Gareth Graham on The Mechanics of Game Design

Gareth Graham on The Mechanics of Game Design

Joining me this week is Gareth Graham. Gareth is the founder of Frenzy Kitty Games, a designer, and writer of role-playing games. He is also a writer and video editor.

You can tell from this conversation that his passion lies in designing the mechanics of really fun, fast, and exciting role-playing games. I came into this not knowing much at all about role-playing games and learned so much from this very free-flowing and casual conversation with Gareth.

Please enjoy!

Full Episode

Guest Links

Show Notes

  • How did Gareth get into role-playing games? (01:51-03:20)
  • What drives Gareth to create these games? (04:15-05:40)
  • How many games have his company, Frenzy Kitty Games, released? (05:41-06:38)
  • Gareth talks about the benefit of forcing himself to constraints in terms of creating games. (07:03-08:10)
  • What’s the difference between role-playing games and board games? (08:14-09:50)
  • What are some of the most well-known role-playing games? (09:53-12:50)
  • Gareth explains what live-action role-playing is. (12:58-13:48)
  • The two main elements to creating a role-playing game. (14:02-15:11)
  • Reasons why Gareth gets excited about the mechanics of the games he creates. (15:12-17:02)
  • Gareth talks about the factors that influence his game design process. (17:10-18:37)
  • How much time does Gareth spend on building his skills? (18:38-20:40)
  • Who are Gareth’s mentors? (21:00-21:39)
  • What makes a good role-playing game in Gareth’s point of view? (22:13-23:35)
  • How does Gareth start designing a game and the mechanics around it? He talks about his game, Karma, as an example. (23:45-27:44)
  • What inspired Gareth to create the game Karma? (24:40-25:47)
  • Gareth talks about the intricacies of decision trees and game rules. (27:45-30:20)
  • Is there a difference between the options available to him as a designer if he decides to use dice vs cards? (30:21-31:39)
  • How does Gareth map out the games he creates? (31:40-34:10)
  • Gareth further explains the process of his game production. (34:23-35:20)
  • Who does the narrative writing in his games? (35:31-35:56)
  • Why structuring of the document of a game is super crucial. (35:58-37:15)
  • How he utilizes Google Doc for his writing. (37:15-38:00)
  • How playtesting works and how he gets feedback. (38:36-40:55)
  • At what point does he know when a game he created is done? (41:08-42:05)
  • How he manages multiple ideas he has for a game he is working on. (42:20-43:14)
  • How does he do blind testing for his work? (43:33-44:48)
  • Gareth talks about marketing for role-playing games. (45:04-48:26)
  • What does he think it will take for role-playing games to become more popular? (48:42-50:23)

Selected Links from the Episode

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