that. John Cleese has a really good lecture on this. That's really helpful, and it's really interesting, and I link it in the references you shouldn't watch that maybe already have agreed. Creative process. Maybe you have a good creative space, but just in case you're just now getting into this. When I started creating games at home, I had to figure it out for myself. You need to find a place where you can go and do great stuff. So that's it for this first basic lesson. Just that idea of Find your creative space and get your materials. You could start listing your notes. Watch for the next winner. We'll talk about how to create a game from a mechanics first perspective. 4. Brainstorming Mechanics First: Let's talk about different ways to approach your brainstorm for your game. So at this point, let's just assume you have an idea. And now we're gonna talk about various ways. You can explore that idea further. One of the ways is to explore from what is known as a mechanics first approach now by mechanics. I mean the various features, an aspect of your game. You know, all the different elements. Mechanic can be something like an auction mechanic, where you're bidding on something for money. Or like we discussed in the very first lesson a mechanic could be drafting. Or a mechanic could be deck building where you gather cards, spin them to get something. So you're thinking about the game more from the perspective of what are the guts? What are the interlocking pieces if you think of your game somewhat like a clock, all the mechanics or different little cause, and they have to toe link in together and twist and work well together. So the mechanics first approach is really great for people who, um, are described sort of as the the left brainers. These were people who are mawr mathematical, more about looking for the optimal way of doing something, someone who's really interested in strategy, someone who really likes chest and having lots of information. These air, the brainy people, um, you know someone is very logical, very precise. Now that may or may not describe you, um, and also may or may not describe how you like to go about games. Some of the questions you might ask yourself when approaching a design from a mechanicals perspective can be what decisions will my players make you know when a my giving my players precise decision points how well players interact with the cards and we're talking about card specifically for this class. But if you're doing another game, you could say how well players interact with pieces or the dice. You think back to the previous lesson about drafting cards or playing a set of cards in poker. You know, what is the specific thing I am doing with the cards in my hand? You could think about things very specifically, like how well players win the game. What is the goal of the game? How does a player earn points? Is the game about the last player to be standing is it up again about eliminating each other. A good way to focus it is to think about just the goal. So what am I going to do and how am I going to win? You can also think about what are the pressures working against the player. You know, if a player just gets unlimited actions or unlimited capabilities, if he has unlimited funds, that's not a good limitation. So you might think about, well, this is what the players going to dio and this is how is going to win? But this is the thing that's keeping him from winning. This is the back pressure. For example, you could have a drafting game where, uh, you could only draw a new card. If you get rid of another card in front of you, do you always have to give and take away? Now that might be a little complex. That might be a bit frustrating. You could also have a thing where whenever you play a card, it costs something to play it. So I have to spend limited currency in order to play this card. That's a good back pressure. If you think back to even Monopoly again, that everyone's played, you can only buy buildings that you can afford. If you think back to risk a classic game that everyone's played, you can only attack someone If you have soldiers to do it. Let's go toe poker game that many people have played. You can Onley bid and get into the round if you have the money to do it. So thinking of the back pressure is a good thing you could think about, Um, you may know, sir, Pattern here is that you're stripping away everything about this story and the theme you're not really answering the question of Why am I doing this or What is my place in the world have created? You're basically answering. How will these systems airlock? How will the game systems work? How is the game created? You're thinking about the mechanics now. Typically, folks who brainstorm in this manner, um, might not approach it with a theme. First, they might apply the theme later. They might not apply a theme at all. You could create a game that's abstract, where you're just combining colors like in Colorado again. We discussed last game, um, or you might be creating a game like Dominion, which is that deck building. And we talked about where there is definitely a theme. You're building up the kingdom and stuff, but you could change those Kingdom cards to a lot of different things, and it wouldn't really fundamentally change the game. So one of the things that people will push back against on the mechanics first approach is that it sometimes misses out on this story. It misses out on the theme, Um, but it doesn't mean it has to be that way. That's just sort of one of the downsides. One of the pro sides of coming from mechanics first perspective is that it allows you to be very focused. It allows you to go about your game in a precise manner. You're adding stuff for a very specific reason. Um, so, for example, I designed a game for this class we're going to keep talking about is an example for the class, and I refer to it is drafty dungeon because it's a game. We're exploring a dungeon, and it is a drafting game on. Remember again, drafting is you have a hand of cards, you pick one you selected to play now if I were to think about this game specifically from a mechanical perspective, the first thing I thought about it. Okay, I wanna have a drafting mechanic. Okay, so what am I drafting? And then I thought, Well, if I'm an explorer in a dungeon, I'm going to need new weapons. In order for me to buy those weapons, I would need gold. So how am I gonna get gold? I can get the gold by defeating monsters. So now here. I have a thing I'm doing. We're just getting new weapons. I'm gonna draft it mechanically. I have to get gold, which I'm gonna get from the monsters. So now I have to think about how I'm gonna fight those monsters. So perhaps I play cards again to stick with the drafting mechanic. Well, after I've drafted the new items that I'm gonna buy and pay for my gold, perhaps then I go into the dungeon itself, and every time instead of cards come to me. Those are the actions I'm going to take. Okay, So I'm gonna draft in action. In the sense here is that it's sort of like a fireman Lord of the Rings and Gandalf is shouting this way. That's what I'm doing is I'm drafting one of those actions. And perhaps those actions are things like Attack the Orcs, which will give me some more gold or its escape or its pull open a treasure chest. So from here, I'm trying to think about this mostly for mechanical. From this effective of what am I gonna do when I'm drafting that card over and over, and why am I doing to get gold? So it's drafting cards, getting gold, spending the gold to get more cards again. Mechanics are looking back on the mechanical elements. The individual pieces, the features of your game and all these pieces together will form a cohesive whole that allows you to have a structure and a system that should provide a solid gaming and solid focus gaming experience. 5. Brainstorming Theme First: So let's say you're someone who is creating a game, and story is something that's really important to you themes, something that's really important to you. It's important. Everything in the game, mechanic or otherwise, has a fictional reason for being there. You are more of a right brain, every one of those zany creative types, and this is totally accept away to design and brainstorm your game. Often players who players, designers who create games in this method I don't really think about it in a sense of what will the player be doing or where the mechanics will be doing? But it's more about what is the experience that I'm gonna give my player. What are they going to lead this away? What they don't leave this experience with, You know, in a mechanic expansion and a mechanic experience, they might say there was a really cool mechanic where I had to arrange the cards in a certain order and play the first card. But in a thematic focus game, your players might say, I had a really great time. I was a farmer and it was very exciting to be a farmer, into craft my fields and to see my farm grow. It's subtle, but it's a different, and it matters for different people with different ways of going about. I'm thinking so often after you think of this story and the different characters and how you're gonna go about doing it. Then you start thinking of all the mechanics you're gonna piece to go do it. So let's think about some themes and how you might go from a thematic approach to actually creating the mechanics and creating your design. Let's say you want to make a game about building a space station and you're gonna help explorers reach new planets. And what would that entail? Well, perhaps five space station. There's something about building. New elements of the space station are upgrading. That way, you can have more people come into it. Do I have to manage an oxygen supply? Will asteroids hit my station? Um, aliens attack. Perhaps Don't have to manage all the docking of the ships coming in. Do I have a crew? The crew fall in love. Do they have drama? They have stories, so you think about just by saying I have a space station and I'm managing a space station. Whether you're thinking about International Space Station that actually have versus a sort of sci fi fiction space station, you could think of all sorts of different experiences you could have just on that one premise. What if you wanna be a doctor? Are you conducting surgery? Is it? You know, like operation with the buzzer. Are you administering a hospital? You building out of hospital, reinvesting in different wings and hiring all star doctors. That could be an economics game, a bidding game, all sorts of things like that. Is there a global epidemic? How are you putting it down? Perhaps you've heard of the game pandemic, which uses a hand management mechanic and a set collection mechanic. Um, it's a good one to check out. It's very fun. Perhaps you wanna be a night in England? Are you exploring caves to slay monsters? Um, not a real night, perhaps from history, but one of fictional origins. Are you breaking into a castle or building a castle? Protect yourself for your castle dealers that gave architecture of medieval siege warfare. Perhaps your brokering treaties between warring houses. You have a game of Thrones type five. So as you could see here when you come at it from a theme thematic approach. You could have so many different mechanics and so many different experiences and one of the problems that this could be overwhelming for people because you keep chasing in different directions. You think, Well, a pirate ship has cannons and crew, and it has C'mon, Istres and as the British Navy chasing them. And then I want to try to get goods. And they have to where you could go down this path forever of all the different things you can do, and it could be quite overwhelming. Let's go back to my game that I talked about in the last lesson, which is drafty dungeon, and this idea was inspired, actually, in a thematic sense of Choose your own adventure, your with this classic books when you're a kid and I thought about what if it said, Draft your own adventure, but there are a lot of different ways I could have done. Choose your own adventure. You could flip cards randomly from the deck and have to deal with what is done. This is done often in a game like Talisman. You could throw cards to attack the monsters when you're choosing your adventure and see what the cards say and see what damage they do as you explore the dungeon, you can add cards to a deck and do like a deck building mechanic. Thunder Stone does this or you can actually have a draft mechanic like I actually implemented. I just spit those out. I came up with those when I was writing this class. It took me a few seconds, and as you could see, I just thought about exploring a dungeon, and I thought of four ways to do it with cards really quickly. Um, imagine how quickly your mind will spin out of control if you have components, loathing cards when you have dice in miniatures and all these different things. Now, if I were to tell you about designing drafty Dunder from a thematic perspective, like I said, I thought about that draft your own adventure, and I was really drawn to that notion off. I'm sprinting through a dungeon and I'm like Crap, What are we gonna do next? What are we gonna do? And you pick your card and this is let's go that way and then you run that way, and you you do all the heroic and diamond things. You push down the pillar that knocks a bunch of eight. You know that not so much of monsters back. And then you can run and maybe find that treasure chest. I was really inspired by movies like Lord of the Rings, where I promise that was the mines of Moria, where they're constantly chase and they're on their toes, or movies like aliens where again rippling them are always on their toes. And let's go this way. Let's do that. And so I kept thinking about what are all the things heroes could do in a cave or a force where you can knock down pillars you could open treasure chest. You can cause an avalanche. You could stand your ground and fight. You can snipe from the ledge you could sneak around in the dark. And, of course, I then had to create combat mechanics toe work. For all that, it was difficult to distill and abstract some of those from theme to something that made since the people on was cohesive. So as you could see, there's a lot of different ideas. You come out with a thematic approach. A lot of times I will be reading a fictional novel, and I think, How could I do this? And if you notice really good writers of fiction will pare down the things that they're doing. So is do not overwhelm the reader. They don't tell you about every system in the ship. They don't tell you about every detail of the alien species. They tell you what you need to know, and that's a good principle to take with you for game design as well. When you're coming at it from a thematic perspective, think about the things that are actually important about that theme. You don't need everything in the kitchen sink. Think about what does it really mean to be a hero? What does it really mean to run a pirate ship? And most importantly, what is interesting about that? Yes, there's a guy who had to sand and swab the deck, but that's not fun. It's more interesting to focus on firing the cannons and and plotting the course and finding treasure. So focus on those elements of the theme Now. In the last two lessons, I've talked a bit about mechanics approach where you're looking at all the interlocking pieces and making sure that you have a game system that works. If you have a set of rules in a structure and there's a game that comes from and then there's the thematic approach, which is all, Man, what would I do if I were in this story? What would I do if I were the hero or the bad guy? And I don't think there's really a right method? I don't think there's really do this one vs that one. I think the best path that you could do is do a little bit of both. Find a happy medium. A lot of times when I'm creating a game, I will think of a setting that's interesting to me. And then I would think of the precise things that I would do mechanically. I often find, um, you know, a mechanic that I like and I tried apparent with a good theme that I like Drafty dungeon seemed to make sense because I really wanted to get drafting mechanic and the idea of the theme of What are we gonna do next? They'll seem to pair well with each other. So if you want my two cents, try to find a way to combine the two. And if you have a very specific mindset, trying to go a little bit on the slider over to the other one because I think you'll find that it opens your mind a little bit more now you need to do what works for you. That's the most important thing about creativity. If mechanics are what you need to do, do mechanics. If theme is what you need to do, that's what gets you excited. That's what gets your pen to paper. Do that as well because ultimately, if you're not interested, if it's not working for you, then you're not gonna create anything. So you have mechanics on one side. You have theme on the other than you have sort of this middle hybrid off finding a setting and finding a cool mechanic and just finding a match made in heaven 6. How to focus creativity: We just discussed brainstorming from a mechanical perspective and also from a thematic perspective, you're answering questions like, What am I going to do in this game? How am I going to specifically manipulate the cards? But also, what is the story behind this game? Who am I? What's my point of view? Both of these are valid ways to go about creating a game. However, what do you do when you have so many ideas? And you just have so many directions and you're being pulled every which way and you don't know how to proceed, you don't know where to go. And really, the key is after you've brainstormed a little bit after you started writing down a few ideas is that you should start giving yourself a little bit of focus, and you should start giving yourself some goals. This is a good way to narrow down where your mind is going and to cut off some of those roads in order to have a little bit of focus. You want to actually get to your destination. One of the ways I love to do this personally is to set goals for myself out the outset of a project. I'll talk about two of my games that I've created and how I created goals for them. So with my first game that was published, Farm again. This is it here. I set myself a few goals, and some of these air thematic, some of these mechanical and all of these help me make the game rather quickly. One of them is that I was inspired by Farmville not so much because I liked it, but because millions of people were playing. And this is a couple years ago when Farm Bill was at its peak. And so I thought about Well, what if I could make a game about farming sort of like Farmville planting crops, waiting for them to harvest, getting money from them? But how could I make it more interesting? And the idea that came to me immediately when I said that I thought was well at interaction add ways to mess with each other. So that's how pharma guns take that element of messing with other farmers taking their crops. That's how that was bored, As I said. What would make foreign Gilmore interesting interacting with others? The second thing is that I wanted the game to be accessible and playable by 10 year olds, parents and casual gamers. I wasn't creating a game for hard core veterans. I was creating a game for people who may not really consider themselves gamers but like playing a game from time to time. People like my brother, who pretty much playing Monopoly and now a farm again, and that's it, because he's just not really interested in board games. And so that meant I could only have so many rules, and it meant that it could only be so complex. I had to do basic things like I have a hand of cards and I'm doing simple things with them . So get that focused me a little bit. And then I made it such that I knew who my target audience waas. If my game were aimed at veteran gamers, it would have been a very different game. It would been much more complex. The third goal is that it said it must play quickly. This sort of goes with the 1st 1 about it being accessible in reaching a target audience. But I knew that if it played in 30 minutes, I needed a way to in the game. I need to wait for the game to have a finite length. From the way did this was limiting the size of the crop deck. Every turn a player draws so many cards, which means that after about 30 turns, the game is going to hit. Just happens. It's going to end every time. And finally I decided that game had to use cards only. I limited myself to no coins, no paper money. Originally, I had that. But I cut it out, and as a result, the game fits in this little bitty box and you could put in a backpack. So those were the goals that really focused me a farm again, and I created something that was thematic. It kept my complexity level simple. I knew who my target audience was, and it really helped me focus all of my decisions, especially later on when I started brainstorming complex ideas like ways of handling crops . And I kept it really simple because I was like, Well, you know, this would push it away from that core audience. So another game I made, which is a bit more complex, it's sort of Ah war game on the boxes, sort of heady here. It's called Battle for York. I had some different goals for that. When they were a little bit different. I decided the game must be playable in an hour or less. A lot of war games take 3456 hours even. And that was just too long. That's why we won a game. That was an hour less something. It could be played over a long lunch break. If you work in a goofy company like mine or you know something, you could play multiple times over game night, one of the game to work with 2 to 4 players. Now that doesn't seem like a big decision. But it meant a lot because in a lot of war games, the goal is you're playing to players and you're eliminating each other If you have four players, I decided that elimination wasn't reasonable in the game. That took an hour. For example, if you get eliminated in minute 20 of an hour long game, well, that's not really fun. We're sitting there watching other friends play, so because I allowed for more players, I had to think about ways that you could win without eliminating each other. So again, that really forced me to think in new directions and also narrowed my thinking. If I can't just say, well, the person that captures this territory wins, I knew I had to think elsewhere. So to continue on that there could be no player elimination. Uh, everyone has to exist for the entire game. Another big thing. And this doesn't so much work specifically for this class, but it can show you how you could focus yourself. Is that I said, I'm not gonna have any dice. Thinking will have zero day so many war games used ice. If you think back to like classic games like risky roll dice, you see who has the biggest number that person wins. I want a game that had no dice, and that forced me to again think an entirely different direction. And then, finally, dramatically are one of the game to be inspired by Napoleonic warfare. You know, cavalry charges artillery, and this again focused me. If I'm not thinking about space lasers and not tell a porters and things like that are not thinking about works, I'm thinking about muskets. Cavalry artillery that really focuses all the things that then guide me on. Well, if I'm making a car driven combat system, what would have forced do and how it would affect things in a cavalry charge, So create some goals for yourself. Uh, once you've started creating these ones have a general idea of the direction you're going. But when you find that you're starting to go in too many different directions and you need a little bit of focus, one of the best reasons for goals is that you're putting a box around your creativity, and people think there should be no limits on creativity. But the reality is, if you put a box around it, if you have restrictions, if you have some limitations, you start coming up with really creative solutions with fewer pieces. You know, if you have unlimited access to anything, well, you're just always gonna go to your favorite toys in your different things. But if you force yourself to do something different, I think differently. Your mind will surprise you in your mind will come up with new things you hadn't thought of before, and most importantly, in a class like this, where our project is to create a simple card game using cards or cards and just one or two components like coins and things attract. It will help you limit what you're doing. If you think about well, I'm going to be a space pirate. But I can only do it with cards or I'm going to be a city building tycoon. But I can only do it with cards. What does that mean? And how does it change it? You might think of something interesting like, Well, if I'm gonna be a city tycoon in cities build upwards, maybe I stacked the cards on top of each other. But you could see the cards underneath it from the top and those of the different levels of a skyscraper. So I could see the first where I put was, ah, lobby with a gift shop. And then I put a business building. And then I put a condominium so you might come up with weird little things as you go about doing it. So one of things about goals, some of the easy ideas you can answer what is the goal of the game? How do clears win if you set that early on that might help guide you. You can also say what is the limiting factor of the game? What are some of the ways of limit choices? Not enough gold, Only one action return. How did players interact with each other? How do you change things with each other? Perhaps, to Sheriff Limited Resource is and farm again. There's only three fields, and everyone has to share those fields. So if I use a field, you can't use that field until you get rid of it. Perhaps you can attack each other like in a war game. Perhaps you trade with each other, like in Qattan or Bonanza. And how can the game surprise me? It is a fun question. Answer. Cause you might draw event cards for ah player might be able to do something that you weren't expecting. So just come up with some neat little goal ideas. Remember, games are an interesting games are a set of interesting decisions that sort of a classic, said Meyer Coat, the guy who created civilization, your players only a goal to work towards or many small goals, something it keeps them from accomplishing that easily and in ways that you can interact with one another and and keep each other from victory. So another way I like to focus myself is these two questions, which I always like to ask myself. The first question is, what is something that's cool to do? You don't make a game that is interesting to you should only make a game that is about something fun and cool, because if you're not passionate about it, it will be interesting. So what is something that's cool to do? For me, that means space and fighting, and I'm sort of a classic stupid boy. I like doing things with sticks and building forts and what is a cool way to do it? So you see here the first question is thematic was cool thing to do. I want to be a Space Ranger and what is a cool way to do it? How do I do it with the cards in my hand? It's a really simple distillation, and by answering those two questions in some way, shape or form, you'll set yourself down a path that is again focused and productive. So remember my game. Drafty dungeon for what? It's something cool to dio exploring a dungeon, getting new weapons, fighting monsters, being a hero, that seemed like a fun thing to do to me. And what is a cool way to do it? I thought, Well, but if you're drafting cards, what if you're choosing your decision? What if you're choosing your own adventure as you go? There might be 23 good choices every hand, but you can only take one of them. So what do you pick all the decisions? Some other good questions. Toe limit. You might be something like, What is the most fun aspect of this theme? Remember last time I talked about the pirate ship and others thousands of things you could do on the pirate ship, but really firing the cannons or being the captain or rating the merchant vessel? Those are the most fun things will. If you're making your first game and it's about just cards and it's supposed to be really simple, why don't you pick the most fun thing for the theme that you can think of and strip the rest away? Maybe you could make a more complex game later, but for now, think of what the most fun thing you could do and make your game. Just about that. And the other good question is, what is the one thing that must exist for this to be compelling? I would argue you can't have a farm, a game without crops or animals to raise. I would argue you can't have a war game without attacking someone. So think about the most important, fundamental element and make sure that that is the thing that most of your creativity goes towards. That should be what folks is. Your brainstorm, and the rest of things that will come up afterwards will support that decision. Well, we'll get you there eventually. It will help you flesh out the core, but focus, narrow your focus. Set some goals, and I think you'll find your brainstorm is a bit more productive as a result. 7. Advanced Brainstorming Mechanics: So we've been talking quite a bit about creativity. Brainstorm, coming up with ideas, putting them together, trying to focus those ideas and get to a point where you can actually start building the game. What I wanted to do in this final lesson for this part of the class is to talk about some other ideas of advanced ideas that you could use. And perhaps some of these tools will help you as you progress on your next step. One of the first ones I wanted to bring up and it seems silly and obvious, but it's really great is to start making a list. Make sure you have a legal pad, and on one side you can list out, you know, say the thematic ideas that you have. I like spaceships. I like works. I want to own them all. I wanna design clothing in a fashion, you know, Project runway style environment. I want to be alone. Award winning chef. I want to be the president. Just list things you want to do on the right. Let's not interesting mechanics. I want to spin cards. They're worth money. I want to combine cards to create more powerful abilities. I wanna have action cards. I want to draft something. Um, And as you build up these lists, you can Then on the second pass, notice where you have some similarities. Oh, it makes sense that Ike undrafted something while trying to run a store. I'm drafting business decisions that I could do is the manager, Or perhaps I want to use actions as the manager. I'm going to fire someone or promote someone. You could start drawing arrows between him and you could start paring your list and creating all these couplings because, you know, like I said in a couple lessons back, you really would have this ideal sweet spot of theme and mechanics. Were you in apparent gonna find something? It's a match. The other thing you want to join that list is just started scratching off ideas that you can't think of offshoots for. That you can think of more stuff for you could even create little sub bullets, you know? Well, alright, so I've started here. What else can I do with it? What else can I do with it? Where else can take this and the ideas that excite you that you clearly have 10 follow up ideas for Go down that path and the ideas for what you have just one idea are nothing else will scratch those off. Go where your minds taking you. And with that list, you can really easy Lee parse the data and see, man, I have 10 things here and I have nothing over here. So use that list, Start drawing some arrows and just connect the dots. Just just finally have nice, clean matches and find out where you know what excites you. One thing to note is don't scratch off bad ideas too soon because they might actually be a bad idea if you have something and it seems interesting to you, there's something sticky about it. Leave it. Don't just scratch it off because you thought of 50 things for this. That 1 may be the worst in this one. Maybe the one interesting. So if you've got a gut feeling about it, trust your instincts, something fun. Hold on to it. Um, member combined. Get stuff, dive, bombing, throwing cards. It's a match made in heaven. Do it. So the other thing you wanna dio and this is where we're going to get a little more complex is to create a core loop. So before you did this, you wanna have either a nice white board with a dry erase marker. You wanna have a big legal pad, posterboard, perhaps. Or you can use software like Physio or Google Drive has a drawing software that's basically a free, simple, cloud based visual program software where you can create shapes and put onwards and connect stuff. Basically, the core loop is a really simple, distilled graphical representation of the overall flow of your game. It's very mechanically driven, but by doing this exercise, it's almost like a design mad Libs. You're filling in the blanks of all the different pieces you want, and typically what I like to do is just take a rectangle. And inside there I put the action mechanical thing I'm doing, and then you draw narrow that to the next rectangle. So if I do this, he gives me be. If I do B, it gives me see and then see feedback to a So here that's my core loop for drafty dungeon. I'm gonna by gear, which costs money and then use that gear to fight monsters, which gives me gold. If I do the best, I win the dungeon, which gives me more gold, and then I go buy more gear. Really simple. It seems stupid, but it's very useful to focus me to be like, all right, this is actually what I'm doing. And I need to build content against this. So let's take a step back and go a little bit different. So players have gold. They have a limited currency for my game. I'm just using a little yellow tokens like these, and you can use coins or anything like that. You're limited with how much gold you have, and so you need to choose wisely and what you're gonna buy you limited by golden what you could do. And so you're gonna be drafting as you do it. Imagine you're all in a store. You're sort of looking to the catalogue, you know, like I want this thing. And I wanted that sort. No, Too bad it's mine. So you buy these items, you put him in front of you, Spender Gold. You then go into the dungeon and again you guys all start drafting. Now you're competing with each other. You're all sort of, ah group of rogues people who don't really care each other and you're tryingto make the most money. So you choose something that you want to do, and you pass into the player on your left. So once you're there, you take the next action you choose, the actual you're gonna take next and players with more spells or better spells, better equipment, mawr equipment who have a little bit more flexibility and a few more options to best the monsters or two different things on. One of the goals I had for the game is that you can go about the dungeon a different way. You can be just this big, meaty bruiser Rico, despite lots of monsters, and it doesn't matter what you have and you'll get gold That way. There could be the sort of sly guy who's creeping around, and he's He's setting traps and manipulating the dungeon around, and he's sticking things on the others. You could have the wizard who has also dispels where he can manipulate stuff from afar and and send monsters to attack his opponent. So I want to think of a lot of ways you could do it and you're gonna choose your choices based on that. And so again, this is the second phase. This is just doing stuff in the dungeon. But as you see, I started with that box and then I bloomed out from there. Um, you know, and based on the actions you choose, the dungeon will push back against you. And then finally you get gold based on how well you did in the dungeon, how well you did against the others, how many monsters you took out and you have that golden. You go back to the end to buy more stuff. So basically, the core loop of my game is by items by spinning gold adventure, earn gold, buy more items. By breaking this down mechanical, I was able to strip away the parts and see that players are spending a resource to obtain abilities, choosing their actions when they do it for the goal of having the most gold. At the end of it, all this feeds into it. It could have been done with a variety of themes. Now I focus it on dungeon crafting, going through the dungeon, succeeding here. But I could've been a mercenary firefighting company, you know, do I upgrade my fire engine to have better tools? And when I'm in the forest, so I put out the trees first, or do I build a fire line? You could get a band of wizards trying to craft spells. You know, I need to buy more cauldrons, more potions. You could even been a marching band where you're picking what instruments you want. And while you're in the halftime performance you're choosing which formations to display, there's a lot of different stuff you could do. And if you start from the simple core loop, you could just draw all around it and fill it out. So use the core lip. It's a really great way to distill the elements, to break it down, to see all the different parts, to maybe identify holes you have, and to maybe replace it with something that's more interesting If you're like Oh, man, half of my game is sweeping chimneys. I could have done something more interesting if you did that. Shame on you, unless you're making to Mary Poppins game, and that could be awesome. So the final tool I want to tell you about is that for some of my friends when they created game, they don't sit back and they designed they felt, sit back and brainstorm. They basically just start making the game from scratch on their own. They get an idea for a card and they just go right it. So if you have a stack of it next cards, if you like. I was when I started making drafty dungeon is at some point after I brainstorm after I thought about it that I needed to just start making it writing down ideas. So I started thinking about ideas for what I was gonna do in the dungeon. You could see here's my prototype. You just can't focus with a light. But these are a little simple index cards with pencil scrabbling on them. So I thought anything about well, I'm gonna catch my breath, learn opponent to the cave. I'm going to knock down the pillars and you open a treasure chest. And I didn't quite know what all these meant. As I started writing down the content, I started seeing similarities, places where I was using similar mechanics, places where I was revisiting the same area, so I realized, OK, Well, I need to have some form of combat. I need to have some form of getting treasure. I need to have some form deciding winning interaction takes place. And who has priority on that. And so, by building it, I was able to see the game come to life. And then after I did that for a little bit, I sort of put down, took a step back and went back to the thinking phase where I was thinking about. OK, well, I clearly need to answer this question about content as faras. How am I gonna fight monsters? How to more monsters Come and get me Would've spells mean versus weapons. What is gear do in the game? So I clearly had all these ideas and I just had to take a step back and do it. But if you if you go in and out of creating stuff versus thinking about stuff, you'll reach these fun crossroads where you could stop and catch up on it. So as a sort of quick recap for this overall lesson, we talked about, you know, having the right tools in creating the right creative space. You need to have a note pad A smartphone, a white board. You need to always have a pen and paper with you so you could take ideas. When they come to you, you need to have the right creative space. You need to set aside a room or a place in some time where you can let your mind wander where you could be creative. We're not gonna be disturbed by Facebook or your significant other. You need to be able to sit down and craft things you need to consider diagramming your game and creating it with a mechanical perspective. Thinking about the rules and the systems and the features and how they're gonna enter law can create something that's cohesive and exciting. You need to consider creating something from a thematic perspective, creating a story, creating a theme, something it's, you know, I'm this character in this amazing story. You need to focus yourself, focus your creativity, put a box around it by setting goals by asking simple questions of what is something cool to do and how will I do it? You know, remember, you're trying to create a small, simple set of interesting decisions for the sake of this game, you're creating a small card game for this class and finally used brainstorming tools like creating big long list, impairing the good items together, creating a core loop and then building the cars as you go, taking a step back and thinking, OK, this is now guided. My next decision on where I'm gonna go next. Your assignment for this lesson. Mr Brainstorm. Come up with three fun ideas and share them with the class. I'll be on there watching, providing feedback and ask me any questions you have. If you ask me a question about Is this something I can do? The answer will be, yes, it's a brainstorm. There are no bad ideas yet. Go and start putting some stuff together for each idea. Try to come up with a mechanic that you would use, as well as a theme that you would use. Now, if you don't feel comfortable coming up with three for that, maybe come up with the same theme that you're gonna do a three mechanics score one mechanic that you'll use with three themes. Just tryingto branch out and stretch your mind and be creative and come up with some cool stuff and think about the games you're gonna make and then pick your favorite. Maybe ask the class two a survey or pick the one that seems the most interesting to you. Um, you might fail with this one, but it's totally fine, because design is all about iteration trying new things and then finding the way it works for you and coming back to it. So the next class we're gonna talk about actually putting it together and iterating upon your design. Thanks for watching. 8. Fundamental Questions to Answer: So in the previous lessons, we talked about a variety of card game mechanics, different things that you could use for inspiration in your own game. Then we talked at length about brand story, how to create the ideas, how to come up with all sorts of different things you could do. Now we're gonna talk about actually building the game. The goal for after this lesson is that you sit down and you begin the longer, sometimes short process to create your game. We need to talk about some stuff, though. First, before we do that, we're gonna go through some basic questions you have to answer, which will focus what you're doing and help you fill out the details. Then we're gonna talk about basic car design a little bit on graphic design, a little bit on layup, but also some principles you should follow. And I'm going to talk about farm again and drafty dungeon and how we went about creating them. If you look down below in the resource is, you'll see links to some of my projects that I've shared in the cloud, and you could see how my ideas have gone about how I do some brainstorming, but also how I designed the cards and hopefully this gives you some ideas, and you could see how I used these tools and how I go about my creative process. So the first thing that you need to do before you take any more steps is you need to answer some fundamental questions about your experience. The 1st 1 is how many people are gonna play your game? This could be a solo game. It's not the most common thing that board games, but there are excellent games like Friday, which is a great card game that is a game replace Friday from Robinson Crusoe, and you play by yourself. It's a solo game. Is it a two player game? Are you sitting across from one other? Is it three or four players? Five players? Is it 10 players? You need to know how many people are going to play a game because that will answer so many questions about pacing, how complex it needs to be, how quick it's going to play and what you're going to do. I feel like two players is a great place to start, or 2 to 4 players is really standard single player games are rather complex. I would recommend you avoid that for your first game. The reason being that when you create a single player game, you have to create a game where the player plays against the games. You have to create a few games, you to create a game that eyes the player I'm going to play and you also have to create the game that I play against in the same reason that I would recommend you don't make a single player game is that you don't make a cooperative game yet because then you have to think of how are we going to play a game that we have to beat the game itself? So I recommend for your first experience you create a competitive game for two players or 2 to 4 players. The second thing you need to answer is how do I win this game? How Doe I get the most points? How do we decide who the winner is at the end of this game is the first person to be eliminated is that the person with the most points is the person with the most money is the personal has cards left. There are a lot of different ways you could do this. If you look to a game like magic, the gathering, you have quite a few ways, too. You can win the game, you in the game. If your opponent does have any more cards, you can win the game if your opponent runs out of life. So think about the variety of ways you could basically determine this person. When do you even have a race? You could say that there's some sort of notion of where you are in the world, so that's difficult to do with just cards to have spatial relationships. But you could do that. So think about how are people going to win this game that will drive so many of your decisions that will drive how you build the rest of it. You also need to answer. What is the thing that I am going to do on my turn? What is it that I do as a player? What is the action that I take when I created drafty dungeon? This action is when I am in the village. I decide what weapon are item I'm going to buy. When I'm in the dungeon, I choose what action I'm going to take. This is the thing I'm going to do next. And then I passed those cards. When I created for Armageddon, I created a game that had actually more complex. The drafty dungeon that you can plant crops. You can fertilize crops, you can harvest crops for points, and you could play action cards to do special things. So you need to know, what is it that your players are going to do on their turn now to focus you and to keep this simple? I would challenge you on your first game to make it so that players make one choice. They do one thing. They draw card and react to it. They get to play one card from their hand, where they get to play a set of cards that do one thing. This will be a little bit limiting. It'll be restricting. But again, the goal of this first project is to get your feet wet to design your first game, and the more complex you make it, the harder you make it, the more choices you have, the heart. It will be designed trust me that simply you get, the more likely we are to finish it. You want to get doing, make that first game. Once you get a taste, you want to back out of it. So I would challenge you to think of 3 to 5 actions that a player can take. But he can only do one of them on his turn or return. So this sort of pairs without last one. But you need to answer. What is the structure of the game is it turns versus rounds now. What this means is if it's a turn. Basically, the game starts with one player, and after she takes her turn, it goes to the player to her laughter right. Typically, you want to do clockwise unless you have a good reason not to. But you want typically do that because that's sort of the standard and the turn structure. Basically, people just keep taking their turns until the end. The condition is met or a player wins by reaching a certain goal. A round structure, however, is something more along the lines off. There are phases to the round, so in the first phase, everyone draws a card off the top, and in the second phase everyone picks one of the cards from their hands to play simultaneously. And in the third phase you reveal the cards, so that adds a bit more structure. It sometimes moves a little less fluidly, and you also have to understand all the different rounds, and what you do is a player in every round. He turned structure is probably a little simpler for your first experience, however, Turn structures don't work for simultaneous play. If you have a game that has 6 to 10 people, you might want to do something that has a round structure and simultaneous play to accommodate all those people. It really depends on the game you're making, but you need to understand. Are we playing in turns? Where are we playing in rounds? Finally, and hopefully, if you've answered those, this question will be too difficult. But you need to know what the components are for in your game Now. Obviously, we're making game about cards that should be your focus. That should be your primary mechanic. You can keep it simple with drafty dungeon. My gain uses a few small decks of cards, which are just index cards. Right now, that's all I have. You don't need anything fancier than that when you're prototyping. And also some wooden cubes, which I use as markers for the monsters. Um, when farm again first created, I had a game that was cards. There were crop cards. There were action cards. And then there were coins to determine how much money you had. Eventually, I incorporated that into the cards were actually crops and money at the same time. But we don't need to go into that. Basically, try to think about what you're components are and trying to have this few cards. It's possible again. If you create a game that only has two players, you don't need as many cards. Then again, a game like The Resistance, which placed with 10 players only has about 20 cards. There's two free each player. There's a yes and a no vote, and there's cards that tell them which character they are. So try to have this few components as possible will be simply simpler for you to update the game and iterated upon the game. That'll be simpler for you to make changes as you go now. One of the students in the class asked me the question of how many cards do I need for the game? How do I know how many cards I need? And the thing that I would drive you towards that are, What am I doing in the game now? If your a game where it's like drafty dungeon, for example, you need lots of different weapons and gear and Luke to be interesting. You need lots of different monsters and actions for to be interesting. So for the Gear Deck, it's about 50 cards right now and then for the action deck. It's a few sets of about 20 to 30 cards, and the way I broke that down is if every time a player takes an action, he's going to pick from four cards and he picks one of them. And so that's every player picking one card. And then let's say they do about three picks per round, and I wanted to have maybe three rounds in the game. So that's four times three is 12 for, uh around. And so you start thinking of like all right, well, I need that many cars with actually to pick, plus the cards that are around them. So you really want to think about what the players gonna do and how much cards you need for a variety. What is essential in farm again with the crop Kardec I chose 60 cards because if a player is drawing to crops every term, that gave me about 30 turns in the game, which felt pretty good. Felt pretty reasonable. Give or take, because there's cards let you draw more. That determined how long the game was gonna last. But the other thing is that I need to have a nice distribution of expensive crops where there's only about 10 of them, and then you have cheap crops where there's a bunch of and so again, I needed that distribution toe. Have enough fluff, so it felt good. So for your game, it's based largely on the number of players that you have will dictate the number of cars eating it. Also the amount of variety your game needs to be interesting. And then I would also say it's about how complex and simply want to be. If you notice a poker deck is only 52 cards plus two jokers and with only 52 cards. If you have a holding game of you know eight people, it's still relatively easy to know the probability of what's happening on the table. So if you had more than 54 cards at some point, that probability would get out of hand and it would be impossible to understand. So when you're trying, figure how many cars you need, think about how many players you have, how much variety you need. Um, how complex you want to be and try to have as few as possible and you'll understand this. As you play based on play testing stuff, you'll play the game you like. All right, I need a little bit more variety really playing the game and be like, You know, these cards don't matter and then you'll get rid of him and find that you don't really need to replace them. So I would say Onley make enough that you feel like you could actually test the game and give it try and then as you play it, let that be your guide. You'll quickly find that we're gonna leave the hypothetical stage, and once we make the game, you're gonna be in a place where you're playing it and reacting to feedback. But that's another lesson from now. So to reiterate, before you go much further before you can actually build your game, you need to understand how many people are playing your game. What were the components for your game? How does one win the game? What action do I take on my term? What is the one thing I'm gonna do it again? You could do multiple, but I advise you, Do you just want keep it really simple? And finally, what is the structure of the game? Are we playing in turns until the game ends? Are we playing in a set of rounds where we all do face one and then we all do face to? And then we all do face three and one final note about the rounds. You could do sequential within that. So in we all do phase one in turn order, and then we all do face to in turn order. And then we ought to face three internal. It doesn't have to be simultaneous. You do what your game needs 9. Designing Your Cards: in the last lesson. We talked about answering five fundamental questions to help you build your games. Actually, build that first prototype, I thought I would actually go through an answer. Those questions for you based on drafty dungeon. And then we're gonna talk about designing some basic cards, basic graphic design techniques as well as some things to follow. So how many players can play your game for drafty dungeon? I envisioned 2 to 4 players, although it's probably most fun with three or four players. What are the components for your game right now? I have cards. I have a deck of action cards. I have a deck of equipment and then I have some coin shaped wooden space. Wouldn't components for coins. And then I just have some little cubes to represent the monsters that in front of your basically is pushing these components around. I could use paperclips. I can use coins. Doesn't really need to be anything specific. How does one win the game? Somebody wins the game by at the end of three rounds. They have the most money, so there's a balance of spending money to get new gear versus just collecting more money in the dungeon. What action do I take on my turn? What is it that I do is a player? When you're in the store, you draft an item that you want to buy, and when you're in the dungeon, you draft in action that you want to take and doing. Those things will earn you gold. And what is the structure of the game turns round order for my game. It's round order, but everywhere there's only basically two rounds. There's the town phase where we go and we get cards from that deck and by them. But we simultaneously choose and the reveal and then passed cards. And then once we're finished that we go to the dungeon phase where again we get a different deck when we simultaneously pick. Now to make thesis simultaneous, play work and figure out who goes win overall, picking something and we could all affect each other. You have to decide when it happens. I came up with a simple idea inspired by the game liver Talia, where every action has a number in the top left quarter, and that number indicates the order in which it executes. So everyone plays their cards face down simultaneously. And then, if somebody has number five in the number seven in the number 19 in the number 20 the order is 57 19 and 20. That's the order in which they execute. So that's the rough idea for what drafty dungeon is. Hopefully, they give you some perspective for your own game when you're thinking about those questions for what you're going to dio. So when designing cards, there are some basic rules you want to follow. Now, in the references links below the top one is a Google drive document that shows you some of my card box. Some of the icons I used to create this I went to Game Dash icons dot net to get some icons , and it helped me create really nice looking, simple cards really quickly. I often find that I can write out all the cards in a spreadsheet, but sometimes it helps me just to start building them and making them to see what they're gonna look like, what it will be like in my hand. Um, as it is, I know you need to get used to drawing stuff you need get usedto listing stuff unless you get used to doing a lot of simple math and probability. So all those things were useful, so only switch over to the layout so I could talk to it. So one thing you would think about is that when you're holding a hand of cards, you wouldn't think about the fact that people are going to fan them out like this. And what you might realize is that this top left corner is what's actually going to be shown. If there's information that you need players to see while they're holding a hand of cards, don't put it in the top right corner because the cards will actually cover it up. You can only see it for this one, but this one's covered in this one's covered. So what I did for Drafty Dungeon is in the top left corner. I put all the key information someone needed to decide upon when figure out whether to buy it or not, and I created a very simple order, and it did so in the order in which the decisions will be made. If you think about how people read how information needs to the process, you could slowly stack stuff in the order that it needs to be processed. So for me, that meant how much does this cost? If I can't afford it, I won't go further. And then what is the item? And I decided to break my items up into weapons. And there are three types Range Magic and Malay. And then I had gear which are basically just passive effects by passive. I mean, it's something that you always have. It just gives you one little basic ability. And then finally I had spells which were weapon type things that could only have used in certain situations. So to represent that below the coins, I just use a G for gear, a w for weapon or an s for spell and then below that, if it's a weapon, I listed how much damage it would actually do. So once the player decided whether he wanted it could equip it from the top corner on the bottom. I put the information in the actual text. Now game text is a really tricky thing. That's something you want to be careful about. You want to use really simple text in as few words as possible one of the rules of game design is people will misinterpret anything and everything. I wrote the text on the cards for firm again 1000 times for every car. There's only 12 cards, and I cannot tell you how many times are we wrote them. And the problem is, is that some people still misunderstand them partially. This could be that the cards available to complex part of this is that I'm not good enough , it design. But the other thing is that people understand and process language in different ways, and you have to understand that so as few words as possible, you should pick words that have a few meanings as possible. Straightforward, simple. Keep it simple, so you could also try to do the icon approach. And this is interesting, actually, because if you can represent things simply through icons that is thematic to the game, you get a cool story boost, and also you will limit yourself in that instead of having crazy word driven cards, you can go through icons Now. The problem here is that it means that people will then have to learn and memorize the icons for drafty dungeon I created about eight icons and created a simple little index card that just list them all. And luckily, because it's a common theme that people are used to exploring a dungeon, people tended to get things, for example, because I represent monsters with a Q. If I put up plus you, it means you get another monster. You had another cute to you. If it says minus Cube, you lose a monster. But I didn't arrow with a cube. You give a monster to someone if you're consistent, and if you're simple, you can use the icon only approach. I would advise for your first experience to use a text approach, but to keep your text really simple. Now, when riding text based cards, one thing you want to do is avoid flavor. A lot of people like to write flavor text. They've seen it in Magic, the gathering they see in a lot of their favorite games, and this is sort of a trap. I feel for new designers. It's a distraction for you, and you're also putting stuff on cards that isn't crucial. The game. For your first few durations, you want to focus on how the game plays what it feels like. And if people are reading your flavor text when they're not really playing the game and don't really know about it, it's a distraction, and you're not gonna get the input you need. So avoid the flavor text for now. Save the space on your cards again. Simple, simple, simple. So another thing with car text is to avoid using passive abilities in cards. Now I know I said, I'm using them for drafty dungeon, so perhaps I'm a bad teacher, but the things is with passive effects. People need to constantly look and be like, Oh, wait, when I play this it Oh, this goes because whatever I play a card that says It's a sword. This card then says I get plus two coins and so you have people instead of sitting there thinking about what they want to do in playing it. You have people constantly being with weight. I do this and you get that. But then, if I you're adding a lot of complexity and interdependencies, avoid passive abilities. Also avoid multi use cards. This is something I really like to do in my designs. But again, if a card could be used in two or three ways. You're suddenly having to design a car that works in two or three ways. Think about all the complexity, all the variation there. Try to design cards that one simple, focused purpose as you get better at this is you explore your game, you'll find you could add more death. You can add more complexity, but you should work to keep your first it aeration of your first prototype. Just bare bones like make it functional, make it work and just walk your way through it. You'll find ways to add flavor, and after you play, you'll find where it needs the complexity. But start small and start focused. Finally, afford multi stage cards. What I mean by this, are is that some cards will say Do this, then do this. And if something there happens, do this the ideal for a car does, It says. When you play this, this happens and then the card is finished. You could discard it. You put it away. It's out of the game. However, if your card has multiple stages that has multiple things. Think about if a player has four cards in their hand, or five cards, and each of them has two or three things that it does. Or if it has two stages for it's Gonna take me forever to be like. This one does thes three things, and this one does thes three things you need to sort of consider the mind space of your player and try to think about how much they have to process, and you don't want to overwhelm them for drafty dungeon. I wanted players to have four cards in their hands, so I do think about each card had to do one really simple thing, and a player need to be able to go through these relatively quickly while everyone else is doing it. To not hold people up. And to do that, I avoided mostly passive abilities. I avoided multi stage cards and I avoided multi use cards. Cards have a singular purpose, and when you play them, they do that thing. If you follow those basic card text rules of play card, it does one thing. Your game will benefit so much from it. Be so in general to basically recap wire creating the cards, trying to think about how your players will process the information we raid left to right, typically in Western culture, English speaking things like that, and we process from top to bottom. Think about the importance of the information. Put the most important things top, release important things bottom and then use as little Texas possible that simple and very common language use it just like you would use it to speak with us and then with your cards . Just keep the text simple. Keep the cards focus to keep them pure. If you do that, your game will be much easier to play, and they will be much easier to actually conceive of the cards because you're just like this card gives me money. This card takes money from you. This card helps me plant crops. Keep it simple, and it'll save you so much time. 10. Creating some Basic Rules/Structure: in this lesson as we go through and actually start putting our games together. I wanted to talk about my early rules exploration for drafty dungeon to perhaps give you an idea for how you can go about thinking of the structure of your game. So you know about all the little components you need. If you think back to the core loop exercise we did in a previous lesson, that should start you off on the right path. You want to think about for your rules? Uh, what your player needs to know and how he's gonna go about doing now. To be clear, I do not think you should write rules yet for this, in fact, specifically to test what I'm talking about, I put my rules on an index card, and it's literally a small, bulleted list of things that you do in drafty dungeon. I think writing rules is an advanced designer. Have it. It's something that requires ah, great deal of skill and knowledge of the game. Other games. And I don't think you should worry about writing Rose at this point, but you do need to sort of understand how your game works and you need to be able to explain your game to other people. So I suggest you get in the next card and start thinking, What are the high level things that I could tell someone? Basically, this is how you play the game. So for drafty dungeon, there are two phases in the initial iteration. The first phase is buying items and gear. So I created the village deck, and this is a deck of cards of gear, spells and weapons. And originally, I realized that I would wanna have some level progression. You know, there should be expensive weapons. And if you've got a bunch of expensive weapons the first time you're playing before you had enough gold to buy, um, it would be frustrating that you could do anything. So what I did was I created two different decks. There is the first time you go to the village deck, which has a lot of cheap junkie weapons. And in the second time, when you come back with more money, there's the second time. So I have two different decks, so I split them up. So you shuffle them and every player gets four cards. He go around three times, and every time you go around, everyone picks one card from their hand of four cars, passes the cars to the player of the left, gets their new head of cards and draws. In other ones. They're back up to four cards, so you always have four choices of things you can buy, and you don't have to buy anything if you don't want. And in fact, if you don't want to buy something, you want to save your gold for potentially something better. You could pick a card you don't want anybody to have and take that out. Instead, you have to buy it. But if you know that the player to your left is looking for Bozo are magical spells, you could say, Well, I don't want Bob to have this, and you can remove it So we're spending gold, which then goes to a center pile. Buying cards were passing the cards left, and in front of us, I created a small, just a horizontal index card. A little way to organize the things that you get is a player, so in the top you put your spells on the right. You put your gold on the bottom. You put your gear, and on the left you put your one weapon just one weapon. And I did that to focus how much stuff you have that just allows you to arrange your cards . It's good to think about how players organize stuff because it helps them process these things. You want to be firm and precise when you tell players how to do certain things, because the more fluff you give them. The more wiggle room, though, misinterpret things, though, though, get confused. Trust me when I say that you must hold people by the hands and make zero assumptions when you're teaching your game, be very precise and be very detailed when you explain it. So after we do three rounds of the dungeon of the village, we're now going to go into the dungeons. So now I have a deck of action cards and again, like the village, I needed there to be tears of difficulty. So the first time you go through it's relatively simple. You can't die. You're also not gonna get that much gold. And so I basically created to cave decks, and the idea is that you go somewhat down in the cave. You clear it out, you get some gold, you go back out to the village, you buy more things than you go to the second tier of the cave. So for the cave, similar thing same is beginning. I wanted to create two very similar experiences between the phases. So everyone has four cards and you're going to pick one. Now, if you remember from the last lesson because we're all picking card at the same time, I need to figure out a way in which it would resolve. You have to think about that. Players aren't just going to do it at the same time and play nice again. You need to walk them by the hand. So I came up with a method where I gave a number on every card in players play them face down. You mix them up and you reveal him basically the player who played the highest card. In this case, the two would go first in the 14 in the 21 in the 24 now. When I thought about that, it gave me the idea that the order winter player cards could be faster, speedier things versus slower thing. So I made it such that sprinting down the hallway toe to lose some monsters would be like a one through a five, whereas opening a treasure chest would be slow. And that would be like a 23 25. That's much slower. And then the idea is, Well, what if I want to mess with the player who's opening a treasure chest? What if I do something to affect Bob while he's opening a treasure chest? So I pick a lower number knowing that I'll be a mess with Bob and that Bob happens to pick something slower. I can mess with them to hinder his efforts. So that gave me idea well, to open a treasure chest, you have to not be surrounded by by monsters. And so then I gave you ways to add and remove monsters, either few combat or spells. And so a lot of the game playing messing with each other has to do with adding monsters of them, killing your own monsters and getting gold for putting monsters on someone else. And then that opened up. Two different strategies of you could be the guy who just pushes monsters on others. And then I thought, Well, if you primarily get gold from killing monsters, how are you gonna get gold if you don't defeat monsters? So then I thought of at the end of the round, you'll get rewards based on how well you did. So I came up with some little things which I tested, which are the player who defeated the most monsters gets a bonus gold. The player with the fewest monsters gets a bonus Gold. Um, For every monster you defeat, you get a gold. So the idea is, I try to think of different ways and then this list isn't conclusive and it it wasn't the best. But he gave me an idea to give players goals, to shoot for ways to optimize and plan towards something. So, as you could see from my rules, I try to keep it as simple as possible In the actual mechanics, you're basically just draw card pats draw card past, regardless of what phase urine. However, a lot of the complexity for my rules comes to in the content. And so I had to think of what are the parameters that I want players to manipulate and So, as I said, you have ways to defeat monsters and attack them. Basically, if you choose an attack action, you do the damage listed on your weapon. So for every heart that's listed on the card, you can do that much damage to most monsters, just one heart. So you just defeat them. You remove them, I thought. About what? If you have spell actions where you can activate one of your spells, which let you manipulate things. And so basically, a lot of my game came down to ways to get money, ways to manipulate monsters, wasted defeat, monsters and then ways to spend that money. So that was my simple rule structure. So some ways for you to potentially think of your rules are begins goes back to the fundamental questions. But what is the player doing? So choose how to explain that to the player. This is what you're doing on your turn. Your going to first draw a card, you're then going to pick one of your four cards and play it. You will then do what that card said. You will then remove any you'll discard. The card you play draw back up to 1/4 and then your turn is over. So if you think about how simple can you make it? And really pick a theme you like? Like I said, and create a simple rule structure and then go through and just think about what is the simplest way Aiken do The things I've been talking about, what is the simplest way I can carry out my team and carry out my mechanics? Um, you think back to the lessons on different mechanics that you can use. Think back to the lessons on conceiving things mechanically and thematically and use those to process your rules. Basically, explain it like you would explain how to ride a bike, but now it's how to play a game. If you have any questions on the rules, I just want to reiterate you could ask me. Questions in the form will be there to help you clarify this stuff. I'll be there, help you flesh out these little pieces of your design, but you want to start putting these elements together and thinking about what am I going to do with my cards? How does it affect how I hold my cards or what cards I play. How am I gonna win? Start answering all these questions with your content, and then you're just going to abstract it onto the cards with simple text. 11. Testing and Iteration: up until now, we've almost exclusively talked about designing your game, brainstorming your game, putting it together on the cards. But we haven't talked much about actually playing the game you are going to find in your game. Design Odyssey that host all of the actual work comes to testing and iterating upon your design. All this design work is purely hypothetical until you actually play with someone until you put it in front of someone and wash their eyes as they read your cars Look at their face when they do something cool. Until you do that, you don't really understand what you're making. You don't really understand what you actually have. So I wanted to briefly talk about some testing lessons, some ways to reiterate and some ways to improve your game based on feedback from others. I would say for early tests, especially because you're new at this and you might make something bad. You want to play your game with people that you know, people that are supportive people that understand that you're testing something that's rough. You don't want to do this forever because if you just played with people who know and love you then they're just could tell you it's great. It's the best thing ever, and you want to get on a speed back from people. You want to start going to your local game stores and playing with random people. But for your first few tests, plan with people you know, play with people, understand that you're starting out. Sit down. Um, give them the game, explain it to him and also explain what you're going for. Give them an idea of, you know, for example, of drafty dungeon. I wanted to create a game where it feels like you're making quick and hasty decisions as you're running through a dungeon. If you give them that thematic and experience hint, it will help frame their feedback as they give it to you and as they play the game. So just give them a little bit of an idea. But don't don't poison the waters to us. Don't tell them exactly what you're looking for, because then it might steer their feedback differently. So as you play the game, ideally, you'll have enough people to play the game where you could just sit back and watch because you want to wash their faces. You want to see what are confused, have a notebook while you're testing. One thing I always like to do is I like to note all the questions people ask. Typically, over the course of multiple tests, you might notice that the same questions get asked over and over again. This could be due to confusing cards, as in the text you wrote. For a certain card is difficult to understand or cards that have dubious value. Somebody's like, Why would I ever play this card? It doesn't seem useful. You may want to make the card more powerful or you want to make its use more obvious. You may also find that icons don't make sense. And so perhaps you want to change the icon, or you'll find that people are missing something that's really important based on higher cards laid out. So be sure to list all the questions that people are asking and make notes off. So and so asked this at this time and don't worry about answering it, then just just make a note of it and you go back and do it later. Um, as people win the game, keep a note of the scores and then check out what they actually played with. So in drafty dungeon, if I noticed that over and over again over the coast of multiple tests that somebody pretty much always wins the game if they use melee weapons, well, then it seems like my game is in balance towards melee weapons. And so maybe I need to give other players more powerful or any to decrease the power. This is when you're going to start getting into tuning. Another classic Sid Meier phrase is to when you're turning again to evil, double it or cut in half. Don't worry about this minute tweaking. Don't add it, plus water plus two. It ifit's fits a three weapons would make it six or make it just one. Make big dramatic changes. You could start to triangulate the problem, the root of the issues and focusing on things. So trying to take notes on who's winning and why I take notes on how big the scores are. If you want a nice tight balance game, that's probably a really tight, close finish. It's probably not good somebody wins 45 to 2. If you're okay with blowouts, then that's actually quite good, and maybe it's a problem if the games really too close. Taken out of how long it takes people to play, you're looking for a game to take 15 minutes and people are taking 45 minutes. Find out why are they confused? Will, then maybe that's something that will be fixed as people learn in player game. Does your game have too many choices? As in, people have Tiu constantly decide to many different things, and as they stop and think, it just takes too long. How is the pacing? Do people sort of check out of the game and pull out their phone because they're waiting for Bob to take too much time? Watch people's emotions as they play the game, See how long it takes? Understand the pacing and again, just just take notes constantly. Be like, you know this person was a little bit slow. Want to find out why? Um, this decision seemed difficult to make. I want to find out way so the end of the game. Try to get it so that people will actually stick around and you can ask them questions like , what was your favorite part of the What did you like about it? What was released? Favorite part of the game. Um, what didn't interest you about it? I asked them what was confusing. What was hardest for you to learn. You want to have these nice, high level, open ended questions that lets them answer, and you could figure out where you need to go. And by doing that, you'll know the next steps because essentially, after every test for every few tests you're gonna go back to the design board, you're going to tweak what your designs all about. You're gonna tweak where you're going. So really, testing is all about observation and asking good questions to figure out what would help people learn your game and have more fun with your game. Now when I create a drafty dungeon. If the first test a few things became obvious, people love the loot. People love buying weapons in getting new gear. They had a lot of fun with that. That was great. The problem is that in the dungeon they only got gold for creating monsters, and they're used to playing games like Zelda, the Easter playing games like Diablo on World of Warcraft, and they all universally said, I want Luke to come out when I beat big monsters. I want to get better stuff. I don't want just cold. I want Luke. So I changed the mechanic such that for smaller monsters you'll just get gold. But for bigger monsters, if you can best them, you get to draw cards off the top, so maybe you'll get a really cool sword that you can and then equip, or you can then sell it for money. That was one change I made. Another change I made is that I found that the earlier iterations of the cards were too focused in two specific. It would say You have to use this spell for this or you have to use this weapon and the way probability works it's a cruel mistress is that there will often be cases where they wouldn't have anything interesting to do. Maybe like well, I don't have any spells, and this hand only has three spell, so I guess I'll do this action. So what I decided to do is make the cards have a specific use in a general use, and this allowed a little more flexibility if you actually look at my cards, and if you could see that there's cars that have red tips on the outside and then a specific weapon, that specific weapon is, for example, the sword is if you have a melee weapon, you could do the text in the center, which is more powerful if you don't have a melee weapon. You have arranged weaponry of a magical weapon. Well, you've been doing generic attacked, which basically needs attacked for the value of your weapon. Similarly, with spells, if you have the right spell ability, you can do that specific thing in the center that's really powerful. But otherwise you could do a generic spell like hell or get money something that everyone has all the time. And it's a way that even in the case where you don't have other choices, you can at least do something. So I made the cards more generic. I also decided that my combat mechanic needed to be a little more interesting, and I'm still iterating on this as we speak, but basically I've realized that I needed have different tiers of monsters that have the different tiers of loot. I need to figure out ways that more powerful monsters come in later in the game, and I also need to make it so that there's actually back pressures for having too many monsters, like If you can't fight the monsters, if your opponent pushes too many on you, that there's actually something bad that happened, so perhaps that means you lose gold. Is that too punitive, though? Can you die? What does that mean? Is your son Then come in and take over the dungeon after you died and he gets your gear or what? So I needed to make combat a little orange because right now is a bit binary in is a bit predictable, so you'll notice, uh, what people like and what people don't like about your game. And you figure out based on asking them questions and observing them how to tweak it, how to make it more flexible. Your goals for your first you test should be. How do I make the game easier? Learn if you want to just absolutely lop off Incorrect, really confusing things. If people are confused, address that first worry about balance later. You want address confusion first, then once people understand the game. You want to make the game more fun. Find out why people are bored at times were where people having down moments, trying to really enhance that front of people love fighting battles or people love having customers come into the restaurant. Well, maybe add more of that to the game. Make that a bigger moment. People love the big sale, Um, in a game about selling cars, make sure that you have more of those moments and fewer of the other moments you may even find after Maurin oration that you could just get rid of those things entirely. You know, there's the classic saying that a sculpture is perfect when there's nothing left to remove . And there's a thing with game design that you need to be willing to kill your babies, as they say, Basically, the things that you absolutely love your favorite parts of the game if you find your games going a different direction or it's fun for a different reason, don't be afraid to get rid of those. Don't hold onto things just because you think it's important. Every designer, myself included, has this thing without like, Oh, this is so important. I can't get rid of this. But the truth is, you can and you probably should if you find that your people who are playing your game like it for a different reason, go in that direction and hence that focus your experience towards what people love. Don't just keep things just because they can be there. So fix the confusion, fix the fund and then finally start worrying about bounce. How can you make the game more fair? How can you make the game take less time or more time based on the goals you're looking for ? And if you remember, it goes back from several lessons. You can use those goals, too. Refine what changes you should make. One of the biggest problem for designers is they either take no feedback, which is a mistake, or they take all the feedback. Which means your game starts going in Crazy directions is if you never stop brainstorming. The reality is is you need to filter the feedback you get based on your goals for the game , what you think is the most fun and refine it. Don't ever just discredit something out, right? Don't just disregard feedback. Think about what they're saying and why they're saying, If you have any confusion about those things, asking a follow up, people are reasonable and figure out, how can I incorporate their feedback to make the game I'm trying to make? If everyone is reasonable, if you ask these questions and if you're patient methodical about how you got a generation , you'll find that every time you test your game, it gets better and better and better. I highly encourage you for your first, however many tests it takes that just use index cards, but a Walgreens got a target by a stack of plain white Index cards. Get a pencil and just scribble stuff on there, and you're gonna race and change and just throw them away when they're done. And after you do that enough, you can advance to, you know, start using your favorite graphics program. There's like I said, there's Google Drive. If you have Photoshopped illustrator, those were fantastic. There is gimp and escape, which are free. You could start using those and then just print out on your printer cards using basic paper , and you can use bicycle playing cards as a back or even just use the paper itself, but you can put them into sleeves, which you can get at your local card store or at Target in the little card section and basically starts leaving the card. And then you can start using a little bit nicer art. You could type a nice clean font so that people don't have to read your chicken scratch. However, when you do that, you're gonna get a little bit longer to integrate because you have to go back to the computer. You got to enter it. You have to reprint out, have to recut it. You're after a sleeve it. So if you have a game that has, you know, 200 cards, and every time you have to change 100 cards after every test, you're gonna go crazy and you're never gonna finish your game. So don't advance of that step until the index cards of Fine and you're not changing that. And after you get there, you can start going two sides, like the game crafter dot com or arts cow dot com or printing plate productions dot com. And these are really cool sites. Recon print, high quality professional cards to make beautiful games that are for real, and I'll happily talk to you about this in the forms. If you have any questions again, you definitely shouldn't do this. And you definitely shouldn't rush to this until you're ready. But I find that I designed better when there's a goal at the end and for your first design , the chances of you finding a publisher, maybe low. Um, I went through several games before I found when a lot of people dio. But you can make a cool looking version for yourself and for your friends, and who knows, it might be something it gets published. So just to give you an idea, there is a goal That's more than just cruddy index cards. That look, you know, like chicken scratch. You can actually get to some place and I'll answer all these questions. You know, this is not the end of the class is the end of my first past lessons, but I wanted to sort of reiterate to you that I consider this a a two way dialogue. If you have questions, you want clarification on anything I've thrown out there. Um, if you want me to check out your ideas post your comments in the forum. I'll respond and if need be, I'll even make additional videos to answer more things. I see this is a conversation, and I see this is just the beginning. I really look forward to the creations you make and hopefully, maybe only get a chance to play some. I'll see you guys later and I'll see in the forms.