Game Designers In Detail is an interview series between a current NYU Game Center MFA student and a PRACTICE speaker. PRACTICE is the NYU Game Center’s annual conference that takes a close look at the concrete challenges of game design, creating a context for conversation among game designers of all types.
Eric Teo: Given how challenging and competitive the modern tabletop games industry is, what are some key design concepts and lessons that designers should be aware of to be innovative and stand out amongst the crowd ?
Leslie Scott: The tabletop games industry has always been challenging and competitive, and in many ways really surprisingly conservative. So while major publishers profess they want us game designers to come up with highly original concepts, in practice, they tend only to licence new games that are clearly derivative i.e.with just a slight twist on a well known classic or well understood play mechanic. These are considerably easier to market and sell. That said, I believe that there is always scope for the new in the tabletop game industry, and I would advise game designers to do what all kinds of designers, artists and scientists have done in the past, which is to look for inspiration outside our own industry.