Game Design: Speak with Child

By 25/10/2017 Game Design

Sometimes called Speak with Dead.

I like new things. That’s what I like. I find delight in new experiences. That’s why board games appeal to me so strongly. They’re a new experience every time. Even the same game with the same people often provides a new experience.

A man desires mastery, competition, destruction, spatial reasoning and victory through trial and error. Guess that’s why I like X-wing so much. And why my wife hates it. Women prefer emotion, ties to the real world, nurturing mechanics, dialog and verbal components, to learn by following an example. She loves Great Western Trail.

Schell has a fairly interesting passage about needs and how they fit into our lives according to Maslow. Haftas vs. wannas, however, takes the cake.

Haftas solve for pain avoidance. Either I block or I’ll incur in serious damage. Wannas solve for pleasure seeking. If I chain this just right I’ll build my attack into a massive combo. The parry is a sublime mechanic. The parry marries a hafta with a wanna. The hafta portion is avoiding damage, while the wanna portion is building your combo bar.

The amazing thing about Nidhogg is that you can disarm your opponent while dueling. Without that, I don’t think the game would be nearly as fun as it is. It’s not an indispensable mechanic, oh no, but pulling a disarm makes you feel like a million dollars.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, pain avoidance and pleasure seeking, these are the axes of drive. To me, the appeal of novelty is overwhelming, I’m a junkie for new and delightful experiences. That being said, there’s no such thing as a universal set of motivations. There are base motivations to do so, true, and if one digs deep enough one can reach the layers of instinct. But even instinct varies from person to person.

There’s no one universal motivation to play. That’s why it’s important to hit the nail in the head. You need to know what you’re building and who you’re building it for.

#22 Needs

#23 Motivation

#24 Novelty

#25 Judgement

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