Lessons from my first GAMA

With luck (and a lot of work) I got to attend GAMA this year, the industry premier trade show for board games.  This is not a gaming convention:  This is a trade show where publishers show off upcoming games, and distributors make deals with game store owners.  No one is playing games, they are talking component count, order volume, and MSRP.  It’s an intimidating place full of strange terminology, but if you can brave the waters, it can be one of the better places to attempt to pitch a game. Continue reading

Design Lessons from Vegas

Vegas casinos are monuments to statistics and evil.  They are inspiring, in a way.  Everything is designed.  Everything is polished.  They are well-oiled machines, designed to ride that razor thin margin to massive success.  Spotting those design decisions is a fun game in itself, and seeing how they can apply to game design is an even more interesting task.

1)  “Machine malfunction voids all pays and plays”

This little sticker is on every slot machine.  What does it mean?  It means that casinos don’t like paying money.  Should a player get a high-paying hand in video poker, or a jackpot in a slot machine, the machine locks down.  An attendant is called in, to verify that the jackpot is legitimate.  That’s right.  They get to look at the data and determine if your random number is a legitimate random number.  They don’t give you your money back if you make a mistake on a bet though, do they?

Continue reading