Fear of Missing Out

People make irrational decisions when they are afraid they might miss out on a big opportunity.

McLelland’s 3 Needs Theory

People have a need for achievement, affiliation and power.

Equity Theory

People compare inputs and outputs to others to determine fairness.


A state of full involvement in an activity.

The Experimental Approach

Tackle unknowns through designed experiments and analysis.

Peak-End Rule

People remember and judge experiences based largely on the peak and the last impression.

Expectation Management

Tempering expectations to avoid hype and eventual disappointment. Important due to sensitivity to loss.

Cumulative Advantage

How advantages can stack over time to yield increasing advantages.

Perception is Reality

For most people, truth is irrelevant. Perception is their reality, no matter how distorted.

Incentives and Unintended Consequences

Incentives can lead to undesirable behavior, and punishments can provide justification for bad behavior.

Expectancy Theory

People expect effort to lead to performance to lead to rewards.

Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development

How group dynamics evolve over time.

Emergent Behavior

New behaviors that evolve organically beyond lower-level characteristics.

Power Curves

How your player characters progressively become more powerful in the game.

Rational Basis

A good test for plot design to keep elements from getting too ridiculous.

Timmy, Johnny and Spike

Segmenting your target audience to better understand the breadth of user experiences and wants.

Kill 3 Rats

Avoid repetitive gameplay loops and create dynamic gameplay.

Loss Aversion

People are more sensitive to losses than gains of similar magnitude.