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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Designer’s glossary: Overhead

overhead also overhead cost\ ˈō-vər-ˌhed \ noun An amount of complexity or tracking in a game’s system that isn’t necessarily part of the meaningful decision-making a player does while playing the game. Overhead is never beneficial to gameplay, and as such should be avoided if possible, or at least mitigated otherwise. Antonym: N/A

Levels of Testing

Testing your games is important. I’ve said that in a lot of different ways and context with my articles thus far. With interactive systems, the only time you can get useful metrics and input is when you actually go and interact with them. This time, we’ll take a bit of a deeper dive into testing,…
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Sidequest: Why you should never listen to playtesters!

Hook, line and sinker! A clickbaity title, complete with exclamation mark at the end! Jokes aside, welcome to another Sidequest, where I talk about stuff in a much more informal tone than with any of my ‘normal’ articles. Today’s topic is another kinda-educational one, but with how these are going, it seems to be the…
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MOPED Lessons: Modularity

Alright, let’s get this show on the road. This is the first of the detailed posts I’m going to do regarding MOPED (link to the outline/concept here). As the title suggests, we’re gonna be tackling the topic of modularity in games. To that end, I’ll be splitting this article in a few distinct sections, and…
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Resource-related Rambling

Last article I talked about MOPED. This article, I won’t talk about MOPED. Instead, working on one of my games got me thinking about a subject I’ve found a bit lacking in categorization in the past. And, it often feels like categorization is something game designers enjoy doing more than actually designing games. Theory is…
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Respecting Player Interest in Roleplaying Game Design (2/3): Communication

In Part 1 of this series, we talked about using a theme and concept to center a game on what players are interested in. Today we will talk about how to use communication strategies–both in-text and in marketing–to link your game to particular player interests.  Communication If you make a game that is tremendous and…
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Respecting Player Interest in Roleplaying Game Design (1/3): Themes and Concepts

One thing that I constantly struggle with as a tabletop role-playing game designer is making sure that my designs match the interests of the players who will play my games. This requires a process, there’s no magic “players will like this because…” formula that you can plug into game design. The first step of this process is…
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MOPED Lessons: Introduction

Last post I mentioned something called ‘my MOPED design principles’, and I intend for this article to be a brief overview and introduction to each of them. I’ll be doing a full article on each of the five principles, going in detail and with examples from games I’ve played or have worked on. Talking about…
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Sidequest: What I done did

Sidequest #3, eh? Time for some next-level rambling, cause boy do we have a topic fit for that: my projects! See, while completely shitting on other people’s work is rude, completely shitting on your own work is actually a good thing. Being “self-critical”, whatever that means. Whichever way you spin it, if you have nothing…
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Better gameplay: skill resolution

With this article, I’m starting an entirely new series on tacking problems in RPGs that aims to explore the ways we can speed up play and make it a smoother user experience by reducing the lag that happens when interpreting roleplay through mechanics. This streamlining process can be applied to everything, both during the session…
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