Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Triptych 9

Triptych 9

Three separate topics in one post

Why $200 for passing Go?
Game Components
Characterizing the Colors in Britannia

From a Quora answer to
Why there's the $200 reward in Monopoly for passing Go.

The $200 income increases the amount of money in play, in an otherwise virtually static economy (really a negative economy, since prices paid for properties and improvements go out of play). Whether that increases or decreases game length is uncertain. Properties have variable pricing (via auctions and inter-player interaction), but houses and hotels do not. A lack of additional funds might lead to “nibbling forever”, players collecting and paying small rents because none had enough money to buy many houses, and so no one would go bankrupt.

Only playtesting could tell us whether the game would be longer or shorter without the reward; I’d bet on longer.

Game Components

I'm apparently in a minority who believe that quality of components does not matter provided a minimum standard is met.  Chess is the same game whether you use a $100 set or a $5 set.  I may also be in a minority in thinking that particular design elements such as "no player elimination" are closely related to generational preferences rather than to any absolute standard of "game goodness", and consequently you cannot identify a great game by the nature of its individual design elements.

To make an analogy, a movie that is slickly professional may still be a poor movie, nor is slick professionalism a requirement for a movie to ultimately be judged as great.

Notice that formal reviewers often talk about a game's worth in terms of what's in the box. Isn't the gameplay far more important? If it's a dud game, does it matter if it has attractive bits?  Or is that a fall-back against disappointment with the gameplay?

E.g., of  Risk Game of Thrones: "That's a ton of stuff packed in there, and worth the price of admission.”
But the writer says nothing about gameplay.

Seriously, I should buy a game for the contents? I thought we PLAYED games, not just looked at them. Or maybe nowadays, some people do buy them just to look at them . . .

Characterizing the Colors in Britannia

Idle thought.  I tried to characterize the colors in Britannia (second edition) to match real-world styles of warfare.

Red - American: obvious, "in your face", smash 'em. Overwhelm at the point of attack.

Pre-WW II Germans thought the American army followed the style of American football of the time, roughly “four yards and a cloud of dust” in the T formation. Passing? Nah.

Blue - strategy of indirect approach (English), nibbling, just enough force for the job, requiring a "delicate hand"

Green - patient defense, almost guerrilla warfare, until ready to attack.  Chinese?

Yellow - conquest followed by recession and watchful care.   15th-16th century Spanish? 17th-18th century Russian?

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