Another game-definition: “I have no words + I must design”

“I have no words + I must design” bij Greg Costikyan.
Or the article as pdf

A game is a form of art in which participants, termed players, make decisions in order to manage resources through game tokens in the pursuit of a goal.

What it is not…

  • It’s not a puzzle. (A puzzle is static. A game is interactive)
  • It’s Not a Toy (A toy is interactive. But a game has goals)
  • It’s Not a Story (Stories are linear. Games are not)

What decisions do players make in this game?

  1. What are the players’ goals? Can the game support a variety of different goals? What facilities exist to allow players to strive toward their various goals? (For it to matter, for the game to be meaningful, you need something to strive toward. You need goals)
  2. What provides opposition? What makes the game a struggle?
  3. What resources does the player manage? Is there enough diversity in them to require tradeoffs in making decisions? Do they make those decisions interesting?
  4. What are the players’ tokens? What are these tokens’ abilities? What resources do they use? What makes them interesting?
  5. Will reasonable players be able to figure out what information they need, and how to find it? (feedback + interaction, comprehension of rules and play)
  6. Social connectedness – How can players help or hinder each other? What incentives do they have to do so? What resources can they trade?
  7. Simulation, game appeal plus it improves character identification (sensory stimuli)
  8. Randomness can be useful. It’s one way of providing variety of encounter. (chance)
  9. What things do the players encounter in this game? Are there enough things for them to explore and discover? What provides variety? How can we increase the variety of encounter?
  10. How can players be induced to roleplay? What sorts of roles does the system permit or encourage?
  11. How can the game better encourage socialization?
  12. What can be done to make the game tense?

“…you give serious consideration to “what my character would do in this case” as opposed to “what I want to do next.”

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