Clockwork Game Design: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Clockwork Game Design

1st Edition

By Keith Burgun


136 pages

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Paperback: 9781138798731
pub: 2015-05-19
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Only by finding and focusing on a core mechanism can you further your pursuit of elegance in strategy game design.

Clockwork Game Design is the most functional and directly applicable theory for game design. It details the clockwork game design pattern, which focuses on building around fundamental functionality. You can then use this understanding to prescribe a system for building and refining your rulesets. A game can achieve clarity of purpose by starting with a strong core, then removing elements that conflict with that core while adding elements that support it.

Filled with examples and exercises detailing how to put the clockwork game design pattern into use, this book is a must-have manual for designing games.

  • 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

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Theory

Section 1: Games

Section 2: The Essential Value of Games

Chapter 2: Anatomy

Section 1: Purpose

Section 2: The Core Mechanism

Section 3: The Goal

Section 4: Supporting Mechanisms

Section 5: Theme

Section 6: Documentation

Chapter 3: Construction

Section 1: The Approach

Section 2: Analysis

Section 3: Implementation

Chapter 4: Pitfalls

Section 1: Problems

Section 2: My Experiences

Section 3: Closing Thoughts

About the Author

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 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.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Programming / Games
COMPUTERS / Educational Software