TGDRT #30: Design Lessons & David Sirlin

Episode #30: Design Lessons & Sirlin Games. With David Sirlin

Episode #30 is live!

Jon and Dirk are joined by David Sirlin, designer of tabletop titles Puzzle Strike, Yomi and Flash Duel. The group discusses his past games, future plans, building a tabletop company, David’s interesting journey from the Street Fighter community into design, and the vital importance of balance and asymmetry.

Dirk and I have both really enjoyed Puzzle Strike and have wanted to get David on for a while. His style very much differs from Dirk and I (particularly when it comes to theme), but he’s one of the best designers out there, so you don’t want to miss this episode.

– Jon



Asymmetry between players is one of the designer’s best – and most challenging – tools. Not only does it spice up the experience of playing the game, when implemented well it also greatly enhances replayability. Let’s look in detail at the impact it can have, along with why it’s sometimes so hard to incorporate.


What Does Asymmetry Add?

The more new experiences a game can provide players the more replayable it is. One of the best ways to expand that variety is with asymmetric factions. In the original Civilization all of the civs were identical, so outside of one’s imagination there was no reason to ever play anyone but the default. In Civilization 5 this is no longer the case, and the goal of the design team was to have factions that were unique enough to all be worth playing, but not so much so that these differences stole the show from the core mechanics.