My brand new game is just great!

Beautiful components – cards you can actually shuffle (not that I would ever do a thing like that) – and it plays from 1 to 6 players. Now, Mom and Pop can join us on the weekend. And the kids can invite their friends. And we can all have a great grand good old time.


We’ve all been there. Puffed up with pride and just howling with excitement.

Only to be disappointed when the game that you and your partner played and enjoyed suddenly bombs when you add players. Man! What a letdown.

Then you go from embarrassed to defensive to angry at yourself for buying the game in the first place. Only it’s not really anger. It’s your I’m-a-man-and-men-don’t-cry camouflage. Which is useful at times (even if you’re a woman) but it doesn’t really help in the long run – you’re still disappointed.

So, … What do you do – what can any of us do – to keep this from happening, or happening as frequently as it currently does?

I think the key to this is game balance. But not just game balance. It’s more of a set of game balances.
Let me explain.

Couldn’t there really be an ideal balance for any given game when it is played as a solitaire?
And a different and also unique balance when it is played by two players?

And yet other distinct balance points for 3, 4, 5, and 6 players?

I contend that there are. Or at least there could be.
And if any of this proposition is true, then perhaps game designers could take the long view of their games (just back up a hundred yards) for a few minutes and, at that distance, examine playability / re-playability / fairness / timing / ”joy points” (literally: exciting points during game play) / victory points / piece count / scoring / and what have you – for each and every player count. Not that we don’t already do that, but couldn’t we improve?

Sure we can.

Only, … how?

We’ll pick up this thread in our next post when we look at a little math that just might help. But don’t worry, it’s nothing you couldn’t work out with pad and pencil. You don’t have to be Einstein, you just have to have a big eraser. Or at least, I do. : )