"Board games are software that run on people."
With those words, game designer Tim Fowers opened his GDC 2017 Board Game Design Day talk about the design and development of his acclaimed co-operative board game Burgle Bros.
What's interesting about the Burgle Bros board game is that it was designed to capture the fantasy of the heist: allowing players to experience the tension of planning, pushing your luck, and adapting when things go south.
In his talk, Fowers talked about how about how to recreate these moments using key game choices instead of theatrical presentation. He also spoke to the overlap between video and board game design, and discussed how games are ultimately a test of character and how he used rogue-like mechanics to drive players to critical choices that create emotion and tell unique emergent stories.
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