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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. 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, Dragon Rage, 2011.  Forthcoming very soon, Sea Kings, after successful Kickstarter.

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

Online audiovisual courses at

  • 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)

Current projects are at PulsipherGames.Com.

YouTube "Game Design" channel:

Game design blog:



Expert Blogs

Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 09 Mar 2015 06:48:00 EDT in Design
What makes for a good game? In this two-part screencast I discuss elements that help make any game for hobbiests ( as opposed to a party or family game) a good game. It's a summary, not grondbreaking, of course.

Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 26 Jan 2015 03:41:00 EST in Design, Console/PC, Indie, Smartphone/Tablet
While we usually think of boards in conjunction with boardgames, many video games also use the equivalent of boards, "fields of maneuver". This is a discussion of options.

Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 12 Jan 2015 07:09:00 EST in Design
This is primarily for beginners, not for experienced pros. There are many ways to start learning game design (which is different from game production). You can pursue more than one route simultaneously, even all seven at once.

Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 22 Dec 2014 02:36:00 EST in Design
Why should game designers go to Cons? I’m mixing video game (conferences) and tabletop game (conventions) in this discussion. Meet publishers and and funders Learn new techniques Stimulate ideas Find collaborators Find playtesters

Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 01 Dec 2014 01:17:00 EST in Design, Console/PC, Indie
Follow-up to the original 10. This was created for the benefit of relatively inexperienced game designers, as "pros" know it already. But summaries are often useful. The video (screencast) is more than 12 minutes long.

Posted by Lewis Pulsipher on Mon, 17 Nov 2014 03:44:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Design, Programming, Production, Art
The East Coast Game Conference (“The largest gathering of video game professionals on the East Coast”) occurs annually in April in Raleigh NC. This is a description of this year's conference.

Lewis Pulsipher's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 12/01/2014 - 01:17]

I suspect our differences come ...

I suspect our differences come partly from what games we make. I strongly prefer games with human opposition, and more than two players but at least two . There 's more variability in these games than in single-player. and the interaction between humans is less predictable than interaction between human ...

Comment In: [Blog - 11/10/2014 - 02:16]

Links to discussions of the ...

Links to discussions of the effects of advantage and disadvantage, which vary with the kind of number high or medium you 're trying to achieve. Certainly it isn 's 25 . r n r nIt 's a really clever mechanic, if you understand it correctly. r n r n r ...

Comment In: [Blog - 10/15/2014 - 02:02]

If your game is a ...

If your game is a continuous series of events that lead causally from one to the other, then you are maximizing the amount of unique situations that can occur. I think this idea is counter-intuitive to many, who think that random events occurring somewhere in there must increase the amount ...

Comment In: [Blog - 12/17/2013 - 05:18]

Much of the discussion of ...

Much of the discussion of game design theory hinges on semantics. Unfortunately, trying to define win and lose is hopeless simply because of differing perceptions of game players. r n r nFor example, let s take one of the most competitive games in existence, the boardgame Diplomacy. Draws are quite ...

Comment In: [Blog - 08/22/2014 - 10:24]

Hell the reason so so ...

Hell the reason so so so many games that come out suck is many people in this industry arent that good, the last thing they need is for someone more knowledgeable, talented, and experienced pointing it out to upper management and the world. Exactly. r n r nThe prevalence of ...

Comment In: [Blog - 06/20/2014 - 11:21]

. . . peoples willingness ...

. . . peoples willingness to pay is linked to their perceived value. That doesn 't seem to fit. Go back enough years and if you wanted a particular oldie song you might end up buying a Best Hits CD, or later, perhaps find it on iTunes. But as young ...