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Space-Cast! #9. Costly Design

Wee Aquinas is bothered by his proximity to a toxic mineral. Fiber. Thing.

I’m as surprised as you are — it’s the ninth episode of the Space-Biff! Space-Cast! Today I’m joined by Armando Canales, Lyndon Martin, and Brian Willcutt, the designers of this year’s controversial title The Cost. We discuss the game itself, along with broader concepts of moral game design and how to focus a game’s intended story on the elements that matter most.

Listen over here or download here. Timestamps can be found after the jump.

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Considering The Cost

I was going to title this article "$95+S&H," since that's how much The Cost costs on the BGG Store, but that seemed a little *too* inside-jokey.

Message games. There’s a loaded term. It’s a given that games can be more than “fun.” They can also be interesting, educational, enlightening, distressing; any number of things. But to hear some people talk, a game can do only one thing well. Either it will be good in the traditional sense — as a game, a plaything, no more thought running through its head than how to function as a toy — or it can carry a message. At which point it will be dour and lifeless, something to be experienced once and then consigned to a shelf to gather dust.

The Cost, designed by Armando Canales and co-authored by Lyndon Martin and Brian Willcutt, is a fistful of sand flung into the face of that assumption.

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