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Sunday, October 8 • 2:00pm - 2:50pm
Single Player Competition: Building Strong Strategy Game Systems You Can Live In

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I'm a strategy game designer, and I think there's a lot that needs to be explored about single-player competitive strategy games. I think what's great about strategy games in general is that they become a part of your life - "I am a League of Legends player" or "I am a Chess player". They're a part of your identity, that you try to get better at over the course of years, like playing a musical instrument or learning a language.

One downside of strategy games is that they also create a lot of competition anxiety in people. It's scary to play against other players who might be (or even just seem) a lot better than you.

But this downside is made much worse by the fact that multiplayer competitive games tend to often bring out the worst in people, especially online. The inherent "I win, you lose" aspect of competitive strategy games seems to bring out a lot of toxicity and bad feelings in almost every case.

I think single-player strategy games are a space almost totally unexplored. There are a few examples, like Rogue-likes, Civ-likes, and some designer board games that I'd like to talk about. My own game, Auro: A Monster-Bumping Adventure, innovated a "single player Elo" system wherein every time you win, you go up in rank (and losing brings you down in rank, just like an online matchmaking system). This way, you always have a balanced difficulty which forces the player to explore that edge of what they do and do not understand about the system.

Overall, I think that single player strategy games are under-explored, and many games that do explore it do not learn from the lessons of multiplayer strategy games.

avatar for Keith Burgun

Keith Burgun

I am a game designer and the author of "Clockwork Game Design". I'm the co-founder of Dinofarm Games, the creators of 100 Rogues and Auro: A Monster-Bumping Adventure. I gave a talk at NYU Practice 2013 and have spoken at several other schools, such as the NYFA and Franklin & Marshall... Read More →

Sunday October 8, 2017 2:00pm - 2:50pm PDT
((MAIN)) Nerio Education