By Nathan D Paoletta and Will Hindmarch
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We talk about game design, especially tabletop roleplaying and story games. We're professional designers ND Paoletta and Will Hindmarch. We're glad you're here.
||ExplicitEndings||This is it. Our fiftieth episode marks the end of our long conversation about designing tabletop RPGs (and everything else we spilled over into). This episode addresses audience questions, the past, and the future. What do you do when you're done and th||11/1/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitFunding Production||You need funding. You might give your game away for free, but you didn't make it for free. Your time and work have value. How does that translate to cost and how does your product help fund itself and the next thing you want to make? Check out the full||10/25/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitProduction Tools||Let's talk about some of the software that we—Nathan and Will—use for production purposes like layout and graphic design. More importantly, let's talk about how that impacts our game designs and workflow across the board.||10/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitSpheres of Production||As you're proceeding into production of your game, ask yourself: What can I do myself? When should I ask for help? What would I say to externalize my vision to a hire? What you do yourself, what you expand your skills to accomplish, and when you hire ex||8/25/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitForm Factors||What form does your RPG take? Is it a book? A deck of cards? A poster or mousepad or business card? Are you sure? Design Games is made possible by our supporters at Patreon, where you can back Nathan and Will, too. Every dollar helps.||8/18/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitCards||Let's talk about another means of delivering random results and packaging information for players in your tabletop roleplaying and story games: cards.||8/11/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitReflections 2||Look around. Get your bearings. Take a look back at what's working and what you've learned, then move forward with the knowledge. That's what we're doing, this time.||7/13/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEarly Writing||You've got a lot of notes, you've got rules and systems, maybe you've been writing for yourself. How do you start writing all of that out for other people in addition to yourself? Let's talk.||7/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitIteration||Say a thing. Say it again. A design isn’t right the first time, so we revise and restate and iterate. Let’s talk about that.||6/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitGame Chef||Do you know about the Game Chef design competition? This time we talk about our experiences with Game Chef and what we know of its history and influence on games and designers.||6/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitPlaytesting, Part Two||(Episode forty?! Ye gads.) Here we explore more notions on the topic of your early playtests, and how to get information out of them, make sense of some of it, and prepare for revisions to your design.||6/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitPlaytesting, Part One||We’ve reach that time. Let’s talk about playtesting your design—specifically, how to prep and participate in the early playtests of your RPG.||6/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitUniversality and Hacking||We set out to talk about designing games to be ready for hacking and remixing by the end user, but first a stopover at a discussion of universal systems, too. Let it go, Will.||5/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitAffordances||Let’s talk about how a game moves, functions, and adapts. Let’s talk about affordances.||5/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitOn Visual Design||Some game designs are highly visual. When does that work happen? How early is too early to think about art and a visual arrangement of ideas? We talk it out.||5/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitRisk and Challenge||This time, we tackle a great listener-submitted topic about how to makes risk and challenges feel dramatic and satisfying in your RPG designs — and how to help players think about risk and challenge in play.||4/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitPlayer Alignment||Another great listener topic, another episode wrestling with said topic. This time: we talk about designs involving Player vs Player and Player vs Environment mechanics and, y'know, some of what that means.||4/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitOn Purpose||Here we attempt to tackle another great question from the G+ community. This one’s about designing with purpose and how purpose can align with (or away from) content, context, vision, and more.||4/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitBring It Together||We’ve talked a lot already about design steps and techniques, thoughts and approaches. You’ve got vision and notes and notions. Now let’s talk about bringing it all together.||3/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitPlaystorming||What even is a playstorm? We think we know and we dive into the answer in this episode, to consider what makes playstorming different from playtesting, what it’s for, and when we do it.||3/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitSuccess and Failure||What is “a success” in play? What is failure? When do players’ and characters’ victories align? When do they diverge? And how do we talk about it all? Tune in and hear.||3/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitColor||When we talk about “color” in RPG design, we’re often talking about texture and tangibility and how they interact with and express your game and what it is about. We think.||3/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitEmergence||What do we mean when we talk about emergence? What’s emergent by design and what emerges anyway? We wrestle with the issue this time — and maybe not for the last time!||2/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitSpace||Space, in many games (and especially RPGs), is abstracted and metaphorical, letting the idea of space mingle with other ideas in exciting ways. What is “narrative mass” and how do relationship maps suggest or defy a space? Let’s talk!||2/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitTime||It’s time to talk about time. This time, we make time to discuss real-time play, abstractions, and dramatic units of time in RPGs and other games, which takes us into territory about focus, abstraction, and player agency once again.||2/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitSituation||What’s the situation in your game? How do you flag, support, and inspire situations in play? RPG play can be as small as a single dramatic situation or as vast worlds teeming with volatile circumstances … but it’s for naught if the players don’t||2/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitSetting, Part Two||Let’s talk more about settings and worlds for gameplay, including designing and recognizing links between your world and your game!||1/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitSetting, Part One||How does your game’s setting interact with its design? How do you begin to design a setting? How does your setting suit your game — and why?||1/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitMindfulness and Inspiration||Let’s talk about influences on our designs and how we converse with them and with our own game’s vision and voice.||1/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitReturn to Beginnings||What are some early exercises and tactics for starting a new design?||1/6/2016||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitReflections||This time, we look back at the show and reflect on 20 episodes of conversations. What are we happy with and what do we still want to attempt? What course corrections might we attempt for the show next? This approximates the kind of reflection we do as d||12/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitAntagonism||What is antagonism in play — we talk about the problems inherent in the term, what it means in play, and how you can think about it in your design.||12/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitPlayer/Designer Communication||This time, we talk about communications between a game’s designer and its players—especially the GM—both implicit and explicit.||12/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitGame Master Influences||This time we’re dropping names and game titles all over the place, focusing on just a few of the games that we’re feeling influenced by lately or over time — especially when it comes to GMing.||11/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitGame Master Authority||This time we’re talking about designing for GM authorities and responsibilities in tabletop RPGs.||11/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitThe Roles of the Game Master||In this episode, we discuss the roles, responsibilities, and authority of the GM in tabletop RPGs and story games. It’s a role with a lot of permutations for designers to think about, plan for, and react to. What do you think?||11/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitListener Questions, Part Two||We’re tackling a few more listener questions this time — and it’s a bit of a challenge. These are great questions!||11/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitListener Questions||For our not-spooky 13th episode, we address a few listener questions we’ve received. Still, things get a little spooky.||10/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitResolution||Listen in as we discuss resolution mechanisms in RPGs, including musings about scope and scale and fictional time. How do you know when a thing has happened in your game? How do you know when to check to see if a thing has happened? By listening to this||10/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitSystems||This time, we have a quick talk about the difference between a system and its rules. How does that affect your design and can a design change systems already in place? Let’s talk.||10/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitReward Systems, Part Two||We had more to say about reward cycles, systems, and mechanisms in theory and in practice, so this episode is about more of that.||10/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitReward Systems, Part One||In this doozy (doozy!) of an episode, we talk about reward cycles in design and play, from their core dynamics and philosophies to how they can befit or bemuse different players differently.||9/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitJargon||Let’s talk about the terminology of our games and how that influences the patois at the table. What lingo do you use in your game and what sobriquets develop over time? As ever: decisions, decisions.||9/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitCharacter Monogamy||What is character monogamy in an RPG and what does it do in your design? Let’s talk about it!||9/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitExperience Points||Here we look at the gist of experience points (XP) and character development, especially in tabletop RPGs, and how character progression can reward, reflect, and influence the play of your design.||9/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitCharacters||This time, we talk about characters in theory, in practice, in play, and in design, with examples focusing on tabletop RPGs and some references to video games.||9/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitRecurring Questions||Listen in as we reveal some of the questions and ideas that we consider and reconsider near the beginning of various game designs, like “Why is this a game?” and “How does it start?”||8/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitDice||Here’s a big one. We spend an hour talking about dice, uncertainty, and information in analog game design and we still only manage to put grooves in the surface of the topic. This was a wonderful talk, though.||7/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitThe Big Three Questions||Let’s talk about how we talk about game designs. Let’s talk about how a game does its thing and how a design achieves (or doesn’t) its selected goals. What is your game about and how is it about it? Let’s do that by talking about variations on t||7/6/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
||ExplicitIdeas!||We, Nathan D Paoletta and Will Hindmarch, design games. Also, we talk about designing games. Sometimes that means talking about design outside of games and games outside of their designs, but always it comes back to how we make games—especially in the||7/5/2015||Free||View in iTunes|
Deep Dive into Design Without the Pretense
Will Hindmarch & Nathan Paoletta both have impressive game design resumes, and while that informs the quality of this podcast, it really just establishes the baseline. Both hosts clearly *enjoy* thinking about and talking about the art and craft of game design. They are willing to dive deep into topics, but they remain firmly grounded in the understanding that the ultimate product is something played at a real table with real people.
I find them entertaining, informative and inspirational. An episode does not pass where I don’t capture some note or other about something I want to try in my own designs.
All high faulting stuff aside? They’re also delightfully terse. RPG podcasts tend to run *loooooooong*, which is a killer. A long episode for Design Games is a short episode of most other RPG shows. My schedule thanks them for it.
I love this podcast and recommend listening to it from the beginning. They talk about game design in a clear and authentic way. Some podcasts I put on on the background while doing something else. Not this one.
Good discussions, need louder mics
The discussions are fantastic and I'm loving the show so far (through episodes 0, 1, 2). The banter between Nathan and Will holds up and I like the way they have sort of interviewed each other. I also appreciate their varied experiences as indie and traditional publishers.
I do have one problem, and it's related to production: the volume on the mics used is just too low. I listen in my car during my commute. I've got my iPod set to max volume and it takes until my car stereo volume is almost maxed before the audio is intelligible. Even then, Will is fainter than Nathan, as though he's several feet away. If there's any way to up the recording volume so that it's easier to hear, that would be much appreciated.
Otherwise, keep up the great work!