Friday, December 26, 2008

Simplicity vs. Complexity

I've been involved in attempting to make my game designs better (this is pretty much what I am always up to, but it's been a little more with school out for the holidays, this gives me more time). Anyway, I've come to realize a couple of things that I just wanted to put down here.

Firstly, I've really enjoyed designing Peril in the Promised Land. I like the game a lot and think it has a whole lot of potential. The problem has become that it requires a lot of play-testing and tweaking. I don't have a lot of time to do these things so I'm not sure how quickly the game will evolve and progress. I want to see it happen, I just don't have the time or resources right now. But I think this is mainly due to the fact that the game is very complex. First off it's a cooperative game. This means that a system has to be designed that challenges the players, who are working together. Normally there is some balance because players compete against each other. We have a pretty good system. Sometimes I just wonder if it's too difficult to overcome and then, how to make it a little easier. Not an easy task. Secondly, there are a bunch of rules. I'm still trying to put together the rulebook. It's very time consuming! And every time I explain the game to someone else, I think to myself, "wow! there are a lot of things to remember!" With this complexity comes more time to make sure it all works together "perfectly."

On the other hand, simpler games don't require the same time commitment (in my limited experience thus far anyway). We've currently got Hagoth: Builder of Ships that we're working on. It's competitive and a whole lot simpler. I've been keeping track of the rules as we've designed and played the game. I've just about got the rulebook put together (ready for review by friends anyhow) and it's only 3 pages long! Quite a difference. I'm struggling through the rulebook for Peril in the Promised Land and it's already 5 pages long, with several more to be added.

I guess I'm throwing this all out because I've pretty much decided that I'm going to attempt for now anyway, to work on designing less complex games. You know, the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle. Sometimes simpler is better (as long as the game is immersive, and therefore fun)!

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