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Lewis Pulsipher
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Teacher by profession, game designer by vocation, author by inclination, historian by education, hockey/football/international soccer fan by...something else?
Teacher by profession, game designer by vocation, author by inclination, historian by education, hockey/football/international soccer fan by...something else?

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Recent Videos on my YouTube Channel ("Game Design")
Recent Videos on my YouTube channel (“Game Design”) Jan 10 Excessively misleading game box covers: http://youtu.be/xkwbXlahmVI?a  Jan 8 One of my most-viewed videos of the last year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOBM3JD-sno&lc=z22meflabzrxyld3qacdp4350c4...
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Idle (?) Thoughts on Two Player Diplomacy
(This originally appeared in Diplomacy World #144) People involved in creation of something out of nothing really do get their ideas in odd places, sometimes. I get a significant “input” to my game design when I’m in the shower and while I’m lying awake in ...
Idle (?) Thoughts on Two Player Diplomacy
Idle (?) Thoughts on Two Player Diplomacy
pulsiphergamedesign.blogspot.com
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The Barbarian and the Baby
(This was written for my Worlds of Design column at ENWorld.org, but was rejected by both outgoing and incoming editors, because they avoid any discussion that might compare genders.) I read a long discussion recently that started with a GM asking others ho...
The Barbarian and the Baby
The Barbarian and the Baby
pulsiphergamedesign.blogspot.com
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I made a screencast (and later blog post) describing why designers need to design a game rather than throwing one together.
Are you designing a game or throwing one together?
Part 1 https://youtu.be/USZQipf4GLM 12/8/2015
Are you designing a game or throwing one together?
Part 2 https://youtu.be/UOUItO3uCSk 12/8/2015

This comparison came to mind:

In a Crocodile Dundee movie, a punk walks up to Dundee and his girlfriend, pulls out a switchblade pocket knife, and threatens them, demanding money. Crocodile (in his Australian accent) says "that's not a knife, mate. Now THIS is a knife" (as he pulls a foot-long bush knife out of his boot and brandishes it).

The punk runs away.

You can throw together some mechanics and playtest various options until a game works ("design by testing"), but that's not a good game, just as the punk's knife wasn't a really good knife. Simply manufactured, cheap, unimpressive.
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Has anyone read this book (whose title just just REEKS of con job): "The Board Game Designer's Guide: The Easy 4 Step Process to Create Amazing Games That People Can't Stop Playing" (on Amazon)

My skepticism meter is ringing hard. It's all about "it's so easy" (which it mostly isn't) and "just follow these steps" and "make a great game" (which almost never happens) aimed at complete novices. All about "fulfilling dreams". Not about the real world.

Blurb: "Do you have a board game idea, but can't get it out of your head? Use my 4 I's Framework, and you'll get your game to the table and quickly discover if it will be the next? Cards Against Humanity (hint: good!) or the next? Trump: The Game (hint: not so good!)."

Self-published, of course.

Even the comments are a little fishy.

Author is listed on BGG as co-designer of one game, with no ratings.

Reminds me of the books that are supposed to tell you how to make tons of money. Question: if you know how to make tons of money, why'd you write this book?

But I haven't read it, so I can't know for sure.
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**
Recent screencasts/videos mid-July ‘18: Nuts and Bolts: Analysis Paralysis, What it is and How to Avoid it: http://youtu.be/oMQUO_o3YGk?a   via @YouTube Top Eight Reasons for a Game to "Shine": http://youtu.be/vpR_ybGCWDQ?a   via @YouTube About the Channel:...
Pulsipher Game Design
Pulsipher Game Design
pulsiphergamedesign.blogspot.com
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I know that television fiction is very far from reality, but sometimes the illogical events just become amazingly blatant. There are couple recent ones that are real insults to the intelligence:

(Spoilers here for Star Wars: the Last Jedi and Game of Thrones fifth season)

Toward the end of The Last Jedi, a rebel ship is used as at hyperspace-speed ram to completely destroy an enormous First Order flagship and many star destroyers near it. One flick of a switch while aimed in the right direction. How could no one have thought of this in more than 4,000 years of hyperspace travel? If it were possible, militaries would have created guided missiles that destroy ships in just this way. After all, even some of the fighters have hyperspace capability, and the destructive force comes from the enormous speed, not from the mass of the missile. If intelligence is needed to guide the missile, military droids are more than up to it.

Even if we could possibly believe that no one had thought of this before, it destroys the entire military basis of Star Wars hereafter. Space battles become fights between manned fighters and self directed hyperspace missiles, with no larger vessels because they would be so vulnerable. Keep in mind, in Star Wars you can exactly pinpoint where you drop out of hyperspace, right next to an enemy fleet. And attacking force of fighters and hyper missiles would destroy any typical Star Wars fleet in such circumstances.

Why would Rian Johnson do this? Perhaps first because he couldn’t think of another way out of the desperate situation he’d created, but mainly because he’s a poor writer (at least for Star Wars). A self-indulgent hack.


The second example comes from HBO’s Game of Thrones, which I have enjoyed although it’s not as good as the books. But as we move into later seasons it is taking on more and more of the character of typical television fare, relying heavily on coincidence for dramatic incident. The insult to intelligence I have in mind is this: Jon Snow has managed to rescue about 5,000 wildlings from an attack by White Walkers on their coastal haven, taking them to ships that came from the eastern (sea) terminus of the great ice wall. But in the next episode we see these people on foot walking up to the northern entrance to Castle Black in the middle of the wall, on the northern side of the wall. Are you telling me that these people walked a vast distance instead of using much faster, and safer in the circumstances, sea travel to go back to the eastern terminus and then walk to castle black on the safe south side of the wall? Hell, no. The writers of the program wanted the dramatic incident, whether the second in command of the Nights Watch would open the tunnel gate to Jon Snow and the wildlings, or not.

What bullshit. (As I ranted at the enormity of this insult, yes, he did open the gate. Ho hum.)
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When you design games long enough, and like me actually write a book about game design, and teach it in college, it becomes far harder to enjoy playing games. Not every designer experiences this, but I know that some do. That's why I say my favorite game is the game of designing games.

Example: Where many see in Settlers of Catan a fun game that they play again and again, what I see is quite different. I see a trading game that fails to sufficiently encourage trade, so it uses kludges like the monopoly card and the robber (the latter especially harmful to the harmony of the game) to try to increase player trade and interaction. Doesn't sound so much like fun then, does it?

I think the early review (by Mike Siggins?) that rated Catan a seven out of ten was about right. It's not a great design, but many very successful games aren't great technical designs: witness Monopoly! Even Chess has serious design flaws (far too long (without a clock), heavily favors first mover, far too many draws, etc.).
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Lewis Pulsipher commented on a post on Blogger.
Have you noticed how many people want to know exactly what number they need to roll before they roll, even when there's nothing they can do to change whatever they roll? I tell people "roll and if it's close we'll figure it out", but so many people don't go for that.

I have to agree with the poster who added a fourth level of resolution.
Number Resolution
Number Resolution
abraxarba.blogspot.com
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Recent Screencasts videos) May 2018
Recent screencasts May 2018 (previous list is at http://pulsiphergamedesign.blogspot.com/2017/11/recent-screencasts-video.html ,
Nov ’17) I rarely get around to posting individual links to my
"Game Design" YouTube channel here, so I decided to list the most...
Recent Screencasts videos) May 2018
Recent Screencasts videos) May 2018
pulsiphergamedesign.blogspot.com
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