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Board Game Design Day: "King Me": A Defense of King-Making in Board Game Design


In this talk, notable board game designer Cole Wehrle discusses his designs (including the acclaimed 'Root', 'Pax Pamir', 'An Infamous Traffic' and 'John Company') as part of a larger conversation around player interaction. Twenty years ago conflict-driven designs were the norm. Interaction and player-driven chaos were staples of design. Things could not be more different today. Not only have cooperative and solo designs found a massive space in today's board game market, but even complex strategy games have moved away from direct player interaction.Wehrle will mount a defense for competitive multiplayer designs that don't shy away from giving players the ability to disrupt one another. In this light, designing for king-making (the explicit attempt to bolster another player) becomes the central key to enabling players to occupy the complex strategic positions that produce dramatic narratives. Over the past several years Wehrle has designed a series of games which attempt to investigate the subject of player agency and what can be learned from embracing strategies which push against better instincts.

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  • GDC 2019
  • Cole Wehrle
  • Leder Games
  • free content
  • Design
  • Design