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One night in May my gaming group and I played four different games one after the other. We played Isle of Skye, Cartographers, Tiny Towns and Point Salad.

While different from each other, it struck me that these games are very much the same. They all follow the exact same game structure.

The model they share is common to all games, board and digital, that use building as a core mechanic. I call this model ABS — Acquire, Build, Score.

Acquire

During the acquire phase players acquire resources / cards / components in various ways. …


With user acquisition costs constantly rising, it’s more important than ever to retain the users you’ve already acquired.

In this short article, I’ll share what I’ve learned crafting loyalty systems for brands,and what can we learn from games about user loyalty.

Learning loyalty from the masters

In digital games, especially in the mobile free-to-play era, retention is the key to success, second only to monetization. Understanding how games retain users may help us design loyalty systems for every business. I would like to focus on an important gaming principle called feedback loop.

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In this made-up game, our hero is out…


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In this post I’ll share with you how I’ve managed to stick with my New Year’s resolution to train 20 minutes a day, six days a week, by designing my own behavior and avoiding payment to an NGO that I hate.

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December 2019. Two major events were about to happen in the year to come.

In February, the second child in my family was to be born, and a month after that I was turning 40. A big number. A round number. A mid-life crisis number.

So I said to myself, Dori (I always talk to myself in second…


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Games and interactive appliances differ from all other mediums in that they require their users to constantly make decisions. As a matter of fact, the decisions’ weight and frequency define the user experience.

Game and product designers take that for granted, to the point they may overlook how decisions affect the overall experience. Hence, they might find themselves with an experience that doesn’t fit their players’ play style, or an onboarding process their users skim through without gaining any substantial knowledge about the product they’ve just onboarded in.

To help me remember not to forget decision design, I’ve created a…


In 2012 E-learning was exploding. It was Coursera, the shining new education platform that made people go raving about the revolution of online learning. Coursera is indeed amazing. It hosts hundreds of various courses, taught by leaders in their field, and all for free. But as exciting as it is, this is yet to be titled a revolution. It turns out that MOOCs (Massive online course) completion rates are below 13% and even the best tutors with the best videos are not enough to motivate users over a period of time. …

Dori Adar

Game Designer, Product designer, Speaker, Blogger

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