Something Completely Different: Design Rules

With the current playtesting project underway, I feel like it’s safe to talk a little more about the idea of a Dynasty Warriors-themed miniatures game. Playtesting can be somewhat grindy; a mental break can only do us good. 😉

If we were to pursue this game, the first step would be to come up with the core rules guiding the design. I can’t imagine not starting with:

1. The decisions must be interesting.

Part of the original idea was to use the game’s elements–its rules, its components, its play, everything–to put across emotion, much like how authors use words and sentence structure. That kind of guiding principle deserves to be a rule:

2. All aspects of the game must help convey an emotion.

In that formulation Rule #2 is question-begging: what’s the emotion in question? If this is a Dynasty Warriors-esque experience, there’s only one good answer:

2 (revised). All aspects of the game must reinforce the players’ feelings of might, prowess, and general awesomeness.

(Wait, this is really interesting–how do we reinforce competing players’ positive feelings at the same time, given that one of them is probably losing? So tempting to spend time on this . . . this is why it’s dangerous to work on other projects during playtesting! 😉 )

That wasn’t all the game was trying to do, though: it was also trying to create a sort of story arc. I don’t feel qualified to delve into what a “story arc” is, but I feel comfortable saying that a three-act structure counts.

3. The game experience must involve three acts, as in a three-act story.

I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but it sounds like a lot of fun to think about.


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