Lewis Pulsipher's Blog
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, Lew Pulsipher's Doomstar (Steam, 2016)
Latest published book, Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish, 2012.
Latest Kickstarter: Hastings 1066, Feb 2018
Online audiovisual courses at https://www.udemy.com/u/drlewispulsipher :
- Learning Game Design (parts 1 and 2)
- 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
- Playteseting: the Heart of Game Design
- Conceiving a New Game: Tips for Aspiring Designers (free)
- Prospering at Game Conventions and Conferences (free with coupon)
Discounts and current projects are at PulsipherGames.Com.
YouTube "Game Design" channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/LewGameDesign
Game design blog: http://pulsiphergamedesign.blogspot.com/
Almost always, when I talk with groups of people about game design, I quote Antoine de Saint-Exup'ery:"A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." How do we achieve this?
Why would it bother anyone that a game is too hard for them to play? The notion that it's "wrong" to make a game "too challenging" is another instance of Rampant Egalitarianism, trying to make everyone conform to the lowest common denominator.
Harmony and its opposite, the kludge, are fundamental to good game design. Games that lack harmony or have in-harmonious aspects have a handicap, though some succeed. Fortunately, most of the in-harmonious games are never published, or only self published
Many aspiring designers, and some who ought to have enough experience to know better, design by trial and error (guess and check) rather than by using an efficient method related to engineering and science. I illustrate this and try to explain why.
Computer RPGs (especially MMOs) appear to be a "grind" aimed at rising in level. People don't enjoy the journey, they only enjoy the destination ("I'm 80th level!"). That's why there's a big market for sale of items and gold and even entire accounts.
Party games, and to a lesser extent family games, have always been reward-based (you're rewarded for participation) rather than consequence-based (winning and losing is important, plus more), but hobby games were usually the latter. Not any more.
Lewis Pulsipher's Comments
[Blog - 12/03/2019 - 10:46]
I 'm reading Jon Peterson ...
I 'm reading Jon Peterson 's magisterial Playing at the World which discusses Gygax 's game designing in detail in connection with the origins of D D. r n r nWhile GG did get to one-figure-is-one person, it was Dave Arneson who provided the I am that one person , ...
[Blog - 02/05/2018 - 10:39]
That 's a hard question. ...
That 's a hard question. I can only offer my discussion of harmony in games https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/LewisPulsipher/20170424/296624/Harmony and the Kludge in Game Design.php . Bad complexity is going to make for bad harmony. r n r nBut being able to identify is doesn 't tell you how to make it, does ...
[Feature - 02/15/2007 - 08:45]
How can you have mastery ...
How can you have mastery if you cannot fail it 's impossible, false productivity or achievement . That 's the thinking of K12 where everyone is special and self-esteem without accomplishment is emphasized that 's contributed so much to the mess the USA is in. I understand the British have ...
[Blog - 05/24/2017 - 09:57]
I was surprised by your ...
I was surprised by your description of MDA. I thought that Dynamics were the interaction between player s and mechanics, not how the mechanics work together with one another. Hence the Dynamics are not solely a System function. but both System and Psychological. I don 't refer to Story because ...
[Blog - 06/19/2017 - 10:08]
You may be projecting your ...
You may be projecting your own preferences in gameplay to everyone. While many players are Planners, just as many I think, more are Improvisers. They don 't want to plan in the conventional sense, they want to take the situation confronting them and do something about it right then. So ...
[Feature - 09/15/2010 - 04:25]
Outstanding analysis. r n r ...
Outstanding analysis. r n r nIt 's fascinating how much video games follow the boss model, whereas many tabletop RPGs do not. I think it 's because players expect Bosses to kill them several times before success, whereas you cannot do that in tabletop RPGs because respawning and the lack ...