Archive for July 29th, 2010

Financial Times, of all places, has a great article up on “German” board games:

Why We Still Love Board Games

Here’s the money quote for me, from Klaus Teuber, quiet genius behind The Settlers of Catan:

It is a part of mankind to play games. We played in the Stone Age. We played in Roman times. It’s an escape from the everyday grind. Every day we work hard and we make mistakes and we are punished for those mistakes. Games take us to another role where you can make mistakes and you don’t get punished for them. You can always start another game.

Games are experiments, ways to tinker and noodle around with thoughts and actions, all in a place where risk is minimized.  That’s part of why I keep working on game designs; I think they serve a purpose that other entertainment and education forms don’t.  Play, after all, is healthy.

And you can always start another game.

It really is OK to put down that MMO treadmill and try something new (though Altitis can be a good middle ground, leading to new experiences as BBB notes).  Sometimes, I really do think we lose some of the joy and promise of games by insisting on perpetual progress and persistence, constantly comparing ourselves to others and their achievements in an effort to validate our time spent, rather than just… playing.

Bonus reading:

Greg Kasavin’s classic review of Chess

Above 49’s Of Mice and Dice, more on “German-style” board games.

The Escapist:  Digital Cardboard and Electric Dice, and a good quote…

In my games, I’m always looking for a very simple set of mechanics or rules that lead to these complex situations,” says Creative Director Jay Kyburz. “I enjoy games where everybody understands how the game works, and has a simple set of decisions to make, but find themselves with lots of interesting problems to solve because of how the players are interacting within that simple rule system.


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