Game Design Theory: Luck and Skill

As I set out to design my first game (don’t worry I’ll talk about it soon), I spent a lot of time thinking about luck and skill. I am generally a fan of very strategic and skillful games, ones with very little amount of luck. But in designing this game, I knew I wanted to make it accessible to a variety of players – specifically kids and casual gamers.

There is a very interesting lecture by Richard Garfield discussing the topic of luck versus skill in games:

The NYU Game Center Lecture Series: Richard Garfield from NYU Game Center on Vimeo.

In the lecture, Richard highlights the benefit of luck in game design. Games with luck tend to be more engaging because even lower skilled players have a chance at winning.

A few of the first versions of my game were very strategic and limited the effects of luck. As I continued to playtest, it was obvious that introducing more luck into the game made it more fun and easier to play. For games that are targeted to a more casual audience like family games, I think involving an amount of luck is a good thing. To add more depth to the game, skill should allow players to influence the impact of luck.

What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Game Design Theory: Luck and Skill

  1. @Jeremiah042

    Luck makes a big difference in accessibility, especially in a more casual market, as you point out. You’re always going to want people to feel like they have a chance of winning, even if they’d have to get really lucky.

    Sometimes you can hide the probability, and give players a very low chance of coming from behind to win, but it’s still enough.


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