The Grind: PAX Prime
The Grind. We've all experienced it. We've all complained about it. Some of us secretly love it. But ask 100 people what it actually IS, and you'll get 40 different answers. Join us for a mechanical discussion of what "grinding" really means in games. Is it necessary for a "classic MMO?" Is it part of the genre of a "JRPG?" Does it exist in board games? Is it bad? Is it good? Is it necessary? Part storytelling, part game design, part game theory—let's explore the grind from all angles.
Atari Game Design
PAX East 2016
Game design is a wide subject. The best approach to mastering it is to focus on the fundamentals, and what better place to do that than with Atari 2600 games? Join us for a deep game design analysis of classic competitive Atari games like Outlaw, and how their core concepts extend to modern games. When you can literally count the pixels with your eyes, and the code will fit in your calculator, the core principles of good (and bad) design become starkly apparent.
Designing Game Rules
PAX South 2016
The rules of a game literally define it. In videogames, they are intrinsic limitations. In tabletop, players must enforce them. In all games, players need to learn them. There are good and bad ways to teach a game. From awful tutorials to unparseable rulebooks, elegant demos to hour-long slogs, join us for a mechanical discussion of how game rules are (and should be) written, how players learn games, and why so few people are willing to read a 100 page rulebook (nevermind the appendices)!
Mastering Game Mechanics
Presented at PAX East 2013 on Saturday in the Tabletop Theatre, our 21st PAX panel/lecture, in "Mastering Game Mechanics" we take you through a variety of "game mechanics" and consider their use and purpose.
Despite the staggeringly vast variety of games out there in the world, they draw primarily from a core set of basic mechanics. Many games which at first seem very different share fundamental design patterns, subgames, and strategies. What is a “draft,” and more importantly, what is its true function? Where to rondels come into play? What is the purpose of an arbitrary decision? What does “skill based movement” mean for a game? Are all auctions created equally?
Whether you are a player, maker, or even simply observer of games, understanding these core components will provide a surprising degree of insight into their nature. Join us in our 21st PAX panel to explore the nature, lexicon, design, and strategy of game mechanics, drawing from videogames, board games, even role playing games and sports.
Rym and Scott of GeekNights (www.frontrowcrew.com) appeared on two panels at MagFest X, and also performed this lecture: Beyond Dungeons & Dragons. Herein, they discuss the nature of role playing games, what their mechanics really mean, how they affect play, and why D&D is probably not the best system for the kinds of games you're trying to play.
There is a huge catalog of "indie" tabletop RPGs just as there is for videogames. Burning Wheel, Dogs in the Vineyard, Inspectres, Lacuna, A Thousand and One Nights, Mouse Guard, Prime Time Adventures, Pendragon, Freemarket, Dread, Kagematsu, Apocalypse World, these are a TINY smattering of the possibilities. Play the game that affords the play style best suited to your story, not the one everyone just happens to know the rules for.
If you enjoy this, many more of our lectures from other conventions are available on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD03FB084B11A0454