10. Decision-Making

A man without decision can never be said to belong to himself.

—JOHN FOSTER WATSON

It’s not enough to ask players to make decisions—the designer must frame decision points in a way that is conducive to generating or maintaining flow for the player. This critical component is where many games fail. To understand how to craft the most effective decisions, designers must first understand the basics of decision-making in games and then the basic features that make those decisions interesting or less interesting.

Interesting decision-making does not necessarily mean “decision-making that I, the designer, like.” Instead, it is decision-making that keeps the player in a space between frustrating challenge and tepid boredom.

Player ...

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