Design Theory
Carla Kopp

In Depth Design: Venice

If you haven’t played Venice by Braincrack Games, you can check out the BGG page or this video by Gaming Rules! Venice is a really neat blend of worker placement and pick up and deliver. In Venice, you’ll travel around Venice in gondolas, leaving assistants at most of the locations you stop on. Each time

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  1. I’ve struggled that way as well, sometimes. I actually really like theme in games, but I also often ignore it when playing, which is silly because I enjoy when I can lean into it, even when it makes me lose.

    As for design, here’s why I find theming so helpful. It’s like a thesis statement in a paper (sorry, I’m an English teacher). It gives me focus. Without a theme, EVERYTHING is possible. I start throwing in every idea that occurs to me, and that’s silly. Furthermore, the ideas are all rather generic until I get a theme. When I can tie ideas to the theme, I find they make more sense, even if it’s a loose tie. And I get more creative, finding new ideas I wouldn’t have otherwise because I’m automatically excluding ideas that don’t fit the theme–when you have to skip a lot of low-hanging fruit, you start finding the more interesting ideas.

    Lots of designers, when asked, say they don’t start with theme or mechanism, but both. I’m not sure I TOTALLY buy that, but I believe they begin integrating them very early. I really think it helps you focus your ideas.