Notes: Bad Games By Great Designers

Today, a healthy chunk of video watching people talk about their experiences playing games, found via Youtube random suggestion:

Notes

  • Most of these complaints about games are about what this player experiences and how they prefer to experience games.
  • Sam Healy’s complaints about Codenames point to one of Codenames’ strengths as a weakness: The game is largely intense, engaging, and quiet. It’s a communication game.
  • The complaints about Citadels suggest that games can have truly terrible failure states, failure states so deep players can be left without any way to play at all.
  • Even if the overreaction is comical, the frustration these things speak to is very real.
  • Consider that Zee complains about Bloodborne having a very grim theme.
  • Reiner Knizier’s huge library makes it possible he can have his weaknesses shown up. Iterate more you’ll see the problems you have as a designer.
  • Seafall is such an elaborate experience people are really resistant to call it bad first-up, but with enough time to percolate, all the good memories of the game fade away.
  • Mathy games are hard to love.
  • Werewolf as a game requires everyone to be bought into it, to work; yet the game sells itself as inclusive to large groups with a player count sometimes into the sixties.
    • This suggests there’s a base assumption the game has that lots of people want to play a game where they inherently can’t trust
    • It also suggests an assumption that lots of people want to play a game with knockouts as solutions
  • Almost all these complaints are exaggerated and gently so, but can be sorted into individual subjective preferences (such as the Bloodborne theme) and exacerbations of the game (such as Citadels being capable of leaving a player without a turn).

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