Dominic Crapuchettes (founder of North Star Games) talks about the renaissance of modern board games. A few main points:
Tablets are making traditional board games obsolete.
Similar to books vs. ebooks: the production process is very expensive compared to buying a game from the App Store, and the convenience of a tablet is certainly desirable.
Game Designers are no longer anonymous.
You won't see the name of the Monopoly's or Scrabble's designer on the box; prior to modern board games, designers were completely anonymous. In this case, designers receive no upside from sales even if the brand is massively successful, and receive no recognition for their work.
About Card Sorting
Card sorting is an exercise in user experience design where a group of users sort cards with various words on them into categories. It is often used to determine a website map or to test the language of product, so the cards' words would be things like "Pricing", "Testimonials", or "Tour".
I recently did something like card sorting with a client, but less structured. The terms on my cards were very random, anywhere from "Beyonce" to "corn" to "Trust". Each of us in the meeting grabbed a handful of cards and spent a few minutes organizing them in any way that made sense.
This gave me the idea to design "Brain-cleansing" games (horrible name, I know). They would be simple exercises that help you break down creative barriers and allow thoughts to flow more freely - a solution for writers block or if you are stuck on a bug in your code. Clear your mind with one or two rounds then return to your work. Here is the first I've come up with (basically lnfnmo):
Brain Cleanse game #1: Left & Right
Gather/prepare these things:
A deck of 20 cards (download some). I taped mine to playing cards for easier handling.
Some sort of divider, like a chopstick or a pencil.
A timer if playing alone (optional).
Choose two cards without looking at them.
Turn both over and place one on the left side of the divider and one on the right. Leave a few card lengths between the card and the divider. Like this:
A note about analyzing vs. reviewing a game: an analysis mainly consists of what is actually present in the game, not what you think should be. Pick it apart and see what choices the designer made and think about why. I figured it'd be helpful to have a template for guidance when critiquing a game. Hopefully this will also be a useful inventory of mechanics for game design itself.
Disclaimer: this is pretty long and prepare yourself for some lists. Also, appropriate use of the definition list HTML tag follows. Anyways:
Name of the game, the platform, and time played. Note that you can get a good idea of the game from playing for 30 mins or so, it doesn't have to be a 20 hour endeavor.
A paragraph summary of everything below.
How many players are supported? Does it need to be an exact number? How does this affect play? Some types of player frameworks:
Single Player - like Solitare.
Head-to-head - 1 vs. 1, Chess.
PvE - Player vs. Environment, or multiple players vs. the game. Common in MMOs like World of Warcraft.
One against Many - Single player vs. multiple (obvy).
Free-for-all - Every man for himself (1 vs. 1 vs. 1 vs. 1..). Most common for multiplayer games, from Monopoly to Modern Warfare.
Individuals Against the System - Like Blackjack, where the Dealer is playing against multiple players, but those players have no effect on each other.
Team Competition - Multiple vs. multiple, i.e. sports.
Issues & Assets is a card game about WWI I've been working on. Pretty random, right? It's an assignment at the end of Game Design Concepts Level 3 (yes, I am working through this quite slowly) which was:
Design a non-digital game with theme a relating to World War I. The primary objective of players cannot be territorial control, or capture/destroy.
I watched some videos on WWI and promptly took a two hour nap afterwards because, well, obviously. Anyways, from my research I gathered that the war came about because of tension between world powers and unofficial agreements with one another. Maybe. I decided to create a game exploring pacts, agreements, and what it means to break them.
The game is in its first/second-ish iteration and I have not play tested yet (other than with myself). So 90% of the following will change, but I figure it's good to practice to write about it. Your goal is to:
Solve your Issues with the other player's Assets.
Issues are cards with a problem on them (they aren't related to WWI in this initial version, but could be later on). Each has a value of 1-4. Right now the Issues are things like Hungry (2), Depressed (4), or Bad Breath (1).
Be sure to check out the links he lists at the bottom, exceptionally useful.