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    Hello friends, Daniel Peterson the Lead Developer for Mayday Games. This morning I awoke with something in my mind that I have not thought about in decades, Numeral Systems. image About 30 years ago when I was in my teens I was fascinated with computers. I would stay after school to use the Apple IIE. My first computer was a TI-99 4A with 16k. Yes, you read that right only 16k. My data storage was a cassette tape and it took a long time to load previously stored data. In those days you did not have a graphic user interface, you turned on the computer and saw a flashing cursor. I learned Basic, Logo and a little Pascal. image As a kid I used to make my own games to play on my computer because I did not have the money to buy them. The games were simple, the computer would generate a random number, the user would try to guess the number and the computer would give clues high or low etc. I also made a lot of adventure games that played like a choose your own adventure game. As I grew in skill I would add graphic images to enhance the experience. I love how a computer works. The binary system intrigues me. I was intrigued that the computer only knows two things, either a circuit has electricity in it, or a circuit does not have electricity in it. Another way to look at a binary system is "yes or no" and of course "0 or 1"


I was intrigued that a computer that could do anything but only knows two things 0 and 1. Learning the Binary Numeral Sytem was ground breaking idea for my young mind. Later I learned other Numeral Systems, Octal and Hexidecimal. The Hexidecimal number system was a gift from God at that time. I only had 16k, using the Hexidecimal Numeral System I was able to compress large amounts of numbers and data into a smaller space! image I have always been obbsessed with numbers and patterns. At a younger age in elementary school I would often sum numbers on address and license plates while I walked home from school to avoid boredom. I still find my mind doing it today. I know, it is pathetic. The reason I talk about this is that I love board games that have patterns and are based on consistent numbers. Stone Age is a great example. The probability of the dice role to produce items that are worth consistent values is perfect! image Consistent numbers in a board game can be range of numbers instead of exact numbers Splendor is a great example of this. The cost of the cards in the first level are 3-5 gems. Since Splendor is  a race to get 15 points, of course I would rather buy the card priced at 3 instead of 5. image I love when designers mix up the numbers by creating set collection bonuses and secret goals. For example there is a card available to all players worth 5 points. But it is worth more to me because I get a bonus if I collect more of that card. Or I get 10 bonus points if I get that card and others for my secret goal. That is when a game gets interesting! The base or the core of the game fits a nice consistent math pattern but the play of the game creates agonizing choices as the values of the cards are not always worth the same amount of points to each player because the designer has added other parts to the game to mix these values up. I remember Paul Kruetz (an old friend, currently playing in Voodoo Swing. Picture below of Paul at Sjock festival in Belgium) telling me, "In Rock and Roll you first learn the rules, then you break the rules." Then he taught me the 12 bar blues and then showed me how to break out of that pattern to create unique and different music. image I think it is the same in game design. First the game needs to be balanced with consistent number patterns. Then the game design needs to include other parts to break up the balance and number patterns to make it more interesting and force players to make agonizing decisions. Enough of my abstract ramblings I'm off to play Tiny Epic Galaxies! image


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