Iteration: Fun with Game Designers

Amongst my designer friends, it seems like there’s nothing more fun then to redesign a game.  Stone reintroduced me to one of the best way to do this: the Game Design Lunch.

A Game Design Lunch requires ingredients.  Take one board or card game.  The most important thing is it has interesting pieces.  Multiple copies, or even multiple games are encouraged, so you have lots of pieces to play with.  Game Design Lunch takes this game and evolves it into a marvelous dish.  Add in some fun designers, and dive in!

There are some basic decisions to start out with.  Starting pieces?  Starting positions?  Which pieces?  Win condition?  Just pick something simple and intuitive.   Choose a basic shell of a game to start your lunch with (War, Dominion, Rummy, Chutes and Ladders).  You can use the basics of the original rules if it’s not very good, but we’ve found that choosing a new direction helps the creativity.  Then pick a first player and go!

There is only one rule in Game Design Lunch.   On their turn, each player may make a rule.  Any rule.  It takes effect at the end of their turn, unless every other player votes against it.  The goal is to take the barebones of the pieces and mechanics and discover an exciting game.

What’s interesting about Game Design Lunch is not only is it fun, and enlighting, but it’s extraordinarily fast.  It’s one of the fastest collaborative iteration methods I’ve ever seen.  One lunch is usually plenty to discover a game’s potential.  Games with potential tend to come back for multiple lunches, for refinement.   There are lessons for any design team in collaboration and speed in practicing Game Design Lunches.   Give it a shot!


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