Guidelines for Strategy Game Design

A functional and lightweight game design manual by Level 99's D. Brad Talton Jr,
on how to create tense, dynamic, decision-driven games.

§ 2.0 - Moves offer depth.

§ 2.0 - Moves offer depth.

§ 2.0 - Moves offer depth.

Gameplay exists in the space between understanding and mastery. That space is what we call Depth.

Guidelines in this section can help you to identify where a game lacks depth.

Once players understand the game’s moves and their outcomes, they are able to form a plan that will carry them to victory.

When we talk about specific moves—for example, moving pieces in such a way to force the opponent’s response and trap them—we generally call that Tactics. Tactical games reward foresight, prediction, and calculation.

When we talk about general moves—for example, trying to excel in combat to earn a quick victory and grow your empire faster than opponents—we generally call that Strategy. Strategic games reward analytical and synthetic thinking.

Most games strike some balance of Strategy and tactics. Every player has their own taste in games, so there’s no right or wrong balance of these aspects.

Strategy and tactics can coexist. There are games with a great deal of both strategy and tactics, and games with neither strategy nor tactics.

Wherever a game allows strategy or tactics, it should endeavor to have depth.

Leave a comment

* Required fields

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.