Deep thoughts on game design
1. Creating Passionate Users gets down on cognitive seduction:
Is Sudoku seductive? Is chess sexy? Is crafting code a turn-on? To our brains, absolutely. But while most of us don't use the word "seductive" in non-sexual contexts, good game designers do. They know what turns your brain on, and they're not afraid to use it. They're experts at the art of "cognitive arousal", and if we're trying to design better experiences for our users, we should be too.
2. Patrick Dugan's King Lud IC is aimed at that other genre of gaming, but his articles cross the fields. Same with Ralph Koster.
3. A nifty strategy article about El Grande on BoardGameGeek. If their site was responding, I could provide a link. Update: it's here.
4. NYT article on Travel Blokus (signin may be required)
Usually my husband loves board games. He was the one, after all, who packed our Carcassonne tiles in a Ziploc bag to take along to France.
But Blokus rubs him the wrong way. He says he dislikes the very aspect of the game that appeals so much to the rest of us, the fact that winning requires excellent spatial skills. A successful player is strategic enough to envision various ways the 21 different geometric shapes could be linked together to keep marching across the board even as they block an opponent's progress.