Tag Archives: Extra Credits

a cabin in the woods

I’m leaving in the morning for a long weekend of tomfoolery, camaraderie and isolation in the North Woods of Wisconsin. I’m bringing a few games and prototypes, as well as my Chevee Dodd-inspired Idea Box for rapid prototyping while I’m up there.

I mentioned isolation–I’ll have negligible Internet access while I’m up there; I don’t own a smart phone, and there’s no Internet access at the cabin. I’m really looking forward to a few days away from the Internet. My pal John Kovalic has been leaving his smart phone at home when he’s working at his studio. I hope it’ll help me be as productive as he’s been.

I’ve got a brand new game to work on while I’m there, and a couple others to play test. Additionally, this morning I had an idea for a game based on the old Persian fairy tale, The Three Princes of Serendip. I think it’s  a perfect basis for a game, and I want to explore the idea of serendipity in game mechanisms.

Before I go, I want to share this insightful video from one of my favorite YouTube series, Extra Credits. Fascinating stuff.

Snake and Ladders may be one of the oldest and one of the best “Mechanics as Metaphor” games out there.




designing good and accurate historical games

“Often we use history merely as a skin, and then leave the player to make purely gamey decisions within that setting.”

Extra Credits gets at the meat of a particularly tough nut here. How do you place your players’ actions within an historical* context and make them feel like the decisions they’re making are the decisions of a person from that time and place? It’s more than just getting the costumes right.

As a designer, I’m frequently inspired by history, but it can be a challenge to adequately convey that history in my games.

*This video specifically addresses historical games, but the ideas are applicable to any game where the intent is to generate a learning outcome.

failure isn’t an option; it’s inevitable

This, right here. I need to embrace this, internalize it. You do, too, if you haven’t already.

“Every failure is an opportunity for betterment. Every failure is another chance to get it right. Don’t give these away out of fear or shyness. Fail faster, because failing is how we get it right.”

Fail faster.

Adding this to my list of mantras.