Daniel Cook, of Spry Fox games is a brilliant and thoughtful game designer. As a player, I love his games Triple Town and Road Not Taken (pictured). If you haven’t played them, run don’t walk. They’re both on Steam, as well as many other platforms.
I think of him as a game designer’s designer. His games are mechanically innovative, elegant and rich. They reward repeated play and deep engagement yet are produced with a small team and modest resources. Hopefully at some point if he has time I’ll have him on the show for a conversation but for those who are unfamiliar with him these are some great, rich resources to dig into first.
The thing that motivated me to write this post are two video taped talks he gave. The first is a sort of crash-course on analytical thinking about game design that I think is wonderful and invaluable.
It’s pitched toward beginner designers and offers a series of powerful lenses through which to look at, dissect and improve your game designs. If you get nothing else from this post, watch this one.
The second is about Designing Original Games:
In it he discusses some principles for trying to create mechanically original game designs and the advantages of this approach vs the more incremental ‘10% better’ approach we often encounter. I found it very provocative and interesting and hopefully you will too.