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Challenges for Game Designers Paperback – 20 Sep 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Delmar Publishing; 1 edition (20 Sept. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158450580X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584505808
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 19.7 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 295,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


Introduction BUILDING BLOCKS Chapter 1: The Basics Chapter 2: Mechanics & Dynamics Chapter 3: Puzzle Design Chapter 4: Converting Digital to Physical WRITING GAME CONCEPTS Chapter 5: Working with Licenses and IP Chapter 6: Creating Sequels Chapter 7: Targeting a Market Chapter 8: Learning an Unfamiliar Genre Chapter 9: Designing a Game to Tell a Story THE DICE VS. THE BRAIN Chapter 10: Elements of Chance Chapter 11: Elements of Skill Chapter 12: Balancing Challenge and Skill ADDITIVE AND SUBTRACTIVE DESIGN Chapter 13: Adding and Subtracting Mechanics Chapter 14: Technological Constraints Chapter 15: Incorporating New Assets Chapter 16: But Make it Multiplayer THE USER INTERFACE Chapter 17: Designing for a Special Controller Chapter 18: Creating a User Interface OFF THE BEATEN PATH Chapter 19: Games as Artistic Statements Chapter 20: Games for Education/Teaching Chapter 21: Serious Games Chapter 22: Casual Games Chapter 23: Social Networking STUFF THAT FIT NOWHERE ELSE Chapter 24: You want me to do what?

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tiago Santos Nunes on 23 April 2010
Format: Paperback
I had read about this book through a board game design blog and as I was in the process of designing a board game I wanted to learn a little more. So I got this book.

Let me say that this book has surprised me, it's not a heavy technical book, it does introduce you to the necessary technical lingo but the highlight of Challenges for Game Designers is that it provides you with many challenges to consolidate what you learn and make you design a lot of games to make you practice as you go. This is an excellent approach as game design is highly dependent of an iterative process of perfecting your skills through trial and error.

An excellent book for board game and video game designers, I highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MaltSokol on 16 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
It is a good book if you want some guidance to start writing your own board game. Every chapter contains a short theoretic introduction about different aspects of board games and then proposes "challenges" to apply those principles creating your own games or modifying existing games.
I was expecting it to be a bit more theoretical and I would have expected some more in-depth analysis of the different types of game mechanics and existing games. However, if you complete the dozens of challenges that the book contains, you will definitely have a really good basis to start writing your own games.
The best thing of the challenges is that they offer the opportunity to explore different aspects of the game preventing you from getting stuck when designing your concept from scratch.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bigmach on 17 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
I was wrestling with the conception of a board game, and came close to collapse when writing the rulebook. "Challenges to Game Designers" made me reconsider the game system and gave a better clue of what the gamers' crowd is made of... which helped me to redefine the system and rewrite the rulebook before the coming tests. For the (much!) better.

The book in itself is divided in short paragraphs, wherefrom you can pick up headlines very easily. In this case it doesn't disturb the reading at all, since you just need to understand the different possibilities you may follow for the kind of game you want to create. And if you need to know a little more... just continue the reading under the headlines!

It gave me an insight that I thought was given when playing games. In fact, it is very easy to ignore this knowledge as long as you live as a player, but change place and things may go pretty wrong (!)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 26 reviews
38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5 Stars 5 Jan. 2009
By Garen02 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Finally! A book that talks about HOW to become a good game designer instead of merely addressing WHAT game design is. Most of the game design textbooks I've read taught me a bunch of academic buzz words (ludology, emergent game play, etc.), but they didn't leave much in the way of practical application. Brathwaite and Schreiber cap each chapter with a series of game design challenges that let the reader put their new knowledge to the test with good old pen and paper.

I found these challenges really helpful. In fact, they got me in the right mindset for taking design tests with game companies. After interviewing with one company, I was asked to take their design test. Thanks to Challenges, I was comfortable working under all sorts of real-world constraints, from genre-specific/technological limitations to IP restraints. The company liked my test and invited me to more interviews! So as an aspiring game designer, I extend my highest recommendation for this book to those looking to expand their design portfolio and prepare themselves for breaking into the game industry.
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Cheers for Challenges 5 Jan. 2009
By Mitch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Brathwaite and Schreiber's "Challenges" is a great introductory work for those starting to learn about game design, a helpful training tool for the intermediate designer, and a good candidate for a textbook for educators teaching design.

For the beginner, the book is clearly laid and approaches design from the very basics, giving a reader who possesses a zero knowledge base a solid grasp of the core concepts and processes of game design. The first two parts of the book cover individual topics of design chapter by chapter, walking the new designer through different elements of design, from incorporating elements of chance to playtestesting for balance. Even more importantly, the book takes a hands-on approach to design and requests that the reader try out their new-found knowledge by completing "Challenges" - short exercises found at the end of each of these chapters which ask the reader to build a game using a specific core concept. Each of these challenges require that the reader build a non-digital game, so even readers with no programming ability can quickly jump in and try out their new skills. Overall the book is written in a friendly, informative and professional manner, and should be on any beginner designer's must read list.

For the intermediate designer, the book has even more to offer. The afore mentioned Challenges are great tests for thinking about design in new and different ways, with the "Iron Designer" challenges offering an even more complex task. The latter half of the book discusses design from a more theoretical and professional approach, with topics ranging from games as art to working with an IP. The beginner may also find many of these discussions useful and informative, but some of the topics are definitely aimed towards those already in the professional industry.

Finally, the book even manages to cater towards the education and serious market, with topics dedicated to games as a learning, training and socializing tool. Teachers may find the book useful as a textbook because of its concise writing yet exhaustive depth and breadth, and many of the Challenges are well-suited for student assignments exactly as they are written. There is easily enough material for at least a semester's worth of study, and the book's low cost for content makes it more affordable for students and institutions than other volumes on the market.

This is possibly the best intro/intermediate design book I've read to date and can't recommend it highly enough to anyone interested at all in game design.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
I "Thought" I was a Game Designer ... 19 Sept. 2009
By Ms. Dynamo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really thought I knew something about designing games. Then I read Challenges for Game Designers.
Boy, did it open my eyes! First, Challenges for Game Designers cover the foundations by giving a useful definition of game design and explaining terms like "core dynamic", "prototype", "balance" and "playtesting".

Next, Challenges for Game Designers takes you through the game design process, first by examining what it refers to as Game Design Atoms, then dissecting elements of chance and skill. Finally, the book allows you to branch off into areas that interest you, whether it be marketing your game, creating games on social networks or creating games that tell a story.

At the end of each chapter, Challenges for Game Designers has five design challenges of increasing complexity and a section called Non-Digital Shorts, which are topics that foster brainstorming non-digital games.

Here is the best part. The authors created a fantastic course online (it was free during Summer 2009). The book was a requirement, so if you buy this book, you can get the most from it by reading it along with the course [...].
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Learn what make games tick, independently of the form 5 Sept. 2009
By Ciro Durán - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you're serious into making games, you really need to learn how gamers get into games, why they do it, and how they do it.

This books takes a different approach from every other design or programming book about games you've ever read. How to implement player actions that make sense, how to balance the element of chance, how they can be used as a teaching tool.

The best part is that there is no need to know computer programming, or to even touch a computer. The book has a lot of exercises for you to make that only need paper, pencil and scissors. The author asserts that board games have a lot in common with videogames, and are faster to make and test with your friends.

So once again, if you want to learn game design, this is a definitive resource you should read and consult.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Invaluable reference for both the novice and more experienced game designers 4 Sept. 2009
By James Patten - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a great book that clearly explains some of the key issues that any designer of both digital and non-digital games should be aware of. It provides references to further expand you knowledge of area discussed

There are loads of basic and more challenging exercises that help you to put what you have learned into practice and also start you on the way to having great examples of your design work for you portfolio.
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