RPG Design Overview Sheet

I have a tradition of running RPG design workshops in my local community, either at local gaming conventions or as part of Game Chef. It’s always a great time, but I often feel a need for more robust tools to help new game designers. That’s why I prepared the RPG Design Overview Sheet

The basic principle underlying this little tool is the idea of limited resources. Designers need to account for the amount of complexity associated with their designs, and to prioritize the elements they find most important for the desired play experience. Certain focused games in the story games tradition may be quite streamlined, emphasizing very specific kinds of play experiences.  Other, more traditional game may be structured for versatility and diverse play experiences instead. In all these cases, the designers has made intentional choices which this sheet can capture.

Game Design Sheet - Spark



In terms of the overall purpose of the exercise, it’s two-fold. Firstly, the intent was to establish a foundational document at the start of a game design project. This foundational document would fill the same general role as the old power 19, allowing designers to both examine their design and discuss it fruitful with others.

The second purpose of the sheet is the potential of using those as snapshots of different game designs. I could foresee a reference document full of the things so that someone could cross-reference designer intent with mechanics/experiences in play. It would be a fascinating to use this tool to document a single game from a variety of different perspectives.

Game Design Sheet - D&D 4E

What do you think? Where this could be adjusted to be a more useful tool for designers young and old?


Where Credit is Due

A similar idea has already emerged independently in the Larpwright community, and would be worth your attention. https://nordiclarp.org/wiki/The_Mixing_Desk_of_Larp

The Big Three questions (at the top the sheet) were created by Jared Sorensen of Memento Mori Theatrix.

The types of engagement are derived from Marc “MAHK” LeBlanc (http://8kindsoffun.com/)

Posted in Blog of Legend, Indie Gems, The Process of Design.

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