Game Design: Beauty

By 08/01/2018 Game Design

Now listening to: Wagner

How much better of a game Tokaido is because it’s aesthetically beautiful? +5%? +20%? +500%? If all its beauty were to be stripped away, what would its BGG rating be? Is there even a point in indulging in this question? No, there isn’t. But a lot of gamers of a certain “kind”, shall we say, sure do like to spend their time disparaging on the aesthetics of a game. More often than not, they are angry that were it not for its readily apparent beauty, a game would be perceived as the trash it actually is. But a game’s aesthetic beauty is as much part of the game as its mechanics. This cadre tends to use a very lopsided set of scales to throw a game’s aesthetic value under the bus. On their set of scales the fact that a game can get away with being considered better than it really is mechanically just because it’s nothing short of blasphemy.

Would Chrono Trigger be the masterpiece it is without Akira Toriyama’s contributions?

Isn’t Agricola substantially improved by the addition of wooden tokens for its grain, veggies, sheep, pigs, and cattle?

How many people would play Dwarf Fortress without the Lazy Newb pack?

As far as the generator goes, just like Dwarf Fortress, it only needs enough beauty to spark the imagination of the DM. Sketch the world, detail the important. Continue detailing as needed. Add Tolkien’s “distant mountains” as the players discover new areas. Angmar was never meant to be explored. The barrow wights were cut from the LotR movie adaptation, so the barrow blades are bestowed unto the hobbits by Aragorn and not Tom Bombadil.

#94 Atmosphere

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