Monday, January 23, 2017

Day 71: FotLC through the 113 lenses from The Art of Game Design

Day 71 - Lens 4: The Lens of Surprise
Surprise is so basic that we can easily forget about it. Use this lens to remind yourself to fill your game with interesting surprises. Ask yourself these questions:

What will surprise players when they play my game?
First, everyone moves at once.
Then that they can remove paths and bases as well as place them.
Then that their strategy is useless without diplomacy.
Then that Ties eliminate each other and let the underdog win.
Then that they have to choose <spoiler>whether winning is the right thing to do.</spoiler>

Does the story in my game have surprises? Do the game rules? Does the artwork? The technology?
I think yes. The story and rules and artwork and technology all feel at least unexpected, and hopefully wonderful.

Do your rules give the players ways to surprise each other?
Oh yes, largely through the challenge mechanic and through player movement pushing past the edge of their situational awareness and allowing the board to change while they aren't paying attention to it. Then the ending as spoiled above is also a surprise that the players can grant each other.

Do your rules give the players ways to surprise themselves?
So everything the player does is a choice, though the outcome may be surprising. I hope that the game puts the player in positions where their own choices surprise them. But that depends somewhat on how selfware the player is.