Only by finding and focusing on a core mechanism can you further your pursuit of elegance in strategy game design.
Clockwork Game Design is the most functional and directly applicable theory for game design. It details the clockwork game design pattern, which focuses on building around fundamental functionality. You can then use this understanding to prescribe a system for building and refining your rulesets. A game can achieve clarity of purpose by starting with a strong core, then removing elements that conflict with that core while adding elements that support it.
Filled with examples and exercises detailing how to put the clockwork game design pattern into use, this book is a must-have manual for designing games.
A hands-on, practical book that outlines a very specific approach to designing games
Develop the mechanics that make your game great, and limit or remove factors that disrupt the core concept
Practice designing games through the featured exercises and illustrations
Keith Burgun is the author of Game Design Theory: A New Philosophy for Understanding Games. He is a contributing editor to Gamasutra and his own design blog at keithburgun.net. He has taught game design at a number of schools, including SUNY Purchase College, The New York Film Academy, and the Katonah Arts Center. He has also guest lectured at NYU and Franklin & Marshall College.
Preface Chapter 1: Theory Section 1: Games Section 2: The Essential Value of Games Chapter 2: Anatomy Section 1: Purpose Section 2: The Core Mechanism Section 3: The Goal Section 4: Supporting Mechanisms Section 5: Theme Section 6: Documentation Chapter 3: Construction Section 1: The Approach Section 2: Analysis Section 3: Implementation Chapter 4: Pitfalls Section 1: Problems Section 2: My Experiences Section 3: Closing Thoughts