Game design thoughts in 100 words or less
March 19, 2019 6:37 AM   Subscribe

Design100 gives a bunch of tabletop-game designers a simple prompt and asks them for no more than 100 words on the topic. The blog started with "What is the one thing that tabletop games do better than any other form of entertainment?" and posts every week or so. Hidden Gems is a particularly good catalog of games to check out.
posted by Etrigan (5 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Some interesting stuff, here, thanks!

I was particularly intrigued by this answer to the initial question:

They bring people together with wine and beer but without any risk of discussing politics, religion or personal matters.

Because in thinking about the game I'm running:
-I'm definitely aware of the themes I'm weaving in around politics, even if it may not be apparent to the players (hell, the secretive faction they've just joined is dedicated to opposing authoritarianism; I'm also having to really rethink some elements of my major villain's motivation and actions and actions, because while I have no problem with the villain being an example of toxic masculinity, I want to be careful with how I portray the consequences of his actions in terms of those who have suffered as a result). I'm also trying very hard to be aware of diversity and making sure that when I make an NPC that I'm considering the gender, the fantasy race, etc., so that the world is diverse in general, not just when it seems like it would be "cool".
-Personal matters come up a fair bit! One of my players has two parents with dementia, and I work in the area of dementia care; another's mom wound up hospitalized; and so forth.

In short, I think that they provide a way for people to get together without those things necessarily coming up, but they may over time become part of the table as people get to know each other. And I think TTRPGs should be both places where people are comfortable and also where they get challenged a bit; what is the point of trying on a different role if you don't get pushed to think differently about things.
posted by nubs at 8:02 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]

Yeah, this is interesting.

And nubs, I enjoy people who don't want politics into their games and then suggest to play a nice game of Monopoly instead...
posted by Harald74 at 8:58 AM on March 19

"Games lead people to take off the mask they have in their current life." — Bruno Cathala

This is the quote that especially resonates with me. A group of us get together semi-regularly to play social deduction / bluffing games like Coup and the Resistance. We get competitive and give each other a pretty hard time, and live for those cathartic moments at the end of the game when we can reveal that we've been lying to each other with straight faces for half an hour, then hug it out and go home to our families and businesses.

I'll also get together with a friend to play hours-long epic war games. Ostensibly, the primary objective is to destroy each other's forces, but the deeper and more elemental objective is for us to temporarily abandon the mundanity of our day jobs and don the masks of military commanders. It stimulates a part of our psyches that just doesn't get that much attention otherwise, and I'm convinced that we come away from it all as better people (although wrapping up a space battle at 3 am last year was a bit extreme).

Although I'm fine with an evening of lighter fare like Uno (anything to get the family to the table), the performative and even theatrical nature of many board games, the opportunity to try on a new mask for a while, is what I find to be of the greatest value.
posted by vverse23 at 9:52 AM on March 19 [3 favorites]

I love social deduction games, and Secret Hitler is one of the best. If you can sit across the table from someone, accuse them of being Hitler, and then share a laugh and a drink afterward, you have found your people.

We have an all-day board game day once a month, and have a bunch of people over. In fact, board games are the common thread in our very close-knit group of friends. We're all kind of introverts, and games give us something that facilitates conversation and social interaction without the pitfalls of talking about religion, politics, etc.
posted by xedrik at 11:46 AM on March 19 [2 favorites]

Other than the Bruno's, I recognized one other person, who I think of as a BGG commenter rather than a designer...

OTOH, I will be checking some of these out

posted by Windopaene at 2:09 PM on March 19

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