Designing Games for Everyone

A friend explained to me that in Habitica it was really important to him to not waste mana destroying a ‘boss’ but to do it perfectly so that the amount of mana expended is exactly equal to the amount of mana needed.

I found this a bit mystifying. First, because we get more mana every single morning so it’s hardly a limited supply. And second because I’m just not that into how long it takes a boss to die. All I’m really interested in is the social interaction in Habitica and building my stable of cool mounts and discovering more cool things, of course. 

We have differing motivations. Totally understandable! I’ve been gaming long enough to know that everyone approaches gaming a bit differently. In many ways my friend is similar to my husband, so I brought the issue up with him. He said “You’re more of a Socializer or an Explorer than he is. That’s all. It fits within the Gamer Player Types theory.”

Leave it to my husband to have studied the academic literature on gaming and to just casually mention it as if it were a well-known thing.

I looked it up. This article on Bartle’s Player Types was fun and helpful and has a link to a quiz at the end to figure out what you are. As my husband said, I’m an Explorer/Socializer. Not a huge surprise there. I’m guessing that my friend is an Achiever/Socializer. Eighty percent of gamers are Socializers according to the article, but people can have more than one way of enjoying games. 

Why does this matter if everyone is having fun in their own way? 

It matters for game design. The article talks about using this information to create gamification systems. The idea is that you want to include all the elements for your players so that everyone can enjoy the game in their own way. 

Habitica, an app to gamify your To Do list and habits, is a great example of this. One of the best things in it is that you can join a Party and be part of a little social group helping each other. It hits the 80% extremely well with the Party structure and several other aspects of the game that encourage socializing. It also has experience levels for the Achievers; things to find and explore for the Explorers, and the ability to kill monsters for the Killers.

This matters not just for gamification, but for the design of RPGs as well, which is a topic we are keenly interested in. RPGs have a built-in social aspect. But building in competition, the ability to advance, and things to explore are all important for a good game. It’s something I’ll be thinking about as we move forward with game design. We have several game products in the pipeline, so we have a lot to think about.


BTW, speaking of game design, our first Indie-published adventure, Amelia’s Friends, just won Miskatonic Playhouse’s Silver Award. It’s an award judged on “the quality and clarity of the writing, the quality of any handouts and other artwork as well as the all important front cover.” We are beside ourselves with joy!

I hope joy is showing up as a frequent visitor in your life, as well, friends! 

Be well!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ll have to check out this article! And congratulations on the award! It was a ton of fun to playtest 😊

    1. Because you are a ton of fun to game with! Thanks so much for helping with this!

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