If you like reading about game design or just really liked the excellent Card Thief ($2.99), you’ll be happy to know that Arnold Rauers, of Tinytouchtales, wrote a great blog post about creating tension in Card Thief. The game is all about a thief sneaking into a castle and stealing all kinds of items, so the developers wanted to create a high-tension experience to evoke the feeling of trying to sneak in and out of a highly guarded place. The blog post talks about the path mechanic and how it offers many and interesting decisions that increase tension each turn. The stealth mechanic was also designed to increase tension, especially with how the thief can go to 0 stealth or even less but still continue on the board trying to get into a strong position or hoping for a lucky card draw.
The blog post goes on to talk about how the guards -as-treasures mechanic, the chests, and the exit all help increase the game’s tension and why having tension in the game mattered. A great read about a great game, so check it all out here.