Tabletop Game Design for Video Game Designers  book cover
1st Edition

Tabletop Game Design for Video Game Designers

ISBN 9780415627016
Published September 8, 2015 by Routledge
348 Pages

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USD $62.95

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Book Description

Learn the mechanics that take your game from an idea to a playable product.

Do you aspire to be a game designer but aren’t sure where to begin? Tabletop Game Design for Video Game Designers guides you through your initial attempts to design game mechanics. It goes beyond simple description and definition to explore in detail the issues that designers grapple with for every game they create.

Learning to design tabletop games builds a solid foundation for game designers and provides methods that can be applied towards creating paper prototypes of computer-targeted games. Presented in a step-by-step format, Tabletop Game Design for Video Game Designers helps the reader understand how the game design skills that are acquired through creating tabletop games can be used when designing video games. Fully playable games accompany every topic so you can truly understand and experience each component that goes into game creation.

Tabletop Game Design for Video Game Designers includes:

  • Simple, highly focused games that can be played, analyzed, improved, and/or modified in conjunction with a particular topic in the book.
  • Integrated game design exercises, chapter learning objectives, and in-text sidebars to provide further examples to apply directly to your game creation process.
  • A companion website ( which includes: "print & play" tabletop games, links to online games, game design resources, and articles about designing and developing games.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Getting Started

Chapter 2: Foundations

Chapter 3: Creating Tabletop Games

Chapter 4: Playtesting Tabletop Games

Chapter 5: Rules

Chapter 6: Themes

Chapter 7: Beginnings, Endings, & Elminiation

Chapter 8: Movement & Space

Chapter 9: Actions & Choices

Chapter 10: Chance

Chapter 11: Economies

Chapter 12: Balance

Chapter 13: Computer Turns, Ticks, & Time

Chapter 14: Designing Autonomy

Chapter 15: Paper Prototying Computer Games


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Ethan Ham has eleven years’ experience in the computer game & media industry as a game designer, programmer, and producer. He has helped develop games that have garnered numerous awards including E3 Game Critic "Best Simulation Game," the Academic of Interactive Arts & Sciences "Best Massively Multiplayer Game," and Game Industry News "Online Game of the Year." In addition to his ongoing work developing and writing about games, Ethan is an Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Interactive Media at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.