Jeremy Morgan

Written by Jeremy Morgan, tabletop games editor, gamer, and software developer.
About | Planescape4E


22 September 2012

I have a game design confession to make. An appropriate term for my problem fails me, so I’ll have to use more words than I’d like.

I’m bad about reading just enough of something to think I know how it works before starting to design/hack. I typically start thinking about how to hack it before I’ve even had a chance to play the system as written in some cases. I know this doesn’t make me a terrible person, but it’s something I’ve been thinking more and more about lately. I think I need to shift my mental paradigm here. I think I need to put in more time with the material before attempting to alter it.

If I’m really going to do this game design ‘thing’, then I need to get serious. A good designer (in my opinion) plays a lot of systems and games to get breadth of knowledge, but also tries to grok each system as much as possible. That second part is where I’ve been phoning it in.

My plan is in motion, and I’ve got a couple of systems to try this new approach on. I’ve even been blogging about some of them recently. I’ve got some co-workers who are willing to play some games at lunch, so I might try and bring that to bear on this problem, too.

Want to help, dear reader? If you see me starting down a design path here or on Twitter, I’d appreciate your asking me the simple questions below.

  1. Have you read all of the rules at least once?
  2. Have you played it as written?
  3. Have you run it as written?

This post may seem odd, but it’s something I needed to get off my chest. What do you think of all this? Am I worrying too much, or have I hit upon something that might have dashed my ‘career’ against the rocks had I not noticed it this early in the game?

Let me know what you think on Twitter, even if you don’t typically respond to my posts.