Guidelines for Strategy Game Design

A functional and lightweight game design manual by Level 99's D. Brad Talton Jr,
on how to create tense, dynamic, decision-driven games.

§ 1.1 - Activities are clearly defined.

§ 1.1 - Activities are clearly defined.

§ 1.1 - Activities are clearly defined.

What will you be doing in this game? A good game lets you know right up front what activities are going to occupy your time while you sit at the table.

A great way to start any design is with a list of all the things that players will be doing during the game. Understand that each item on that list increases your complexity exponentially.

It’s ideal if the list isn’t very long. For simple games, it should be one or two things. For complex games, you can have three to five.

Pick one of these and star it, bold it, underline it, whatever. This is the main activity of the game—it’s central mechanic. Everything else should be orbiting around this activity.

These are usually the basic actions or phases of the game. They may also be the sections on the board, or something else. Try to structure the game in order to visually remind players what they’re doing and when they’re expected to do it.

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