PX #2: The Familiarity Spectrum

This is an installment in a multi-part essay covering board game “Player Experience” or “PX”¬†I highly recommend you start at the beginning, but it’s certainly not required ūüôā

The experience a Player has with your game is going to vary based on a lot of factors.¬†Imagine someone brand new to your game. Thay have no familiarity with any aspect of it, though¬†perhaps they have seen the box. Maybe they have read the rules, but there’s no¬†way to know. At the other extreme, lies you, the designer. You’re not only familiar with all the aspects, but also the history of each component, and the full evolution¬†of each mechanic and each system. Anyone who sits down to experience your game is going to¬†fall somewhere¬†along this spectrum of familiarity. Continue reading

Halloween Costume Considerations

Now that it’s October, it’s time to start thinking about that greatest of all holidays, Halloween. ¬†And thoughts of Halloween inevitably lead to thoughts of costumes, that most important aspect of that greatest of holidays.

After several years of careful observation of costumes at various Halloween parties, I’ve discovered that there are several important rules to consider when choosing and assembling one:

#1: The Costume should not interfere with your ability to use the bathroom.

This really ought to go without saying, but we all need a sanity check when we get excited. ¬†Take a step back, and think to yourself “Can I really take care of everything I might need to do while strapped into this iPod costume?”

#2: The Costume should not inhibit your ability to consume beer.

This, too, really ought to go without saying, but time and time again, people overlook this important consideration.  

#3: The Costume should not rely on any ‘unstowable’ props to be recognized.

Props are an integral part of many costumes, of course, but if you need them for character recognition, and can’t attach them to your body in some convenient way, they will only serve to frustrate you. ¬†Plus it will end up violating Rule #2 before too long. ¬†NB: This rule also covers Other People. ¬†Now, don’t get me wrong, partner and ‘team’ costumes deserve all sorts of bonus points, but if your cadre wanders away, and suddenly your costume doesn’t make any sense, then what?

#4: The Costume should not hinder your ability to ‘hook up’ during a Halloween party.

This includes any and all potentially embattled interpretations of the colloquialism ‘hook up’ (looking at you, Katie, Lauren.) ¬†This kind of situation might be the furthest thing from your mind when costume inspiration strikes, but it never hurts to be prepared. ¬†Keep in mind that this isn’t limited to physical¬†encumbrance… I don’t care how long you spent meticulously crafting your Geordi LaForge unitard and VISOR, there are very few¬†parties you could attend where you aren’t violating this rule on both counts.

Of course, there is some overlap to these; violations of #1 are likely concurrent with violations of #4.    I welcome photographic evidence of these considerations being ignored.  I also welcome examples of the Geordi LaForge clause of #4 that are less Heteromasculocentric.