Alright table top designers, let's all try to find each other on this by posting your favorite/obscure design tips. One that came up last week:

Your cards will be viewed from different sides around the table so someone will see it sideways or upside down unlike in digital so don't stress about the orientation too much if it's not perfect.

@tonytran the complexity of a game is often, but not always, in pretty direct relation to the amount of different types of pieces the game has. Each type of component means that you have to add rules for how they're used, stored, moved, and generally interacted with.

They also complicate production, storage, setup, teardown, and how much space it physically takes up on the table.

Adding a new component to a game is not something that should be done on a whim.

@MildaMatildaGames @tonytran I've heard this said about "currencies" that players mentally juggle; VPs, resources, workers, etc. Anything that you don't really have permanence with and demands attention. I wonder if there is a sweet spot (by gaming audience segment) where these two ideas overlap in harmony?

@jcl @tonytran Maybe. I guess if you take Miller's posit that working memory can involve bits and those bits shouldn't/can't exceed 7 +/-2 (or, for more complex stuff, the - of the +/-2), then how many currencies can intersect with said data bits to occupy space in our working attention before we have to stop, empty the mental process, & start fresh on new effort? Assuming each piece @MildaMatildaGames references is one of the 7 bits, then it seems large, but do systemic interactions lower that?

@gpage @tonytran @MildaMatildaGames My general observation is that 7 is manageable, but also that at 7 (or more) the cognitive space is dominated by permutations rather than implications, and rapidly becomes either capriciously forky or a brute parsing problem. (7! == 5040 -- almost certainly a parsing problem)

@gpage @tonytran @MildaMatildaGames This can be helped by having a small windowing/low early branching factor, eg "Pick any of these 3 paths, each of which gives in a space 4 factors" where that population draws from the 7 but are only considered in small populations. In this way you get the surface/seeming complexities of more currencies without (most of) the silliness (but run the risk of trivialising your gameplay into being a parsing problem ala tic-tac-toe rather than _moves as offers_).

@jcl @tonytran @MildaMatildaGames I think that's a decent response to my question, and something to think about. Thank you.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Tabletop Social

We are an inclusive Mastodon community for everything tabletop (and more).