The Evolution of Strategy in Games

June 3, 2016 / 0 comments

Knowing a bit about the way strategy evolves in games can help climb the learning curve faster. When anyone sits down to play a new new game, learning to play proceeds in a pattern of repeating phases: gestalt, epiphany, pivot. That gives us a diagram like this: Let’s start with a definition of terms: Comprehension…

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Mafia Etiquette – How to Play Mafia and Not Ruin Friendships

January 8, 2016 / 0 comments

All might be fair in love and war, but in Mafia, rules are rules.  To that end, I’ve asked Mafia master, Jesse Raines, to give us some tips from his playbook on proper Mafia etiquette. If you have ever had a game of Mafia (or its popular wolf-themed clone, Werewolf) go sour,  for your own…

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Three Phases of Game Design

January 13, 2015 / 0 comments

I’m not sure how it works for other game designers, but as I look at my own process three distinct phases emerge: Opening—Brainstorming; choosing a form for the game and running with it. Closing—Pruning your new game; cutting ideas that don’t fit. Sealing—Fine-tuning the rules and words of the game; making sure it functions. Each…

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Speakeasy Informant Campaign

July 14, 2014 / 0 comments

Without pledges, no Kickstarter succeeds, however, there are other ways you can help Speakeasy reach funding that are not strictly monetary: Share the project on Facebook with your friends. Tweet about the project page. Post or engage in a thread about the project on Reddit. Pinterest, Instagram, Imgur, Flickr, project pictures. (Any one site). Thumb…

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Speakeasy Designer’s Diary

July 7, 2014 / 0 comments

Three years ago I started a game company called Waxwing. The idea was to create an event business that would let me design the games I’ve always wanted to create and to share them with people in Chicago. In the process of launching Waxwing, I created a few pervasive games  to be Waxwing’s flagship events…

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How to Make Pervasive Games Safer

June 17, 2014 / 0 comments

Given the dangers inherent in many pervasive games, here are a few guidelines to help game designers mitigate the physical and psychological risk factors in their games. Exactly how to do this differs from game to game, but there is a “toolbox” of practices that fall under four broad categories: Playfully restoring the magic circle….

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Why Pervasive Games are Dangerous

March 28, 2014 / 0 comments

There should be a Hippocratic Oath for game designers. Unfortunately, in pervasive games, “doing no harm” is easier said than done. The game designer who would create ethical games has to account for two factors inherent in the nature of pervasive games: The expanded nature of the magic circle. The hyper-emergent nature of game play….

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What are Pervasive Games?

March 10, 2014 / 1 comment

When I tell people I am a game designer they immediately think video games or board games. The conversation might go like this: Me: “I am a game designer.” Them: “Oh yeah, like video games?” Me: “More like tag.” Them: “You play tag for a living?” Me: “Sort of. More like I make up new…

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Epic Treasure Hunt Walk-Through

December 31, 2013 / 0 comments

In Fall of 2007 a few friends and I set out to make the most fun and complicated treasure hunt we could imagine on the University of Missouri’s campus. We put in hundreds of hours over the next several months and the result was a mind bending week of clue solving for the participants. Players…

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How to Make a Treasure Hunt

December 27, 2013 / 0 comments

So maybe you don’t have the budget to drop $360,000 on an epic treasure hunt like Goldman Sachs did as a charity fundraiser, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put together an unforgettable treasure hunt for your friends, family, or coworkers. Here are some tips from my playbook. Every treasure hunt is basically a creative…

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