50 Games in 50 Weeks, Complete

'Game closet' by lkbm on Flickr

‘Game closet’ by lkbm on Flickr

In July of last year, I took stock of myself as a gamer. I wanted to understand games better, and eventually design games. I realized that I suffered from a deficiency: I could play a few games well, but I knew only a few of them.

I decided to fix this by setting myself an impossible-sounding challenge: 50 Games in 50 Weeks. I would play 50 games that I had never played before, all within the next 50 weeks.

Last night, at the stroke of midnight on the last day in June, I finished my fiftieth game: Houses of the Blooded.

Looking back on the past year, I’m struck by a few things:

  • There’s a huge variety of games and mechanics. I feel like I’ve plunged two feet into the ocean.
  • I have learned a lot. I’ve discovered many different mechanics and rule approaches. The challenge worked.
  • In a “bad” game, the mechanics don’t fit the kinds of actions the players want to take. Indeed, the mechanics are often the same generic mechanics used in popular games. “Good” game design involves finding appropriate mechanics and fitting them together in ways that fit the game’s concept and offer the players interesting choices.

I do realize that I’ve fallen behind in posting my game summaries; I’ll write and post those in the coming months.


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