Game Development Reference
Their first move is always crystal clear. Second, any time spent playing equates
to forward progress. Even if they lose a match, they gain XP (experience points)
and are rewarded for their time investment. Finally, the game offers the player
a stopping point after every single user action. Match three, and you can quit.
Move to the next battle, and you can quit. Add a new spell to your repertoire,
and you can quit. And guess what? Players will still stay up way past their
bedtimes—not because the game design impedes them from stopping when
real life calls, but because the core mechanic lets you stop at any time, making
it easier to play just one more turn, and then just one more turn, and then just
one last turn, and so on.
Puzzle Quest 2 is a great example of game design that delivers simple, addictive gameplay
with a compelling level of depth. It allows a user to easily play for three seconds at a
time … all night long. By making your game easy to start and stop, you'll make it more
accessible to your users who have other demands on their time. Used with permission.
Make it easy to play with friends
Don't forget the social part. Your users need to understand how easily to fit
their social network into their games. There are a terrific array of features that
you can use to reward them for interacting with their friends in some way, but
none of that is worth much if they don't know the friends are there, or can't
figure out how to invite, play, and otherwise interact with them.