Stone Librande: 15 Games in 15 Years

April 14th, 2011 posted by Govind

Stone Librande

On 12 April, the awesome Mr. Stone Librande was amongst our midst to give a seminar titled “15 Games in 15 years”. He is a game designer at Maxis. This seminar was the same one he had given at GDC just a month ago. Right off the bat you knew how passionate he was about his craft when he actually brought board games with him, some of them being over 10 years old. These were the 15 games he had made over the last 15 years. As we passed around his games, we noticed the amount of detail and attention that was put into many of his game pieces.

The talk he gave was not about mechanics of his games rather it’s high level design and what the lessons he learned from making them. He made some points that were against established design conventions. As he introduced each game he presented new lessons he learnt. Some of these were:

1. Pay attention to your audience

2. The goal (of a game) is not important

3. Game pieces are more important than rules

4. Let rules fit you pieces

5. Iterate

6. Let players decide what rules they want

7. Short setup time

8. Reward the player, not punish

9. Look outside your game domain to get fresh ideas.

As a summary he presented how his technique has changed over time and how technology has changed the way he approaches these games. He also stressed that projects like these are great for designers as there are no deadlines and commercial pressures associated with these games.

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