How do you decide your game has reach its end point? Do you set a list of goals and when players get there, the game is over? Do you set the end game conditions very early in the design process?
When we started designing games we had a weird habit of never thinking about how our games would end during the initial design phase. We would get to our first play tests and very often we would have no idea how that game was going to end. At first I thought it was just part of our design style. What we have learned is that it is a major design advantage for us when it comes to the initial design phase and our early play tests.
Takes Away a Limiting Variable
When we are thinking about what we want a game to do, we never factor in end game conditions. I think a problem designers run into is the idea that you set a target and design to meet that target. During the design of the guts of the game there might come a point where you have to say “We can’t do that because that will take us too far away from the end game conditions.” I think that really hurts a game and really takes away from a designer’s ability to be free flowing with their ideas.
What happens when you decide the game will work better as a card game, rather than a game using a board? Do the pre-set end game conditions still work? What if you decide to drop an entire mechanic early in the process, can you still keep those pre-set conditions?
There are a lot of factors that can change in the course of designing a game. There are a lot of places your design can go and setting end game conditions early in the process can have the effect of being irrelevant or cause your game to miss its full potential because you had to cut an idea that did not work with your end goals.
We have found there are two major advantages to designing with no end goals to start. Determine value of goods and we can set the time we want players to play.
If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.