Game designer Nicole Kline, of RESISTOR_ and Lazer Ryderz, answers five questions about being a game designer and the game design process.
Nicole Kline
Philadelphia, PA
Number of years designing
5 years
Best known for
RESISTOR_ and Lazer Ryderz

What was the moment you knew you were a game designer?
My partner Anthony and I made RESISTOR_ at a game jam, and ended up winning the jam. Watching people play it, seeing the looks on their faces as they enjoyed it – I think that was the moment I realized that I had made a game, a game that people really liked. I wouldn’t call myself a designer for quite some time, but that was when I first felt it.
Where have your best ideas come from?
My best ideas have come from really strange places – I have an idea right now for a game that I’ve been thinking about that came from a weird nightmare I had. But a lot of my ideas have also grown from being confined – having some kind of restriction, or being in a game jam where I have a specific theme to work with.
Describe your design/development process?
I spend way, WAY too much time thinking about a game before I put any of it down on paper or start trying to make it. The nightmare game I was talking about still hasn’t been put on the table yet – it’s all just in my head. Once I’ve got enough in there, though, I either work with prototypes (decks of cards or sleeved paper) or I try to mock something up. From there it’s a lot of playtesting and iterating, a lot of questions and note-taking, changing things up, and sometimes putting the game down for a little while and coming back to it later.
Nicole Kline playtesting games.
What are your favorite tools for making game prototypes?
The best thing we own is a corner cutter. Anthony makes cards by printing on cardstock and stickers, then we cut everything and put it together, and he trims the edges, cuts the corners, and sometimes draws on the sides of the cards with a black marker. That corner cutter makes the difference between a card that looks like you cut it by hand versus something professionally printed.
If you could go back to the beginning and teach yourself one thing about game design what would it be?
That it’s ok to rip out something you think you’re married to in a game. It’s ok to accept that what you thought was the heard of the game really isn’t. That, if you love something enough, you can always keep it for another game. It’s hard to accept that something you really want to work just isn’t working at all. But sometimes that’s what you have to do to let the game evolve.

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