052 – Interaction in Board Games and Strategy Card Games

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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.

As some of you already know, I’m currently working on a drafting game where the battle between two players is done automatically. This automatic battle has been a conscious design decision of mine, because I wanted to focus on the other aspects of the game. The drafting, the team composition and the positioning of the heroes on the board. But every time I play the game, I feel like I’m missing some form of interaction during the battle. Probably also because I mostly play games like Magic, where there is a very high degree of interaction. And exactly because of that, because I have the feeling that my game lacks some interaction, I wanted to look at all the possible forms of interaction in board games. And that’s what this episode is about today. 

Interaction in Board Games:

We play board games with our family our spouse or with friends. Most Board games are inherently social. And when we are in a social environment we as humans happen to interact. And we also do so in board games. I mean the fun during our game nights does not come from all sitting next to each other doing their own thing. That’s why I want to take a closer look at what player interaction adds to board games today.

Interaction adds Tension and counters Determinism

For me, this is the most important reason why I enjoy interactions in board games. Because Interactions add Tension. Tension comes up when there is uncertainty about a desired outcome. And this uncertainty can be achieved or increased by having limited influence over the outcome. If decisions of an opponent influence your desired outcome then this is for me a form of interaction that adds a lot of tension to the game. This can be a counterspell in Magic that negates your spells effect or a decision whether or not to block one of your attacks.

Examples of Interactivity in Games

  • Attacking and Blocking
  • Trading
  • Negotiating
  • Auctions
  • Fighting for Limited Resources
  • Reactions
  • Delayed Actions aka Presenting Puzzles
  • Triggers

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