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What Makes a Design Team a Team?

Game design is an endeavor that becomes more fun and more effective with a team, yet good collaborative environments seem relatively rare. That’s unfortunate. I think approaching design as a team sport can have a big positive impact on design quality.

Our company has one of the largest dedicated game design/development departments in the business. A chunk of them sit in an open cube area called ‘The Pit.’ These cubes don’t have walls, and in the center of the area is an open gaming space. Designers move freely between their workstations and the center tables. Frequently someone will call out “Anyone available to help try out this new build?” Usually several people will step up. The company culture rewards open debate, argument, and brainstorming. People feel comfortable being open with their thoughts, and aren’t afraid of being pilloried for dumb ideas. I believe this culture of collaboration is extremely powerful and very rare in game design and other creative fields.

Podcast #11: Balance

The most recent edition of the Games With Garfield podcast walks the tightrope between love and hate as the guys take on the touchy topic of Balance. Join game designers Tyler Bielman, Skaff Elias and Richard Garfield as they discuss negative feedback loops, Super-Scissors and tons more about the Magic Spreadsheet.

LINKS: Amasir’s comment | Chess openings | Tribes | WoW | Monopoly strategies | Warcraft 2 | Color hosers in Magic: The Gathering | Ancient Art of War | Dungeons and Dragons | Magic: The Gathering | Rock Paper Scissors | MTG Pro Tour

EMAIL: info@threedonkeys.com

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Podcast #10: The Ding

Level up with game designers Tyler Bielman, Richard Garfield and Skaff Elias as they discuss the Ding. Is this podcast skill-based? Why are undead the only real enemy? When is persistent chunkiness a good thing? And how is karate like frequent flier miles ? Listen now and feel yourself get more powerful in one quick session as Games with Garfield gets down with the Ding!

LINKS: Doing! | Dungeons & Dragons | War Games | Original Chainmail | Re-released Chainmail | Runequest | Call of Cthulu | GURPS | Warhammer Quest | Hero Quest | Descent | Titan | Talisman | Axis & Allies | Promotion (chess) | King me! | Monopoly | Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour | Frequent flier miles | Borderlands | World of Warcraft | Poker | Jonathan Tweet | Mafia Wars | Facebook

EMAIL: info@threedonkeys.com

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Podcast #9: Nerfing

We’re back and sounding better than ever! Join game designers Tyler Bielman, Skaff Elias and Richard Garfield for an in-depth exploration of “nerfing.” When is something “broken?”  Which is more important, power level or player perception? And what is the secret of the “magic spreadsheet?” It’s a hard-hitting episode about a soft-sounding practice when Games with Garfield takes on the nerf.

LINKS: Corey Macourek new media design | Giant | Chicken Blood Soup | Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer | Arcane Legions| Ultima Online | George Mikan | Wham! | Carcassonne | Cosmic Encounter | Magic: The Gathering | MTG Pro Tour | Moxes, Black Lotus & “Power Nine” | Wall of Wood | Rush (Zergling) | Zendikar “treasures” | Rochester draft | Netrunner | World of Warcraft

EMAIL: info@threedonkeys.com

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Podcast #6: Casual Randomness

Randomness, indeterminacy and Richard doing a French accent! All this can be yours as game designers Tyler Bielman, Skaff Elias and of course, Richard Garfield delve into one of the most important characteristics of games. The discussion covers the role of the roll of the dice and unearths the secrets of “rando-chess.” Think you hate luck in games you play? This podcast just might change your mind.

Notes: Replace the words “Preston Poulter” with “Tom Guevin” in you head and make sure to listen to the bitter end!

LINKS: Elo Chess Rating System | Euchre | Pitch | Monopoly | Club House Games| Bejeweled | Diner Dash 2 | Life | Small World | Team Fortress 2 | The chicken heart that ate New York | Magic: The Gathering | Wa-hoo | The billionth digit of Pi | Hidden Object Games | Lode Runner | Dominos | Backgammon

EMAIL: info@threedonkeys.com

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