Form vs. Functionality in Game Design

Far Away is unlike any of our previous titles. One of the most significant differences is the amount of pieces. From explorer and creature tokens to the many types of cards and mats, everything needs to work together. It’s a constant battle of what’s necessary to the game and what can be simplified. We want Far Away to be accessible without sacrificing the complexity and depth of gameplay.

For just about every piece, Alex and I have discussed it’s function and purpose. Games with large amounts of pieces can be intimidating to some but that doesn’t mean there can’t be lots of pieces. It simply means that we have to be careful with our decisions and how we craft our universe. Design is a dance of functionality and form. At what point does function overrule form or vice versa?


Take iconography, for example. As humans living in 2018, we are more than comfortable with parsing symbols and icons. However, if a player needs to refer to something else to decipher an icon, something isn’t working properly. Sometimes an icon may look nice but could also make things harder to understand. It could be that the icon is too abstract and doesn’t make sense out of context or, maybe there are too many icons to remember. We then have to ask ourselves, is an icon the best solution?

It’s a hard question with no correct answer. When your copy of Far Away arrives, you can be sure that Alex and I have poured over each part, probably had some conflicting views, and definitely were side-tracked by some of that sweet, sweet tunage.