In our game, “Weather or not,” Vicky, Cynthia, and I set out to teach players about how precipitation is caused by weather fronts, which are created by different temperature air masses colliding into each other. In the final version of the game, we had 3 main resources that could be collected: warm air masses, cold air masses, and lakes. Players could use these resources by placing them on the board and moving the air masses to create precipitation.
Before working on this game, the only system I felt I had extensive knowledge on was chess, which is a system game on its own. I felt really overwhelmed by the idea of creating a game that was similarly complex and well balanced. I also felt overwhelmed by the idea of researching a new system and being able to explain it to someone else in the form of a game. There was one night I stayed up way too long brainstorming ideas on a new iteration of the game because none of the ideas seemed good enough to me. There were also just so many nuances in weather patterns that I wasn’t sure which ones should be included in the game and which ones I should leave out. The next day, I decided that I just needed to pick an idea, throw something together, and test it. After playtesting with a friend, I learned that it was much more effective to come up with something quickly, test it out, and tweak things as you go rather than trying to make sure everything is perfect before you try it. I also learned that it’s impossible for one game to encompass all aspects of a really complicated system, so it’s more important to try to cover a part of a system really well than to try to incorporate everything. Lastly, I think I had set my expectations really high for what a system game should look like and how complex it should be because of my experience playing chess. Through this experience of making my own system game and playing other groups’ games, I have learned that system games can be simple and still be just as fun as a game that is very complex.