Scent of a Gamer

From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.

Design Time 2 – Decisions

Once you’ve decided to start down the design road, there are a few top-level decisions to make.

Right now we have – fantasy – skirmish – hero-driven

What does that mean rules-wise?

What does that mean game-wise?

These are the questions that need to be answered before pen is put to paper. Yes, I write my first drafts in a notebook, using a pen. I find it easier when sketching things out, as tearing out pages of scribbling through unneeded paragraphs is easy.

Rather than solid game rules (those will come later) what I wanted to write were a series of statements about how the game would fulfill its own outline. Here  are the six statement I wrote:

1. There will be two sides in every game – heroes and villains.

2. Heroes and villains can operate independently – there is no need to limit games to two players.

3. Each game will be scenario-based, with objectives for each side.

4. There will be multiple paths to victory for players to explore.

5. Scenarios will have a turn-time limit… the heroes have limited time to act! The intent is for scenarios to last 40-80 minutes, making this game similar to many board games in play time.

6. Heroes (and possibly villains) will have ‘side quests’ which if they complete add to their side’s victory


Firstly you’ll notice there is little that looks like a game rule. Rules are for later. In fact, this early, the only reason to have rules is to allow for playtesting. After the first round of playtesting, it’s likely that 80% of rules will be junked completely or changed. Don’t start with rules.

What I now have are a series of guiding principles to build my rules around. I want to enable scenario-based play. To have games over in around 1 hour, and to have strong characters with their own separate goals and motivations, even when they are on the same side.

On to the rules!

[Back to part 1]     [on to part 3]

5 comments on “Design Time 2 – Decisions

  1. Pingback: Design Time | Scent of a Gamer

  2. ogrebane
    November 11, 2013

    Nice start you do know you have the perfect play testers. Ado myself and eddie usually get together once a month for a mini winter retreat actuaaly it goes longer than winter retreat. Anxious for more


    • davekay
      November 11, 2013

      Great to know! I would love to use you guys, and my plan would be

      1: Go through a simple scenario as a demo
      2: Drop a copy of the rules and watch you go from scratch with no interference from me

      I had not realised that the get togethers were as often as once per month


  3. Pingback: Design Time 3 – Top or Bottom? | Scent of a Gamer

  4. Pingback: Design Time 4 – To Rule Them All | Scent of a Gamer

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This entry was posted on November 9, 2013 by in Game Design, Miniatures, Tabletop and tagged .
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