047 – 15 Ways to Reduce Analysis Paralysis during Game Design

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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.

This week I am talking about a situation most of us have already experienced more than once. Let me give you an example: Your opponent just sits there, quietly, almost paralyzed staring at the board. Seconds go by, minutes go by and you start looking at your phone because there is just nothing else to do. The situation I talk about is analysis paralysis. And although analysis paralysis depends to a large extent on a player’s experience with the game and his or her skill to process information, it is also strongly dependent on whether a game tends to cause complex situations that lead to analysis paralysis or not. And since it is certainly no fun to watch your opponent pondering, I want to explore where analysis paralysis comes from and show you 15 possibilities you can consider when designing a game to reduce this effect as much as possible.

Topics of the show:

  • What is analysis paralysis?
  • Who is responsible for analysis paralysis? Player or Designer?
  • How to reduce analysis paralysis?

15 Ways to reduce analyis paralysis

  1. Remove game elements
  2. Remove resources
  3. Remove choices by adding constraints
  4. Remove choices by adding randomness
  5. Reduce player interaction
  6. Hide information
  7. Make changes of the board state incremental
  8. Reduce Math
  9. Be consistent and clear with mechanics and the goal of your game
  10. The obvious choice
  11. Reduce the impact of an action
  12. Reduce interaction between elements
  13. Make it too difficult to foresee the consequences
  14. Add a timer
  15. Simultaneous Action Selection

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