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.

§ 3.0 - Economy is balanced and transparent.

§ 3.0 - Economy is balanced and transparent.

§ 3.0 - Economy is balanced and transparent.

Interesting play requires meaningful decisions. Meaningful decisions require a balanced economy and information to leverage that economy in order to pursue a strategy.

Every game where a player makes meaningful decisions has an economy.

Some economies are more obvious than others.

For example, a trick taking game might not feature any spendable resource, but there’s an economy of turns, and of the cards in your hand.

Games that require real time play have an economy of attention and time—complex actions cost more, and simple actions cost less.

If there is an absolutely right or wrong decision to make at any given time, that decision is not meaningful. Also, without information, the decision cannot be meaningful.

This is the challenge for the designer: You must create an economy where there are multiple, understandable, equally compelling decisions at each moment in the game.

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