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Designer Sessions

The" Designers Sessions" series of events will revolve around game designers of all stripes coming together. We will discuss our experiences and difficulties of developing the systems, mechanics and lore of our hobby. We will debate the pros and cons of game systems, and assist each other with problems in the games we are currently (or hoping to be) working on.


We will also play test games that designers are currently working on, or just play games that we really enjoy.


Topics for this Session will include:

What makes a good feedback form?  How do I wrestle useful suggestions from the people playing my demo?


Why have a theme at all? Do Abstract/Strategy games need Spaceships and Dragons to make them interesting?



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    • Alfredo L.

      I'm no attorney, but since the rights remain with the author, it sounds as if you can shop your game around if it doesn't win. If you win, I'm sure there'll be a contract that's more restrictive (but you'll be a thousand dollars richer...)

      May 31, 2013

  • Kevin M.

    Good discussion, few tangents, well worth while

    May 29, 2013

  • Will H.

    My first United Geeks of Gaming meetup. Looking forward to meeting others interested in game design. Thanks!

    May 27, 2013

  • Kevin M.

    And my thoughts on theme:

    Theme is more important to marketing than to game design, unless you're designing to capture the essence of something from another medium: The Battlestar game is designed to capture the political infighting, suspicion of one's allies, and space combat which made the show so appealing. Arguably it does the space combat the worst of the three. Media tie-in games in general are poorly designed, or are grafted onto a game like monopoly where theme was slight to begin with, and the novelty of putting hotels on Endor wears off quickly.

    From a pure design aspect theme is irrelevant: if the mechanics are sound, if there's no one clear strategy to beat the game or one's opponents, and if there is replay value in that the game is somewhat different each time you play, then the game "works". Whether it's also fun depends on the player.

    May 10, 2013

    • Kevin M.

      If you stripped the Settlers from Cattan and just had regions of various colors producing color cards played in combinations to build victory points the mechanics would be the same, but it wouldn't be the same game: there's no story to it, merely a progression of events. Fluxx is more meta-game in that respect: the story is how each player has changed the game, wronged another player, etc. it's personal to the people at the table. (see also: most sporting type-games) Similarly Chess tells the story of the battle of two intellects. Once upon a Time is explicitly a story-telling game, with a player's cleverness and delivery as the hook for replay.

      May 10, 2013

    • Kevin M.

      Mechanics without a theme can be intellectually intriguing to game design and game theory wonks, but to the general population if there's no story, nothing to catch the imagination, then a game generally isn't considered much fun. Chess and Go as battles of wits side-step the desire for story, and I'm sure there are others I haven't considered.

      May 10, 2013

  • Kevin M.

    My $.02 on feedback forms: For non-gamers/casual-gamers: 1/2 sheet with questions designed around tick-boxes (what did you like? [list of game elements] what did you not like? [same list] what would make this game better? [expansion or alternate elements list] etc), Some yes/no questions (would you play this game again?) and no essay questions, but a space on the back for comments. Basically something quick to complete but allowing them to provide something more in-depth *if they want to.* A non gamer doesn't always have the terminology to describe what they liked or disliked about the game, and their game appreciation may not be as nuanced as an experienced gamer's.

    May 10, 2013

    • Kevin M.

      For serious gamers I think you can go with a full sheet form, possibly double-sided, and geared more toward rating questions: (scale of 1-5 how awesome is this game? etc) Radio button questions (How much would you pay for this game? A <$12, B $12-$18, etc) and a few short essay questions (Where do you feel the game needs work? what did you enjoy the most? what did you like the least? etc) again with a comments box for unstructured response.

      May 10, 2013

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