Game Design is a pretty broad field. One of the big focuses of this site is BoardGames, and I guess you could break out CardGame?s as a separate category. RolePlayingGames aren't so much of a goal, but if somebody would like to develop it, please do.
A lot of ways to come at game design come from DimensionalAnalysis.
"I'll tell you a funny story about architecture. Around 1990, I was on the board of accreditation of Rice. And there I was, talking to students, talking with faculty. To everyone I met, student or faculty, the dean, whatever, I said, "Do you know the difference between a good building and a bad building, and can you explain it?" And everybody said "no." I mean, there were very few people who said "no, and I regret it," or "no, isn't that weird?" Some students did, especially the younger ones.
So when we had to write our report, and everyone said, "so what do you think, does this school pass?" I said "No. Absolutely not. It's a joke." And it became a really serious problem. They didn't know what to do with me. Finally, they got the president, because this was really embarrassing."
-Christopher_Alexander? Wendy Kohn Interviews Christopher Alexander on The Nature Of Order
The question we have, then, is "Do you know the difference between a good game and a bad game, and can you explain it?"
If you answered no to the first question, play more games. Take a look around the material on this wiki and try to keep some if it in mind as you digest each experience.
If you can state with confidence that one game is more whole, more alive, than another, but cannot state with precision why one is weaker - and then state with precision how to make it better - study the site. Try to apply the Patterns here. Find the places where they are right and useful, and reinforce them. Find the places where they are wrong or useless, and correct them.
For further discussions on Game Design, you can visit Game Design at Games Depot.
If you can answer yes to both parts of the question, please take some time to help your fellow designers out. Every page can be edited.
It appears some is trying to develop a universal pen-and-paper RPG engine.
from The medium of the video game book by Mark Wolf, as quoted by Donald Norman:
abstract, adaptation, adventure, artificial life, board games, capturing, card games, catching, chase, collecting, combat, demo, diagnostics, dodging, driving, educational, escape, fighting, flying, gambling, interactive movie, managment simulation, maze, obstacle course, pencil-and-paper games, pinball, platform, programming games, puzzle, quiz, racing, role-playing, rhythm and dance, shoot 'em up, simulation, sports, strategy, table-top games, target, text adventure, training simulation, and Utility.
Sure. You can make as many or as few categories as you want. I once got into a flamewar on rec.games.board with a big-name gamer who had it seared into his DNA that three was THE right number of categories, and that all games could be shoehorned into his Holy Trinity of Race, Acquisition, and Conflict. I'll see his three and raise (well, lower) him two: all games fall into just one category: game.
So here's an example of a board game category that is not listed above, and IMHO WikiPedia:Tantrix falls into it: ConnectionGame?.
I suspect there may be a tiny sliver of overlap between the mathematicians who study "game theory", the players who play games, and the game designers who, um, well... :-)
Yes, well, what about the creation of, you know, games? Games that are fun to play? Games that people enjoy playing? Games that are educational?
Mathematical game theory deals with strategy; it is therefore applicable as a *model* for most games, working at a very high level of abstraction(much higher than the design-prototype-test cycle typically used). One of the key factors in a game's longevity is in strategy; how many strategies are available, how other players will respond to your strategy, and what typical outcomes are. Although the most formal treatments are too exacting for a game designer, it is quite possible to develop fallacy tests that apply game theory to game design. (This would not work for games that are designed towards purposes and interests beyond strategy)
(Do brainteasers and puzzles go here, or over on the Mentat wiki ?)
A collection of tools, software, websites and other things that help making games.
... Is this general enough to apply to all kinds of games, or is it specific to computer games? (Is there a better place to talk about this book?)
Collins Game Design School
Parsons Game Design School
Is "gamification" a kind of game design? I first heard about "gamification" at the Open Source Ecology wiki.
Later I hear that Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky deliberately use a lot of gaming elements to build a Q&A website: "How do you encourage groups to do what's best for the world rather than their own specific, selfish needs? When I looked at this problem, I felt I knew the answer. But there wasn't a word for it in 2008. Now there is: Gamification."