What are your “must-play” games for designers?
John Harper posted a bit on Twitter a few days ago about how (to paraphrase) designers should be playing a breadth of things, citing that he feels designers should play Fiasco, Burning Wheel and Apocalypse World. While I’ve played all those, I see many more games to add to that list — but then, it’s Twitter, so it’s not like you can fit a lot there. And that gave me an idea…
What are the three games you feel that designers should be playing in order to better understand their job? Explain why in one or two sentences.
Please keep the replies short so this doesn’t get out of hand. Some caveats:
- These don’t have to be your top three, just three you think hold good lessons. In fact, if you can’t talk about the lessons inside, that’s going to be a problem.
- You don’t have to like these games. There is as much to learn about why you don’t like something as there is why you do, if not more.
- You must have played a game you’re mentioning. That feels like a no-brainer, but I’m saying it anyway.
- You can totally mention a game that someone else did. Two, three or four people saying “hey, X game holds Y lesson” is useful!
- Stick to three. Not two, not four, etc. :)
- Don’t argue about someone else’s game choice
- [Added] I’m having to correct the spelling of several entries so that people reading this can find the game if they Google. So I will edit your entry to make sure you’ve spelled the game right, should I catch it. But please actually look up the game’s name beforehand. :P
You’ll see three of mine below, as the first comment. I don’t want to overly prioritize mine by making it the body of the post.
Side notes: Announcements
Real quick and unrelated to the core of this post, a couple things. First, I was interviewed on Daniel Hodges’ podcast, Penny Red. This interview took place a couple months back, so it’s a bit out of date, but since you know I’m the Technocracy guy now, you’ll hear me hinting that I am and my excitement for Mage: the Ascension in the podcast. Also, apparently I talk a bit of shit about Tolkien.
Second, are you in the Seattle area, and do you know about Gamerati’s Tacoma Game Day? It’s on Saturday, September 22nd, and I’ll likely be there for the first part of the day. (I have a burlesque show to go to that evening, NERDZ!)
 If someone writes an essay about one game, I’ll probably kill it because it’ll kill flow. :/