Articles by Lewis Pulsipher

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Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3318   0
I recently listened to episode #16 of the “Ludology” podcast, about cooperative games.  As usual the discussion between Ryan Sturm and Geoff Englestein was quite interesting.  And it made me reflect again on a cooperative game I designed recently and played several times, but which I put aside because it doesn’t work suitably. The game is about up to four players representing star faring nations defending themselves against the attack of massive war-machine intelligences whose only objective is the destruction of all life.  You may have read Fred Saberhagen’s “Berserker” series that depicts such a situation.  My game...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3460   0
(Insofar as this is a blog, it rarely contains “completely finished” work.  One of the purposes of a blog–this one, anyway--is to rely on readers observations in order to improve the work.  (Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.)  Sagrilarus asked me to show something on the edges of my understanding rather than something completely finished, and chose this topic.  So here is what I have “so far”.  LP) You can make a case that “game design is all about frustration.”  I don't agree with that, but examining how frustration works and doesn't work in game design can be quite...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3177   0
Thoughts about some game-related topics that are not long enough for separate blog posts. ** I will be at PrezCon in Charlottesville, VA from Thursday through Sunday.  I'm scheduled to give a talk and question/answer session about game design at 9PM Friday. ** We've been talking about depth in games, and how games and gamers have changed.  The following quote from Dame Eileen Atkins, a famous British stage actress ("Dame" is the female equivalent of "Sir"), provides some backup for what I've been saying, from an entertainment realm other than games.  She was talking to a newspaper writer...
The Fundamental Differences between Board and Card Games (and How Video Games Tend to Combine Both Functions)
Analysis L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 9561   0
What are the fundamental functional differences between boardgames and card games?  I’m not sure how important this question is from a game player’s point of view but it’s certainly important for game designers (even for video game designers).  The obvious physical format is important, but now that we can convert physical non-electronic games to electronic formats the lines are less clear. More importantly, each type of game emphasizes or encourages different kinds of challenges and gameplay, regardless of the physical format.
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3159   0
One of the disadvantages of writing articles for magazines, such as “Against the Odds,” is that it can be literally years from the time it is submitted to the time it is published.  I recently sent ATO an article about different kinds of war related games, and I’m going to briefly categorize its 4,000 words in 400.  I will not respond to any comments here, sooner or later the full article will be published. Joe Angiolillo’s taxonomy of war related games: ?    Games about war ?    Wargames ?    Simulations Games about war ?    no connection with reality...
Depth versus Variety: a Fundamental Change in Game Playing in the Past 30-40 Years
Analysis L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 10511   0
30-40 years ago many hobby game players looked for gameplay depth (and occasionally narrative depth) in their games. Now most game players don’t look for gameplay depth but look instead for variety, which is quite a different thing. Many more people now also look for narrative in their games, but I’m not sure whether they’re looking for narrative depth or narrative variety. Game playing has become much more passive where long-term decision-making is concerned, and that's incompatible with gameplay depth. Yes, there's lots of activity in many kinds of video games, and short-term decision making, but the decisions and...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 5832   0
When someone says a game is "elegant", what do they mean?  I'm not sure, so I've done a bit of investigating. Is it used much?  In my Info Select database, which includes my own notes about game design and teaching, and material that I've scraped off the Internet about those same topics in the past seven years, there are 84 notes containing the word "elegant" and another 34 containing "elegance".  Clearly the term is used a lot in conversations and writing. What about dictionary definitions of the word? dictionary.com el·e·gant   adjective 1. tastefully fine or luxurious in dress,...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 4005   0
Recently I came across a new cooperative game related to Fourth edition (4e) Dungeons & Dragons, Castle Ravenloft.  The game lets each player act as a novice 4e character, complete with hit points, armor class, and at-will, utility, and daily powers.  There are replayable scenarios for 1 to 5 players, with the opposition governed by simple rules related by cards drawn from specific decks. For $50 the contents of the box are quite impressive.  There are several dozen unpainted plastic miniatures in various colors representing the five player characters, undead, typical dungeon denizens, a flesh golem, and the...
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 2590   0
    According to a recent tweetdeck, one of the trending:worldwide topics on twitter was 6 word stories.  In the past few months I've asked people to say 6 words about game design, programming, wargames, and casual games.     This time the charge is this: say six words about stories in games (or stories and games, if you prefer).
Member Blogs L lewpuls Updated January 28, 2015 3592   0
Recently a student in a video game design curriculum posted a note on the IGDA Game Design SIG about an assignment.  The assignment was to describe mechanics for a game and he said his instructor had told him he’d written rules instead, with the result being a poor grade.  I generally emphasize to students that the rules for a tabletop game detail the mechanics of the game, so the question became “what is the difference between rules and mechanics.”  And as I discussed this privately with the student I saw that part of the possible confusion was the...
68 results - showing 51 - 60
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