2nd Edition

Clockwork Game Design

By Keith Burgun Copyright 2025
    160 Pages 27 Color & 16 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    160 Pages 27 Color & 16 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    By finding and building around a strong core mechanism, we can access new levels of elegance and discover fresh new ideas in our game designs.


    Clockwork Game Design is a functional and directly applicable theory for game design, particularly focusing on strategic and tactical games, but also more broadly applicable to many kinds of games. It details the Clockwork Game Design pattern, which focuses on building around a fundamental core functionality. You can then use this understanding to build a system of tools that helps a designer refine their rulesets. A game can achieve clarity of purpose by starting with a strong core, then removing elements that conflict with that core while also adding elements that support it.


    The Second Edition is filled with examples and exercises detailing how to put the clockwork game design pattern into use, this book is a helpful tool in the toolbox of game designers.


    Key Features:

    • A hands-on, practical book that outlines a very specific approach to designing games
    • Develop the mechanics that make your game great, and limit or remove factors that disrupt the core concept
    •  Practice designing games through the featured exercises and illustrations

    Chapter 01          Theory

    Chapter 02          Anatomy

    Chapter 03          Construction

    Chapter 04          Pitfalls



    Keith Burgun is the author of Game Design Theory: A New Philosophy for Understanding Games. He is a contributing editor to Gamasutra and his own design blog at keithburgun.net. He has taught game design at a number of schools, including SUNY Purchase College, The New York Film Academy, and the Katonah Arts Center. He has also guest lectured at NYU and Franklin & Marshall College.