Mark Rosewater's 20 lessons from 20 years of MtG


(Kane York) #1

I think that these 20 lessons are quite relevant to Discourse’s design and development.

  1. Fighting against human nature is a losing battle
  2. Aesthetics matter
  3. Resonance is important
  4. Make use of piggybacking
  5. Don’t confuse ‘interesting’ with ‘fun’
  6. Understand what emotion your game is trying to invoke
  7. Allow the player the ability to make the game personal
  8. The details are where the players fall in love with the game
  9. Allow your players to have a sense of ownership
  10. Leave room for the player to explore
  11. If everyone likes your game, but no one loves it, it will fail
  12. Don’t design to prove you can do something
  13. Make the fun part also the correct strategy to win
  14. Don’t be afraid to be blunt
  15. Design the component for the audience it’s intended for
  16. Be afraid of boring your players more than challenging them
  17. You don’t have to change much to change everything
  18. Restrictions breed creativity
  19. Your audience is good at recognizing problems and bad at solving them
  20. All the lessons connect

There were several times when transcribing that list that I wanted to bold an item, but I restrained myself. #20 really says all that’s needed in that respect.


In the realm of Discourse-specific, many of these just straight-out work if you replace “game” with “product” and “player” with “user”.

Number 7 - with trust levels, the forum participants are allowed to take a moderate role in the moderation of the forum, which helps instill a sense of ownership, of “our” community.

Number 19 - the first post’s recommended solution on Meta is pretty much always not the correct route, but there is a real problem there

Number 5, Number 18 - freeform tagging.

There are more parallels, but I’ll let you think about them on your own :slight_smile:


(Sam Saffron) #2

Nice list, very relevant.

This is super important, and something Kathy Sierra is famous for.


(Jay Pfaffman) #3

This explains Comcast. Thanks.


(Tobias Eigen) #4

Why is hate good? Because the haters will stay away?


(Régis Hanol) #5

Because it means you’ve touched something sensitive and you’re trying to change some kind of status quo.

Also, often, when there is hate, there is love nearby :wink: