How to Build a Game #76 The Power of Choice #1

This is going to be one of those really obvious advice kind of posts, but this is the kind of thing that should be stated over and over because it is what I would consider to be one of the four pillars of design. That said, I should probably think of what the other three pillar are, but for now, let focus on the concept of choice.

Choice is what makes games interesting. How many points in time during your game are players making a choice?  How interesting are those choices? How much of the overall game does each choice effect, not only the active player. but the rest of the players in the game?

Giving players agency over the game is a huge factor in engaging players with your game. When I play a game and I am clearly going to lose, what choices can I make to mess with the conditions of the game? (This gives me an idea where players remove themselves from a game and act as a ghost “character”, messing with world conditions) When I am in contention to win a game, are the choices I make the right choices that will get me to victory?

Think about the games you like to play and all the decision you make and how agonizing they can be. How many games do you go back to to make the other choice you didn’t make last time you played?

Choice is interesting and makes games great. Think about that in all the aspects of your games. We are going to explore choice in games in this sub-series of H2BaG. What are your favorite kind of decisions to make during game play? Right now, I am a big fan of worker placement and trying to figure out what the prioritized list of options work best for me this turn and how to deal with other players taking spots before I can.

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If you have any comments or questions, leave a comment here or email Chris at

If you have made it this far, would you like to go a little farther? We have a regular Google hangout with other designers. We talk about the games we are working on and share helpful tips and ideas on how to make designing our game easier. We meetup every other Saturday. Either comment here or tweet me or email me and I will add you to the list and send you a link to the Google hangout.

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