I think that every game designer should design a board or card game.
Even if you're interested in other games -- tabletop RPGs, video games, whatever.
Board games are almost pure mechanics. The flavor of the game helps players remember the mechanics, but the flavor rarely helps you win. Contrast this with RPGs, where the world and story are the reason you're there, the mechanics helping you to tell the story.
Moreover, players usually don't want to glance at a board game's rules every 5 minutes. This leads to interesting challenges for the designer. Your rules must not only be clear, they must be memorable
. They must fit together in a way that the human mind easily recalls.
For complex board/card games, this further implies the use of a framework. If you can slot your rules into a larger framework, the mind can remember more rules.
For example, The Resistance
uses the same rules for each mission, but those rules are modified based on the number of players. The mind can compartmentalize each of those aspects of the rules.
You also have to present all
your rules to the players. In a video game, the rules are usually hidden within the code. Many RPGs, particularly traditional ones like D&D, are broken up into sub-systems that can be ignored until encountered in play. While D&D 3E contains grappling rules, you can safely ignore them until you want to grab someone (or someone grabs you).
But in a board game, every rule can contribute to your victory or defeat. Your players know this. You learn to write clearly.
Which is a useful skill no matter the context.#7daycontentchallenge #gamedesign
(Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/derekgavey/4166668969