The KonMari Method Applied To Game Design

As I continue hammering out the kinks in the design of Legacy’s Allure, its easy to miss the forest for the trees. The forest representing the core experience I want to create for the player. The trees being the elements that get you there, such as mechanics.

Yesterday I was getting frustrated with my inability to let go of some of the mechanics that added realism or balance but made the game longer and more tedious. Rather than obsessing over how I would balance the game with or without those mechanics, I decided to ask another question:

Does this element spark joy?

That element could be a illustration, die, token, box, creature, spell, mechanic, theme — anything.

For those of you not familiar with the KonMari method, it was developed by “professional organizer” Marie Kondo to help people declutter their lives. As you go through your mess of belongings, you do not start with the question, “Where does this belong?” but rather “Does this belonging spark joy?” If the answer is no, get rid of it! (Easier said than done.)

I decided to go through my entire list of rules, cards I had created, and everything else, and ask this question. It was a cathartic experience and the game feels so much more streamlined now. The best part is that after I forced myself to get rid of elements I didn’t like, I realized that what remained was actually easier to balance than before.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery