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Players Making Decisions: Game Design Essentials and the Art of Understanding Your Players by Zack Hiwiller

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Part 3: Meaningful Decisions

A good game is a series of interesting decisions.

—SID MEIER (APOCRYPHAL)

Have you ever played a game and felt that instead of you playing the game, the game was playing you? This is actually quite common, but many players have trouble narrowing down the root cause of their frustration. They just say the game is “boring,” which is not really much help to a designer who is looking for feedback and analysis. What players are really saying is that the game just doesn’t have anything interesting to do. Making decisions is what the players do in a game.

Consider the game LCR. It has a score of 1, which is the lowest possible rating, for 354 of its 913 reviews on BoardGameGeek as of November 24, 2014, a site that allows ...

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