Your Game Has More Rules Than You Think

by Clint Miller on Monday, September 28, 2015

Magic player reading cards

The first few times a new design hits the playtest table, you’re bound to run into some balance issues. Great games take months or years to become “balanced.” What’s the best way to avoid this never-ending grind?

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Somebody Copied My Game Idea…Years Before I Designed It

by Clint Miller on Friday, May 01, 2015


If you’ve dabbled in any game design before this has probably happened to you. You’re online and you discover a game with a VERY similar concept as yours. Sometimes almost eerily close. It’s already published and on BGG, silently giggling and mocking you. What do you do?

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Paperize Template Support

by Loren Norman on Monday, April 27, 2015

Template Header

We learned: templates are a key feature

We've collected a lot of feedback, and a lot of game designers want templates. Custom templates, even. But we've decided not to build that feature. Not right now, anyway.

Why? Because you don't really need custom templates, if you're prototyping correctly.

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Board With Life creator Chris Bryan brings comedy to board gaming

by Jay Egger on Friday, April 03, 2015

Chris Bryan

Hobbies like board gaming take off and become a truly rewarding experience when there is a sense of community. Board gaming has had plenty of access to news, reviews and event coverage, but something was missing for quite some time -- comedy. Comedy showcases the lighthearted nature of gaming and reminds us that it’s really all about having fun. Texas native Chris Bryan decided to bring a comedic viewpoint to board gaming with Board With Life, a web series centered around board games. But before creating the fan-favorite board game web series, Bryan got his start toying around with game design.

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SO you want to game with your S.O.?

by Clint Miller on Thursday, January 22, 2015


One of the biggest questions I see on /r/boardgames by far is, "What’s a good two-player game to play with my wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend?" Finding willing participants can be one of the biggest hurdles of our hobby, and we naturally look to the people around us. Unfortunately, many of our significant others aren’t into board games they way we are. What’s a modern hobby gamer to do?

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Game Prototyping Tip: Cheap Resource Cubes

by Loren Norman on Friday, January 09, 2015

Cubes Close Up

Looking for some of those lovely, colored, wooden cubes that are so popular in your favorite Eurogames? Need a bunch to prototype with, but don't want to break the bank? Read on for the skinny on some cheap cubes.

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Design Games not Graphics

by Clint Miller on Friday, October 10, 2014

Prototype Cards

If you’ve spent any time designing games, or even just reading about the process, then you know game design thrives on one thing: iteration. All games, no matter how great, started off as a thought experiment of the designer, and how it came to fruition was testing it, tweaking it then testing again. 

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Tech Talk at Big Nerd Ranch

by Clint Miller on Friday, October 10, 2014


We were recently asked to speak at Big Nerd Ranch about modern tabletop games and the state of the industry. It was a great opportunity to introduce other designers and developers to board games and our process of designing them which is heavily influenced by lean practices and user experience design.

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Game Chef Concept (Workshop Wrap-up, 5/10)

by Loren Norman on Monday, May 12, 2014

For this week's workshop, we focused on Game Chef. None of us have ever competed in a game design competition before, so we started by reviewing the rules, past winners, judging procedure, and of course, this year's theme and ingredients!

Reviewing last year's winner: Encho

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Game Chef Workshop

by Loren Norman on Thursday, May 08, 2014

This weekend marks the beginning of Game Chef: an annual analog game design competition. Game Chef has been held annually for more than a decade, and it sees dozens of original games drafted every year. With its focus on multiple languages, access for the deaf and blind, peer judging, and strictly simplistic submission guidelines, I believe it is one of the most inclusive events out there.

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Design Workshop Wrapup 4/12/14

by Chanse Horton on Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Small Town Politics

This edition of our weekly workshop started with testing some new rules on Flip the Script, and continued by dealing with some eagerly awaited old business. Our initial brainstorming session back at the beginning of the year yielded not just one, but two major game ideas. One, which we immediately began work on, resulted in what you now know as Flip the Script . The second idea, which was initially tabled so as to allow focus on one project, finally started to come to life in a big way this Saturday.

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Flip The Script: Print & Play

by Clint Miller on Friday, March 28, 2014

Flip the Script

It is with great pride that I present the first beta release from Oil & Rope Games. Flip the Script is a party game about script-writing and green-lighting for 3-8 players.


In Flip the Script, players compete to see who is the best movie maker by taking on two different roles:

  • Writers trying to keep those stodgy producers from ruining their script
  • Producers trying to wrangle a starry-eyed writer into making something marketable

As writers, we know what really matters: creativity! If we can’t make something original and make the audience feel something, then why even come to work? These spreadsheet-jockey producers think they’ve got it all figured out, but does the world really need another sequel to that big budget, explosion-laden sex fest from last summer?

As producers, we know what really matters: the bottom line! If we can’t sell a bajillion movie tickets, loads of merchandise and some high profile product placement ads then we can’t keep the doors open! So if those idealistic writers don’t stick to what works, they’ll be out of a job. After all, we’ve run the numbers and conducted the focus groups; we know what the public wants.

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Fate Extras: Stockpiles

by Loren Norman on Friday, March 21, 2014

Stockpiles in Fate

In our role-playing group, we recently ditched Pathfinder and started up a new campaign in a fresh setting using the Fate Core system. After a single session, we knew there was no looking back: with its focus on story and drama, the Fate experience is unbelievable! This post discusses the flexibility of Fate by introducing a new mechanic (an "Extra") we made to suit our setting.

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Design Workshop Wrapup 3/15/14

by Loren Norman on Sunday, March 16, 2014

Game Design Workshop

We had a great time with a small group at today's workshop. Here's a quick brain dump of the activities we did in order...

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Design Workshop Wrapup 2/22/14

by Loren Norman on Saturday, February 22, 2014

Game Design Workshop

This Saturday's play test was a good one with no less than 5 game prototypes being playtested by 9 people! We played:

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Fail Faster

by Clint Miller on Thursday, February 20, 2014

A great motto to work by as a game designer. Extra Credits has an awesome game design series if you’ve never seen it.

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The very best stuff from Oil & Rope at your fingertips.

  1. Design Games not Graphics
  2. SO you want to game with your S.O.?
  3. Game Prototyping Tip: Cheap Resource Cubes
  4. Tech Talk at Big Nerd Ranch

...and you'll find more to read in each article.