Sunday, February 10, 2013

Should Game Designers Play Other Designers’ Games?

Because our weekly playtesting group at the Spielwiese is open to anyone to participate, either as a playtester or designer, we see all kinds of prototypes.  Some new designers bring fresh and innovative ideas that challenge and inspire our core group.  More often than not, however, the “new” designs are only slight variations of games that already exist.  And more often than not, the designers have no idea that their “inventions” have existed for some time.

My advice to every one of them: ''Play other people’s games.  Lots of them.  Look at the shelves around us piled high with over a thousand games of every kind, and tell me how many of these you have played.  And if you do not have regular gaming groups to try out many of them, read about them online or watch video reviews in order to get an idea of what has already been done."

Most game designers I know have the same approach. There is one very prominent designer, however, who disagrees.