Today’s article is going to be a little different than my usual articles. Instead of blogging about game design, strategy, or history, I am going to be talking about this blog itself. Last Saturday marked the 1 year anniversary of my first post on this blog, and I though that would be a good time to go back and look at what I’ve learned.
This article is inspired by Mark Rosewater, who is one of head designer of Magic: The Gathering and one of my game design inspirations. He also writes a weekly column called Making Magic, and in that column he has several ongoing series. One of those series is his “hundred and counting” series, where every 100 articles he goes back and scores his previous articles. Inspired by this series, I decided to do something similar, but on an annual basis.
The Grading Scale
For this article, I will be grading each article on a scale from 1 to 5.
- One of my best articles, contains good information that I think will interest a large number of readers. Well worth the read.
- A pretty good article, but not quite worth a 5. It might not be interesting to as many readers, or just might not be as well written as my best posts.
- An average post. Some readers may find it interesting, while others may not.
- Below Average. Some articles may get this rating because they are just too narrow to appeal to many readers, while others may just be poorly executed.
- A very poor article, with very little useful information for readers. It’s probably a safe bet to skip these.
My very first article on this blog, and definitely not my finest work. I consider this article to be more of a warm-up exercise than anything – I was simply testing the waters of blogging. I mostly just talk about my past and why I decided to start making games. If you are interested in hearing that story then here it is, but for most people I think it is a safe skip.
The second part of the previous article, and much of what I wrote above also applies. I broke it into 2 because I tried to keep all my early articles really short, but I later started writing longer pieces so that they wouldn’t take several weeks every time. My early articles were also very badly formatted – just long blocks of text with no headings or images to break them up.
My first actual design article, which makes it better than the previous articles at the very least. In this article I mostly talk about what I think makes up good game management, and I think that most of the information contained is pretty obvious and not worth reading.
While it’s still not the greatest article in the world, I think this post is a huge improvement over everything else I had written up to this point. I finally started using images (which also means I started captioning images, which might be my favorite part), and I made it longer so it wouldn’t end up being a 10 part series. As for the article itself, I talk about some mistakes that designers make when creating a sequel or expansion to a series. I tried to provide interesting examples of each mistake, and interject some humor when I could. All in all, a decent article with some interesting examples that is well worth a read if you are interested.
If I’m honest, this is a bit of a step down. In this article I mostly talk about how I think Breath of the Wild succeeds as a sequel based on the criteria of the previous articles. It’s probably the closest thing to a straight-up game review that I have done so far, and because of that it is probably outdated. Also, if you haven’t played Breath of the Wild yet then I doubt anything I say will be able to convince you.
My first pun title! Although it’s pretty subtle. In this article I go through what I think some of the major issues were with the design of Pokemon Go. Overall I think it’s a pretty average article – not the greatest thing ever, but still pretty decent. I do have an update for this story though – I actually recently started playing Pokemon Go again. I decided to give it another shot, especially since two more generations of Pokemon had been released. I have to say, most of what I talked about in the article still holds up. I would have thought that after nearly 2 years of release Niantic would have fixed many of the issues with the game, but it is still as flawed and buggy as ever.
In this article I go through the history of the game Kaijudo. I have mixed feelings on this article. On the one hand, there is nothing that useful in the article – its mostly straightforward history and background information. On the other hand, the creation of this game really is such a crazy tale that I think it’s worth the read.
In this article, I go through some of the harmful strategies that are sometimes employed by the makers of free-to-play games. I rated this article a four not only because I think it is a well done article, but also because I think it’s an important subject. Not all free-to-play games are bad, but there are definitely some tactics that I would consider unethical and I think it is important for both designers and players to be aware of these so that they can avoid them.
In this article, I talk about the different challenges that designers face when designing games for different age groups, from infants to adults. It’s a bit of a strange article, and I think that the subject matter is a little too narrow to interest many readers.
I think the title is pretty self-explanatory on this one. In this article I talk about rarity in trading card games, including how to measure it and how to design for it. A lot of my articles deal with Trading Card Games because it is one of my favorite genres, as well as the first genre that I started designing in, and if you are interested in that genre of game then I think there is a lot of interesting information in this article.
Oh look, another Trading card article! In this article I take a look at whether or not Yu-Gi-Oh is a bad game (spoiler alert: it is). More specifically, I take a look at whether it is badly designed, or just mismanaged. If you want to know how a game’s design can make it unsustainable, this article might interest you.
This article picks up where the previous one left off. In part 1 I look at the design of the cards, and in this part I examine some of the rules before finally coming to the conclusion that Yu-Gi-Oh’s rules make it basically impossible to create a sustainable game.
Tabletop games have been a booming industry for the past several years. In this article I try to figure out the reason for this growth, as well as look at what the future might hold for this industry. If that sounds interesting to you, check it out!
Power creep can be the kiss of death for long running games. In this article, I talk about how power creep can damage a game, and how to manage it. In some ways, power creep is a good kind of problem to have because it means that the game has lasted long enough to get expansions or sequels. On the other hand, it can also harm a game’s longevity, and therefore needs to be managed carefully.
In this article I go through how the design of a resource system can completely change the design of a game, and go through a number of examples. .While this is another article that focuses primarily on collectible card games, I think it is one of my better articles. I also think that the information provided can be applied to other genres of game aside from just collectible games.
The first in an ongoing series where I go through some of the best and worst Magic drafts of all time to try and figure out what makes them tick. I really wish that I could rate these articles higher because they are by far the most time consuming articles to write, but unfortunately I think that they are pretty narrow. If I’m being honest, I mostly started writing this series as a form of research for my own designs, and they probably aren’t that interesting to most designers. If you are designing your own trading card game or love putting together Magic cubes then this series is for you, but otherwise it’s probably a pass.
Aside from being probably my favorite title of all my articles, this piece has many of the same problems as the previous one. Its the second part of that series, and it talks about the difference between linear and modular cards. Both of these types of cards have their place, and in a TCG expansion it’s important to strike the right balance. A good read if you are making your own TCG set, or are just interested in how they are designed.
This article talks about the problem of Quarterbacking, which is when one player makes all the decisions in a cooperative game. While a little quarterbacking isn’t bad, too much of it can take all of the fun out of a game. While some consider quarterbacking to be a “player problem”, and not a design problem, I believe that it is ultimately the designer’s responsibility to design around these problems. In this article I present a number of potential design strategies that can help minimize this issue in games.
The first in my “Game design in Real Life” series, where I look at what game design lessons can be learned from the world, or how game design can be used to improve the world. Disney World is a marvel of design, and I believe that designers of all fields can learn from it, including game design. In this article I talk about some of the lessons that I learned about game design while on my honeymoon at Disney World.
The third in my “Analyzing Magic Draft” series, and probably my most time consuming article to date (if you want to know just how long it took, you can check out the table at the end of the article). Alas, while I learned a lot of useful information for my own designs while writing this article, it may not be applicable to most readers. If you are interested in TCG design I think there is some good stuff in here, especially if you are designing your own draft cube.
Until Next Week!
That’s all I have for this week! I have only gotten through about half of my articles so far, but if I continued this could go on forever so I decided to split it in two. I know this was way different than my usual design articles, so I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic in the comments or on social media. Should I continue doing these types of yearly reviews, or is it a waste of time? Also, if you are interested in seeing more of my articles in the future, be sure to subscribe to the blog on Facebook, Twitter, or here on WordPress so you will always know when I post something new. And join me next week, where I will finish out the rest of the years articles!