We’ve probably all played games that have had us thinking “I’ll just have one more go, then I’ll stop” and before we know it we’re suddenly watching the sun rise on a new day. It’s the gaming equivalent of a book being “a real page-turner”.
For want of a better phrase let’s call this an ‘engagement loop’, as a player we’re compelled to do something to receive a reward. If you are able to offer a large reward or range of rewards for a small loop, a player becomes highly engaged with the game while committing a small amount of time to each loop.
A game I’ve been playing a lot of recently is New Star Soccer by New Star Games, and is an excellent example of the “just one more go” school of game design.
The game is broken up between playing matches and managing your career, with matches taking around 1 minute to complete and the management side often taking even less time. Because the loops are so small, the player is more likely to have one more go.
The rewards in New Star Soccer are small but varied. Not only do you receive cash after each game but you also receive an individual match rating and help your team progress. This caters to three different types of players; those that want to earn money, those that want to improve their rating and those that want to win the league/cup with their team.
A long loop in another game would no doubt give you greater rewards but you’d be less inclined to continue playing spontaneously as it requires a greater commitment to engage with the game, with longer periods between natural break points.
If you’re trying to design a game with that ‘just one more go’ feeling, consider creating a small engagement loop with a significant or varied reward.