Game Design

Rurik: Dawn of Kiev – A Walk Through Game Design with Stanislav Kordonskiy

Hello crew!

Today we have a special treat, a currently active Kickstarter in his final hours. This game is a rocketing success and employs a number of unique and interesting mechanics. Stan was generous enough to give us a peak into his mindset building this game. Get out your notebooks folks, you are going to want to learn from this.

How did you work to foster increased interaction in your game design and how important was interaction in your game development?


This was intended to be an interactive game from the beginning. The interaction is built in throughout the game. From the bumping and climbing on the Strategy Board to the race to build and collect resources on the main board to the drafting of the deeds during the Claim Phase. I’d say its impossible to do well in this game unless you are paying a very close attention to all your opponents.

How did you consider replay value in the design process? What ways did you work to increase replay value?

Replay ability ranks very high on my list of the design goals. In this game a lot of replay ability stems from the numerous ways strategy Board actions are combined with the Scheme cards. Also the scoring system is quite balanced. Every strategy is viable but no strategy is dominant. Each play through flows and changes based on the decisions that the players choose to make and very different experiences will be created as a result.

What was the most substantial change that happened during playtesting?

We have spent the most time trying to make the Deeds and Goods in the game work in the way that benefited the gameplay but also were perceived by the players as thematic and fun to play. This was a big sticking point for a long time for us. I believe we finally were able to solve it early this Spring.

How did you find the artists and graphic designers for your game?

[Kirk weighs in on this one] I (Kirk – the publisher) found the cover artist (Finn McAvinchey) by looking at online portfolios, the game board artist (Alayna Lemmer-Danner) by talking to her at a game convention, the character artist (Yaroslav Radeckyi) from another publisher’s Facebook post, and the graphic designer and art director (Yoma) from a request for art help in a Facebook group. Great artists are all over the place!

What are the major dynamics that make your game unique? How did you brainstorm or come up with the original concepts behind those?

The most unique thing about Rurik without a doubt is the auction programming. Its a combination of action selection, programming and auction. Practically every person that played it commented on the unique and satisfying aspects of this mechanic. I’m not sure what exactly made me think of it other than just a regular trial and error process that is often a big part of any game design.

How did you think about barrier of entry when you designed your game?

Accessibility is another high priority design goal that I have on my list. I’d like to design my games so they can be explained and taught in 10-15 min or less. I also try to keep any redundant or superfluous things which add to the rules load out of the game. I’d like for people who do not play games a whole lot to be able to see the rules or online explanation of the game and say: “I could play that!” instead of feeling like they are studying for a test.

What is one piece of advice you would give to new game designers trying to get into this space?

Try to think beyond just your design idea and the mechanics that govern it. Ask yourself, what kind of person would like to play your game? How often will it be played? How much time and effort would those players be willing to expend on your game? What kind of company would make something like this?

Go support this game now on Kickstarter: