Design lessons and playful play

It’s ridiculous how many games I cart around with me, matched only by how obscure or short-lived or forgotten many of them are. I feel like flashing a little sign or card that says “Yes, you never heard of it,” just to get past the litany of announcements to that effect when I produce one of them.

So, this is Horrific, a card game I picked up in 2004, in just-release/pre-release form. A number of copies went into distribution and can be found for sale here & there online, but I’m pretty sure it was just one print run, and also that it was intended to be promotional for a final push into a glossier publication and perhaps one-more-revision design.

I wanted to play it just for fun, having no other experience beyond the GenCon demo fifteen years previously, and also because my reading had intrigued me in terms of play-dynamics. That’s why this isn’t a review post, but a discussion topic. The game looked it might have lessons in it, whether through successful or unsuccessful implementation.

It did! In the video, I talk about publishing toxosis, when denial/negation is fun and when it isn’t, and how access to options varies.

Many thanks to Ulf, Magnus, Bob, and one other person who played it with me. I have felt a strong urge to pull out a sharpie and “finish” it simply for personal use, and as a design exercise in working out the principles.


Leave a Reply