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What makes a memorable turn order? An experimental mission to Flashpoint: Fire Rescue (Part I)

Flashpoint is a very well designed game but it has an oddly forgettable turn order. Can we use it to find out if certain design decisions will always result in a more memorable structure? UPDATE: Full results now available in Part II. A theme that does an awful lot of work Flashpoint: Fire Rescue is one of the best examples of theme-first design that I have ever seen. From beginning to end, its burly theme throws the player over its shoulder and carries them through its mechanics with confidence. The fire itself spreads logically in the way that you'd expect a house on fire to spread: sometimes randomly from a build-up of heat or an explosion, but always gradually and...

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Why Ticket to Ride: Europe's station is still first class

Note: If you’ve not played a Ticket to Ride game before, I recommend that you play Ticket to Ride: Europe first before reading. I'll be taking a lot of knowledge of the game for granted. I first discovered Ticket to Ride: Europe in 2008. It was not the first hobby game that I played, nor even the first train themed one; that honour goes to Martin Wallace's excellent Railroad Tycoon. But TtR: Europe's fantastic qualities were clear from the beginning. Simple enough to play with non hobbyists but challenging enough to keep even strategy game enthusiasts occupied, it was obviously a 'gateway game' before I learned the term. Since then, I've played lots of the different expansions and alternate base...

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What makes games great

In my day job, I run the product department of a technology company. But I’ve always loved boardgames: playing them, analysing them and most of all, designing them. Over the last few years, I've realised that the business of making great games and my day job were much closer than I previously thought. Great software and great boardgames are great for the same reason On its own, slick software engineering can make something easier to maintain, a pleasure to work with or an impressive technical marvel of itself. But it's only when all of that engineering is completely orientated to a user's need that it becomes a great software product. On one hand that sounds obvious - who else but...

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