The Tabletop Designers Association proudly presents:

Making better games

A blog on game design

Welcome to the TDA blog

What is the Tabletop Designers Association? Currently in the process of being established, the Tabletop Designers Association is a non-profit organisation found with the single purpose of bringing together and supporting designers of tabletop games*. This support, much like Chandler’s time in the box, is threefold: With the help of sponsors and donations, we will…
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A Complex Conundrum

Welcome back to our little slice of the Internet. By now, we’ve covered the bare basics of what design is, the core things you need to start working on a game, and which issues you should try to avoid during the process. Now I want to tackle a subject that is useful to both beginners…
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Sidequest: Harsh Truths

Howdy! Welcome to another Sidequest, where we have another topic, but the same kind of semi-coherent ranting, raving, and rambling, courtesy of yours truly. So, I wrote this article thing regarding beginner mistakes, but the original idea was to write about the harsh truths of game design. Y’know, the shit no one tells noobs because…
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Games, Licenses, and You: A Practical Overview (Part 3: Popular Licensing Methods)

Previously, we looked at the sorts of rights you get on your work and how you can protect your rights. Today we’re going to look at how people traditionally license games. Most licenses apply to the copyright of a game and its trademarks, with a notable exception in the form of the Open Game License…
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Games, Licenses, and You: A Practical Overview (Part 2: Remedies)

Last week we talked about the various intellectual property laws and how they apply to games. Now let’s talk about what happens when things go wrong. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. This is not legal advice. Find a lawyer who knows their intellectual property law if you’re anywhere near an actual lawsuit. Objectives Describe…
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Games, Licenses, and You: A Practical Overview (Part 1: Know Your Rights)

Let’s talk about the legal implications of intellectual property rights in games for a moment. Since the vast majority of complexity comes down to copyright, we’ll focus pretty heavily on that. I’m based in the US, and I’ll be using their law as the basis for this, but most things I cover are internationally agreed…
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The Trials of Error (2/2)

Pictured: 4 versions of the same card from one of my games, none of which was final.A whole lot of valuable lessons learned, though.(Disclaimer: Art’s not mine) To continue directly where we left off from Part 1, we resume the list of common beginner mistakes in no particular order: Project scope getting out of control…
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Designer’s glossary: non-choice

One-time disclaimer on this first post – scroll down to the About section to learn more about the project and how You can contribute! non-choice[nɒn-tʃɔɪs],[non-; nan-chois] noun The act of presenting your players with multiple options, one of which one is strictly better than the rest. This can either be done intentionally, in order to test…
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The Trials of Error (1/2)

Pictured: Cards from 4 prototypes of the same game, all of which were scrapped eventually.A whole lot of valuable lessons learned, though. mAking mistkaes Where we last left off (So, you want to make a game…), we discussed the core aspects of design as a process and some simple steps one can follow in order…
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Teaching Games By Design: Making Good (Part 3/3)

The past couple weeks, I’ve talked about how to assess and categorize players’ knowledge of a game and what things tend to limit players’ engagement with your game. Today, I’m going to talk about making your game approachable to players and how you can work within the framework of the concepts we’ve discussed to make…
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Sidequest: Terrible Templating

Welcome to Sidequest, a sporadic column thing that will pop up when there are things that I want to “discuss” (read: rant about), but don’t deserve an entire fully-fledged article. Expect semi-coherent ramblings, a reasonable amount of F-bombs, and just whatever came to mind at the time of writing. Today’s topic is one that is…
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