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Lewis Pulsipher's Blog   Expert Blogs

 

Dr. Lew Pulsipher started playing boardgames more than 50 years ago. He designed his own games, then discovered strategic "realistic" gaming with early Avalon Hill wargames, and ultimately earned a Ph.D. in military and diplomatic history. His book "Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish” was published in July 2012 by McFarland.  http://bit.ly/MSRs8e He contributed to ETC Press' Analog: Tabltop Game Design.  Formerly contributing editor to several role-playing game magazines and author of over a hundred game magazine articles, he is designer of Britannia (UK, US, and Germany in separate editions), Dragon Rage, Valley of the Four Winds, Swords and Wizardry, and Diplomacy Games & Variants. Britannia (2nd edition) appeared in 2006, with foreign editions (German, French, Spanish, Hungarian) in 2008. It was described in an Armchair General review of a 2006 edition as "ready to continue on as one of the great titles in the world of games".

Latest published game, Sea Kings (2015).

Latest published book, Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish, 2012.

Online audiovisual courses at https://courses.pulsiphergames.com:

  • Learning Game Design
  • Brief Introduction to Game Design
  • How to Design Levels/Adventures for Video and Tabletop Games
  • Get a Job in the Video Game Industry
  • How to Write Clear Rules (and game design documents)
  • The Joys of Game Design (hobbiest game design)
  • Brief Introduction to RPG design
  • Prospering at Game Conventions and Conferences

Current projects are at PulsipherGames.Com.

YouTube "Game Design" channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/LewGameDesign

Game design blog: http://pulsiphergamedesign.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lewpuls

 

Expert Blogs

Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 21 Dec 2015 01:42:00 EST in Design
Creativity in game design may amount to about 10% of the whole. The rest is more or less engineering/project management. Some people rely on trial & error (guess & check), throwing things against a wall to see what sticks. Find a more efficient method!


Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 17 Aug 2015 01:53:00 EDT in Design
Author Robert Heinlein says this about the nature of jokes: "Funny once, funny twice, or always funny." Games follow this pattern. E.g. I know people who have played my Britannia 500+ times. Which kind of game do you want to make?


Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 29 Jun 2015 01:49:00 EDT in Design
I don’t use the word “theme” any more, because there are so many different meanings. These meanings are not even close to the same things. If you cannot know how your reader/listener understands a word, you can’t use it (if you want to be clear).


Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 04 May 2015 01:51:00 EDT in Design
Look at the history of games (both video and tabletop) and you'll realize that "great innovations" games are very rare. Moreover, it's unlikely that the designers were deliberately looking for "great innovation," it just happened. Just make good games.


Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 20 Apr 2015 01:22:00 EDT in Design
The big difference in game design is between games with human opposition, and games without – two or more players versus one player. I briefly discuss the difference between games, puzzles, and "contests".


Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 30 Mar 2015 01:30:00 EDT in Design, Console/PC, Indie, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet
Modern gamers often mean "variety" (breadth) when they say "depth;" in fact gameplay depth is disappearing from games in general, led by "games" that you cannot lose (puzzles, many single-player video games).



Lewis Pulsipher's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 03/19/2014 - 04:50]

Has anyone examined whether allowing ...

Has anyone examined whether allowing under-18s access to alcohol as in France where many drink wine makes it less likely, or more, that they become alcoholic The same question applies for gambling. r n r nOn the other hand, I knew someone who was a beer drinker most of her ...

Comment In: [News - 01/29/2016 - 04:02]

In the long run, VR ...

In the long run, VR will succeed - because people want to reach the Star Trek holodeck stage for maximum immersion. Whether the current products will start that progression, or fail as those of the past have failed, is subject to all kinds of chance and unforeseen factors such as ...

Comment In: [Blog - 01/04/2016 - 01:31]

This is clearly the best ...

This is clearly the best thing from you that I 've read, and very well expressed. Absolutely, puzzles are designed to get solved, and games are designed not to get solved. Which means, the experience and process of designing a puzzle is quite different from the same for designing a ...

Comment In: [Blog - 01/05/2016 - 12:29]

I have maintained for years, ...

I have maintained for years, that if you cannot lose, then the game loses all possibility of depth of play. And if you can save anytime, you can 't lose. r n r nSaves are popular in considerable part because many games are actually puzzles with always-correct solutions, so that ...

Comment In: [Blog - 12/21/2015 - 01:42]

I see a semantic obstacle ...

I see a semantic obstacle here. Being inspired to do something is not at all the same as relying on inspiration to provide the answers you need in designing a game. The latter involves reliance on creativity, the former is much akin to enthusiasm.

Comment In: [News - 09/14/2015 - 01:59]

Any game designer worth his/her ...

Any game designer worth his/her salt listens to ideas and comments from anyone and anywhere. The source of the idea or comment has nothing to do with its merit, after all, you have ordinary gamers playtest games, yet you listen to what they say, otherwise why playtest