CGD Podcast Episode 17: Rogue-likes and Other “Bar Games”


I don’t mean “bar” as in “pub”, I mean it as in like a resource bar. In this episode, I talk about Rogue-like games in detail, why it isn’t really a genre, and what the future of these games are.

What can we do with single-player strategy games? Must they all be “managing highly random resources”? I think we should question our reliance on output randomness and heavily variant input randomness (such as map generation in Civilization) to make single-player strategy games work.

It turns out that my two articles I wrote on score in the past were really outdated and they’re in the shop to be worked on. In the meantime, I recommend reading these for more thoughts on why the traditional high score system is a problem (which I claim in the episode but don’t really back up).

“Why I Hate The Term Permadeath”

Episode 12 of this podcast, which talks about good goals

Auro’s Single Player Elo System

A Roguelike Radio episode that I’m featured on that discusses score

A reddit “Weekly Game Design” that touches on it

Thanks for listening!


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  • hilbert90

    I’m curious to now go listen to the latest episode on League, because your description of “bar games” is how I view LoL. I mean, the champions literally have bars over their heads that they you constantly watch. I don’t fully understand the distinction being made, because if you forget about the fact that there are other players controlling the champions, you could view their actions as “random” in the same way that roguelike enemies are random. Anyway, I’ll definitely give it a listen (I’ve only played MOBAs for ~200 hours, so I don’t have a ton of experience with them).

  • This is the latest episode – the League thing is an article (I still make those!).

    I agree that League has those problems, but as I talk about in the article, the difference is, that’s not *all* it has going on. It IS a bar game, but it’s not ONLY a bar game. There is an actual strategic axis with the “lane pushing” thing.