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Soren Johnson's Game Design Journal

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Designer Notes #57: Rob Daviau – Part 1

In this episode, Soren interviews board game designer Rob Daviau, best known for his work on Risk Legacy and Pandemic Legacy. They discuss bluffing his way through his first game job interview, how he designed Betrayal at House on the Hill without either starting or finishing it, and why Risk Legacy bombed in Germany. Games discussed: Candy Land,...

Designer Notes 56: David Dunham

In this episode, Soren interviews independent game designer David Dunham, best known for his work on the narrative strategy games King of Dragon Pass and Six Ages. They are joined by writer and designer Meg Jayanth, best known for her work on 80 Days. The three discuss whether the advisors in Dragon Pass lie to the player, what Six Ages and 80 Days...

I Shouldn’t Have to Write this Post

I have voted for a Democrat in ever election in my lifetime, and while I express my political view from time to time, it’s important to acknowledge that plenty of Republicans have served their country honorably in government. John McCain and Mitt Romney, for example, would both have been perfectly serviceable presidents. The country will always have...

Designer Notes 55: Meg Jayanth

In this episode, Soren interviews independent game developer Meg Jayanth, the writer on 80 Days. They discuss how fan fiction is similar to modding, if 80 Days is a criticism of the Bioware companion system, and why it’s important to do your work. Games discussed: SimTower, Grand Theft Auto, Savoir-Faire, All Roads, Choice Of Games, Samsara, 80 Days,...

Designer Notes 54: Jon Ingold – Part 2

In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game developer Jon Ingold, who co-founded inkle and is best known for his work in interactive fiction, including All Roads, 80 Days, and the Sorcery! series. They discuss how to get the player to trust the designer, why pursuing fairness can take away what is special about a game, and whether packing should...

Designer Notes 53: Jon Ingold – Part 1

In this episode, Soren interviews veteran game developer Jon Ingold, who co-founded inkle and is best known for his work in interactive fiction, including All Roads, 80 Days, and the Sorcery! series. They discuss why Plundered Hearts is his favorite Infocom game, how being a maths teacher is like being a level designer, and when he realized that parsers...

Designer Notes 52: Roger Keating

In this episode, Bruce Geryk interviews veteran game developer Roger Keating, co-founder of Strategic Studies Group (SSG). Roger is best known for his work on the Warlord series as well as many digital wargames. They discuss what it was like to do pathfinding before A*, how SSG worked from home before it was cool, and how to determine who is a game...

This Old World

My next game, Old World, releases on Early Access tomorrow (May 5th) on the Epic Games Store. This might come as a bit of a surprise to some as we have not been discussing the game very often, but that is changing quickly! Old World is a 4X strategy game set in the Mediterranean during Classical Antiquity. Each turn is a year, and your leader is mortal...

Dev Game Club on Civilization 3

I was a guest on the Dev Game Club Podcast, with Brett Douville and Tim Longo Jr., talking about the history of Civilization 3, which took me back a long time to my first full-time job in the industry. (Indeed, I believe I started at Firaxis exactly 20 years ago this month!) It was a great conversation, and we had a little bit of discussion on my next...

Designer Notes 51: Michał Drozdowski and Przemysław Marszał

In this episode, Soren and Leyla Johnson interview Creative Director Michał Drozdowski and Art Director Przemysław Marszał of 11 Bit Studios, best known for their work on This War Of Mine and Frostpunk. They discuss why This War of Mine does not judge the player and why Frostpunk does. Games discussed: Anomaly, Anomaly: Korea, Anomaly 2, Funky Smugglers,...

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