Fixed Move Games
Lately I’ve been working on designs for what I’m now calling “fixed move games.” These are games in which the player knows all of his or her possible game moves in advance. So far, I’ve been working on card games. Most classic trick-taking games are fixed move. In Hearts for example, you have a hand of cards, play one per trick, and so you know all the cards you can play in the game. The strategy comes from deciding the order of moves.
I like the containment of these games. They naturally limit the anxiety of choice. I also like the way the tempo of the game changes. In the games I’ve been experimenting with, players can choose to play multiple cards per round, creating an interesting challenge of managing resources. They are a natural fit for card games, where the possible actions can be written on the cards. The ideas so far seem promising. I am trying for “easy to learn, hard to master” and putting the challenge of the game on bluffing and hidden information.