Simple Laws of Game Design

“Make self-destructive actions harder to achieve then constructive items” — Note that in a game where you want most people to increase over time, and that they are playing mostly alone, this is the most true.  Also, note that you don’t want to make it easier to quit the game then to continue playing.

“Don’t make self-destructive actions impossible to achieve” — Please note that this is based on your opinion of self-destructive.  If you make it so that you have to delete every individual piece of info you divulge, such as facebook, you violate this principle.

“KISS” — Keep It Simple Stupid.  This means that you don’t need to create so many rules that nobody can remember them all.  Tables of values giving abstract bonuses, when in no real classification, violate this policy.  If you have a system that gives bonuses to only the economy, don’t randomly add war benefits to it.

“Strategy should be encouraged” — Say you have a system that allows adding of new optional systems to the game.  This doesn’t violate KISS as long as everybody has their choice in what systems they want.  They can add new layers of complexity up to the point they can’t manage it all.  It is also a great way to add new content to the game, as long as everybody has a chance to get them eventually.

‘Increase difficulty over time’ — Include new things for people who beat the last challenge.  Gaining new features is a reward, but make sure that the new features are not too difficult, or change the game in a major way.  Increase difficulty, but do not change the strategy unless you want to make strategy change slowly over time.

Notice:  Laws will change as new facts are discovered and rediscovered.  Feel free to comment if I left some out, or an example doesn’t make sense, or I just completely failed to classify the rule correctly.  Feel free to point out games that prove the point favorably or disfavorably.

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