After the countless games of Megadungeon! that I've played in the past year, I have just now won my very first! My unbroken string of defeats has made me the subject of mockery around the house for quite some time since the family finds it hilarious that I've never managed to win the game that I, myself, designed. But the tide finally turned during this evening's family game night as I thoroughly trounced the wife and daughter, then celebrated with victory laps around the dining room table.
I've been perplexed, for some time, as to why I've never managed to pull off a win after nearly a year of playing with family and friends. Indeed, I usually come in dead-last. By very odd coincidence, in the January issue of White Dwarf, veteran game designer Jervis Johnson wrote an article explaining why game designers tend not to win their own games very often and offered some interesting insights.
Apparently, it's commonplace for designers to lose their games, and Jervis chalked this up to a couple of factors. Firstly, designers play by the rules the way they were intended, which tends to blind them to a variety of options that other players, who see the rules the way they are actually written, can more easily exploit. This makes a lot of sense to me; I know what I had in mind when I wrote the rules and have probably become locked in a fixed mindset that inhibits my performance.
The second factor that, according to Johnson, contributes to Designer's Defeat (a term I've just coined) is that designers are constantly assessing the rules while they play, thinking about balance and rules-amendments instead of really concentrating on the game at hand and paying attention to what their opponents are doing. This may also contribute to the problem, but in my case I think the former factor plays a larger role than the latter.
In any event it gives me a convenient excuse for losing...I'm not really thick-witted and unlucky, I'm focusing on the rules. Yeah, that's it. But, tonight at least, I am the undisputed master of the Megadungeon!
Welcome Back to the Labyrinth
"We have been away far too long, my friends," Ashoka declared, his face lit by the eldritch green glow of his staff. "But we have finally returned to the labyrinth whence our adventures first began."
"Just imagine the treasures that lie within," said Yun Tai, flexing his mighty muscles. "Wealth enough to live in luxury the rest of our days."
"And arcane artifacts of great power," added Ashoka his words dripping with avarice. "All ours for the taking!"
"Umm...guys?" Nysa interrupted. "Do you hear something dripping?"