Present Arms

Guidelines, easily tested statements of principle for game presentation design:

  • The only decoration is structure.
  • Everything is equally visible & informative, otherwise absent.
  • No difference without distinction or distinction without difference.
  • Only assume competency.

I’ve come up with such lists before, but they’ve been verbose or numerous or not-so-easily-tested or not phrased in terms of principles etc. eg No distractions, everything presented at equal weight and visibility, no additional emphasis or suggestion anywhere, never ever help the player but also don’t ever get in their way, etc. The above seems better in accuracy, also application and testing against choices.

Playtesting Redux

What may playtesters of my games do or not do? Are there secrecy rules? Expectations that they’ll keep mum and only talk to me or my assigns? That they won’t talk to third parties or potential competition?

No, it is simpler than that. The game-teach and playtesting rules are simple: you can take and send pictures around freely, you can talk about the game freely – good or bad or ugly or indifferent is all fine – but you can only do those things where I can see/participate (tell me about it), and you can only play the game (at all) either with me or with my approval (so I can observe and respond).

My games are all under Creative Commons licenses, I keep no secrets here, but I mind the conversation.

An Own Goal

I’ve a liking for games where the lack of rules is a bigger problem than the rules that are present.

Which suggests an aspect of style: complex, entangled, compromised positions in which extrication/differentiation is frequently worse than remaining in the (?abusive/exploitative?) relationship.

Yeah, that seems good.