Table-top Game Design

April 17, 2015

Neil Newman

Counting only those listed on, there are over ten thousand published board games in existence. Behind each game is a designer, who carefully pieced together a set of mechanics in what was hopefully not a random process. While tabletop game design is more an art than a science, there exist some guiding principles and common tradeoffs. For instance, what do terms like Analysis Paralysis, Kingmaking, or Quarterbacking mean in the context of board games, and why should designers think carefully about them when crafting rules? What makes Tic-Tac-Toe deserving of the title worst rated board game of all time (ranked 10777th on boardgamegeek)? Today's UDLS will answer these questions and more by exploring the world of tabletop game design.