Category: Between the Episodes

Reputation and Reliability

Last episode, I talked a lot about Reputation and the problems that show up when it suddenly changes. Reputation is a huge concept in game theory and the development of strategies, and while we can intuitively understand it in social situations, it’s sometimes difficult to describe the implications. So I want to take a moment and… Read more »

Games with Risk Part II: Clank!

How crazy that after making an episode all about risk, I had the opportunity to play Clank! by Renegade Games. This self-styled “deck-building adventure” gives you the opportunity to compete with your fellow rogues to see who can gain the most and best treasure before the dragon returns to send you scurrying from his hoard with fangs and… Read more »

Designing a Puzzling Experience for the Overlook Film Festival

Confession time. I cried during E.T. Not because of the sadness of that poor lost alien flying back home but because that movie is terrifying. The scene where they set up the huge white tents and get set for dissection? Tiny little me just couldn’t take it. I’m no good at scary things! I close… Read more »

Dread and the Tragedy of the Commons

I once had a friend who, as an experiment, attempted to run a role-playing adventure that felt like a zombie-apocalypse-style horror movie. He set up a creepy soundtrack and gory movies in the background for ambiance. There was a fairly 3d representation of a house that we were trapped inside, and he had clever ideas about… Read more »

The Crescendo-of-Doom Mechanic

A while back, designer Michael Iachini of Clay Crucible Games wrote an excellent post about what he called the Crescendo mechanic. According to Iachini, this occurs whenever “something a player could choose gets… more valuable the longer it goes unchosen.” Even though I had never thought about this as a mechanic before, I immediately knew exactly what he… Read more »

The Breadth of Betrayal

Board games with a traitor mechanic have been part of my games library for as long as I can remember. Strangely, when I ask people to define the mechanic, the answer tends to fall apart. Betrayal has a strong emotional component and many players identify any similar emotion as a kind of betrayal. Did someone attack… Read more »

The Wise Count of Sensible Castle

I was recently reminded about Sensible Castle, a Cards Against Humanity event where thousands of surprised celebrants took turns being the Leader of the Castle and issuing a series of three decrees, each the length of a regular Tweet. Even though I was only the Count for three minutes, I took this as a unique opportunity to create… Read more »