Friday, June 16, 2006

Late last year I started a thread on BGG about fundamental structures of games. The brief version of my conclusions is listed below. Now I'm going to try to go through each of the nine elements and list many of the alternatives that are available to designers for that element. I did Economy in late December, now I’ll try some more.

Brief listing of nine structural systems of games (but not sports)
1. Theme/History/Story.
2. Objective/victory conditions.
3. “Data storage”. (Information Management)
4. Sequencing.
5. Movement/Placement.
6. Information availability.
7. Conflict resolution/interaction of game entities.
8. "Economy" (resource acquisition).
9. Player Interaction rules.

Conflict resolution/Interaction
Tic-Tac-Toe (even here–the “resolution” is, you cannot place your maker where a marker already exists)

by rounds

Displacement elimination
checkers (form of, since you jump over rather than displace directly)

Surround or other pattern
Carcassonne (that’s scoring rather than conflict)
(You can see checkers jump as a form of this)

Adjacent conflict (wargames) often with dice or cards, sometimes with "combat tables"

Action at a distance (artillery, ship combats)

Trick-taking ("highest" wins)
Many variations
"Odds"--the strength of the piece makes a difference
Strength makes no difference in chess, pawn can take queen

Capture vs eliminate
Captured unit may be recovered/reused in some games, eliminated can be rebuilt in many
Captured can even be used by the captor (card games)
In some games, when it's gone, it's gone (checkers, "king" is just a way to show new status, not recovery of a unit)

"Bump" other piece to another location (as opposed to back into a pool)
some family games
some card games

Resource comparison (another form of "highest", but not confined to one card/piece)
Tigris & Euphrat

Often shoot from a distance (FPS) at a target

Copyright 2006 Lewis Pulsipher

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