041 – A year of Game Design and Podcasting in Review

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Hello fellow adventurers and welcome to the Nerdlab – Where we transform our gaming passion into incredible game designs and learn how to nerd like a boss. 
My name is Marvin and I am an ambitious game designer on my quest to develop a co-operative fantasy card game.
For this podcast, my vision is to take you with me on this exciting journey. Together we will explore the secrets of different game mechanics and reach the next level as a game designer.

The topic for this week is a bit different than usual. Today I would like to talk a bit about the highlights and pitfalls of the past year to derive my new goals for 2020. 

If you haven’t set your own goals for 2020, I recommend you listen to Episode 8 of the Nerdlab about Goalsetting. In this episode, I describe the process of how I set my goals.

The Nerdlab Podcast in 2019:

  • I’ve recorded 40 episodes
  • And learned a lot from this. The deep dive episodes about certain mechanics as well as the interviews helped me to broaden my horizon considerably
  • Episodes that I personally enjoyed the most were:
    • Episode 40 about keywords in Strategy Card Games
    • Episodes 28-30 on Drafting was also extremely fun for me because I explored many new games and really got into the topic of drafting. 
    • A highlight was of course Episode 22. In this episode I asked incredibly successful game designers like Richard Garfield, Jamey Stegmaier and Reiner Knizia what the most important thing is they wish they had known before they started their journey as game designers.
  • I have made contact with incredible people and I feel more and more like a part of the community already. By that I don’t only mean the successful and well-known game designers I interviewed like Isaac Childres (Gloomhaven), Eric Reuss (Spirit Island), James Wilson (Everdell) or Kevin Riley (Aeons End), but especially you – the listeners.
  • We are so many like-minded people and I really want to do everything in my power to create a community in which we all learn from each other. 
  • That’s why I’ve also set up a Discord Server (
    Join the Nerdlab Discord ) this year to connect us even better. To be honest, I am not yet so impressed with the medium discord for that purpose. Especially because you can’t structure topics as well as in a forum.
  • But I’m still convinced that we can benefit infinitely if we support each other. On the one hand by solving tricky design challenges. On the other hand by sharing our Kickstarter campaigns, social media posts and building a common mailing list.
  • The podcast also helped me to build a mastermind group. We meet weekly in Discord and talk for at least an hour about our goals, our successes and our failures. The great thing is that we now really know what the others are working on and we take the time to dive deep into topics. The advice from the group is extremely valuable to me. In the future we will also have online playtest sessions and support each other even more. 

My Game Design in 2019

When it comes to game design, I have worked mainly on 2 projects last year. The first one is my Adventure Fantasy Card Game on which I spent the first 9 months last year. A lot of time and effort was put into that game to get it to the spot where it is at the moment. I created several character decks, a combat system, an Enemy AI system and a tool that allows for creating diversified quests and telling a narrative that is well connected with the other game mechanics. I playtested this game a few times and made my adjustments and iterations. I really really like the enemy AI and the storytelling aspect of the game. I think it could be improved when it comes to the character decks and the overall flow of the game. The main challenges I have with the game are variance, tension, duration and character progression. 

The only reason why I’m currently not working on it is that I had a different idea for a game last fall. And as you know new is always better and exciting. While the Adventure Card Game really is a long-term project, the scope of the new idea was much smaller. The idea is to create a drafting gaming based around the concept of the autochess genre which was a very hyped online game topic in 2019.

The goal was to create a gaming experience that feels like a Magic the Gathering draft but is played more like a board game version of autochess in which you do not control the actions of the heroes directly. The combat is done automatically and who wins is determined by how synergetic your team is and how you chose to position your heroes. The focus is really on the drafting part and finding a synergistic team. Over several drafting rounds your team evolves and becomes stronger and stronger.

If you are interested to cooperate in some form on the podcast or game design please reach out:

Connect with the Nerdlab Community:
Join the Nerdlab Community
Nerdlab Website
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Join the Nerdlab Discord

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