Home Forums General Game Design Defining Genres of Rule Design

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  • #9344
    Avatar photogrizzlymc
    Participant

    John

    Funny you should pull me up on that one, I have spent a significant portion of the last 20 years discussing deterministic vs abstract models for the propagation of fractures in rocks and everyone involved has been able to live with it.

    I think you are spot on that the issues are multi dimensional, and many of them need a phrase to be re coined for the notion.  I guess my problem with Simulation is that it is all simulation, some is good and some is bad, some is broad and some is focussed.  Certainly I cannot see a clear correlation between more beer and pretzels and less simulation.

    Complex and simple depends on your definition of simple (and whether you inhale) – how about obscure vs clear?

    I guess my preference would be uncrackable, not too wild, not too savage.   Flavour depends on what you are doing.  I would have an issue with a game for re playing the battle of Narvik which did not let me play toy ships in the North Sea, or even in the med.  Against that, the first thing I did with WRG 1645-1845 was re write it with all the non Napoleonic crap taken out of it.

    McLaddie – I would say if you have 3, 1 is pretty irrelevant.  As Grant and Featherstone were wont to point out, other hobbies tend not to have this problem.  If RC aircraft are your thing, the rules lawyer spends a lot of time cursing people like Newton and Bernoulli, whereas in Chess and Bridge, the variations on the central theme are pretty limited.  I once suggested a better combat resolution system to a chess freak and he got rather irate with me.

    #9355
    Avatar photoMcLaddie
    Participant

    McLaddie – I would say if you have 3, 1 is pretty irrelevant.  

    Grizzlymc:  I agree, but you see both organizational levels and scale used to describe games, and all divisional level games don’t have the same scales… I was just trying to list all the ways games are ‘categorized’ at moment.

    As Grant and Featherstone were wont to point out, other hobbies tend not to have this problem.  If RC aircraft are your thing, the rules lawyer spends a lot of time cursing people like Newton and Bernoulli, whereas in Chess and Bridge, the variations on the central theme are pretty limited.  I once suggested a better combat resolution system to a chess freak and he got rather irate with me.

    Here, I don’t agree, as  much as I respect those two gentlemen. RC modelers have scale/description issues very similar to military modelers or wargame designers.  The difference is that they have ‘solved’ the problems. They have come up with descriptors that convey useful information about the designs without any good/bad connotations.

    The problem is some descriptors, such as ‘crackable vs uncrackable’ tend to place games on that bad/good scale.  Who would want a game that is ‘crackable’ and optimal play ‘cracks’ the game… and of course, leads players to play another game. All designers want create that Uncrackable Game, where there is no one optimal form of play.  Those games are the ones we find played for a long time.  How long would chess be played if there was one optimal strategy for winning every game? Other descriptors, such as tame and wild, or flavorsome and whitebread have the same inherent good, bad connotations or simply describe particular mechanics rather than the whole game system.

     

     …whereas in Chess and Bridge, the variations on the central theme are pretty limited.  I once suggested a better combat resolution system to a chess freak and he got rather irate with me.

    The variations on the central theme aren’t limited, only folks acceptance of them.  There is a Kick Starter chess variant up right now where cards are drawn during play that change the movement and power of the pieces, or introduce new pieces.

     

    #9580
    Avatar photoJohn D Salt
    Participant

    Funny you should pull me up on that one, I have spent a significant portion of the last 20 years discussing deterministic vs abstract models for the propagation of fractures in rocks and everyone involved has been able to live with it.

    At a wild guess, I’d imagine that’s because the “deterministic” approach uses detailed but fixed rules, whereas the “abstract” one uses simpler rules with some pseudo-random numbers thrown in to achieve comparable variety. If that’s the case, then it happens that the deterministic model is concrete and the abstract model is stochastic. Mind, this sounds like reservoir simulation to me, and the last time I was anywhere near reservoir simulationists they were all about Fortran coding, supercomputers (it’s what Saudi Aramco’s Cray was used for), predictive physical modelling, insane amounts of input data, and probably other things that cognitively dissonate (is that a verb?) with my approach to decision-support simulation.

    All the best,

    John.

    #9588
    Avatar photogrizzlymc
    Participant

    Close John.  It’s emplacement of copper/iron deposits on major fault systems.  Bear in mind that you only have to make one good decision in your entire life to justify your salary, pension, bonus and all your earlier and later cock ups in the exploration business.

    #9776
    Avatar photoJohn D Salt
    Participant

    Close John. It’s emplacement of copper/iron deposits on major fault systems. Bear in mind that you only have to make one good decision in your entire life to justify your salary, pension, bonus and all your earlier and later cock ups in the exploration business.

    …whereas in the Saudi oil industry you could retire fat and happy without ever having made a good decision in your entire career… 😉

    All the best,

    John.

    #9777
    Avatar photogrizzlymc
    Participant

    True, but I am fussy about the company I keep.

    #10458
    Avatar photoPhil Dutré
    Participant

    One angle I have not seen discussed yet is that a good wargame (i.e. a game played with toy soldiers) should not necessarily try to simulate/emulate/mimic/… the historical record, nor be even based on it. I have played perfectly enjoyable (historical) wargames that evoke the emotion and popular view of a certain period – the only reference the players had being a couple of movies, some comics, some childhood historical novels, and perhaps an Osprey or two.

    In current wargaming design thinking, this is often frowned upon – but I do think it is a valid path to take for wargames design. After all, fantasy and scifi wargaming do nothing but that. So why not historical wargaming? Why should historical wargaming be based on the accurate historical record, and not on the romanticized version of historical events we find in movies and fiction books?

    In my gaming group, we have developed our own house rules for the ACW over a period of several years. After each game, there was always a round of discussion, about what rule mechanics did work (or not), what the feel of the game was, whether the mechanics could produce a good game etc. None of us are deep readers about the ACW. But currently we do have a ruleset that, for everyone of us, evokes the imagery of the ACW. Now, I do admit this is not only due to the rules – it is as well about stunning visuals (figures and scenery), good scenario design, and a certain gentlemen-like spirit of everyone involved that the social aim of the evening is to play a game.

    Granted, a game played with toy soldiers should be inspired by military history. But the point I want to make is that there are more routes to achieve that than just look at the bare statistics, tactical doctrine, and procedures of historical battles.

    #10461
    Avatar photogrizzlymc
    Participant

    I see no reason why a game should not be inspired by myth as much as fact.  To give credit to a set of rules which I abhor, flames of war more or less advertises this, as does pony wars.  However, I do think that these rules  should go out of their way to make that clear.

    #10473
    Avatar photoBandit
    Participant

    I see no reason why a game should not be inspired by myth as much as fact.  To give credit to a set of rules which I abhor, flames of war more or less advertises this, as does pony wars.  However, I do think that these rules  should go out of their way to make that clear.

    I agree with all of this for whatever it is worth. Sharpe Practice is a good example of this. TFL make it very, very clear, in fact they say it outright in the intro:

    These rules have been designed to be a fun set of pseudo-skirmish rules that draw on many of the principles that one will find in TooFatLardies rules without attempting to be a hugely serious simulation. Rather, these rules are ideal for reliving some of the literary exploits of heroes such as Richard Sharpe or Harry Flashman with between 30 and 120 figures a side and set against the colourful background of the black-powder era.

    Like you, I don’t really like FoW. I own it, I have a bunch of figures for it, I play it sometimes, but it really isn’t what I’m looking for. That said – FoW is very true to its apparent intention and for that I respect it as highly successful regardless of whether it is my game of choice.

    #10492
    Avatar photoMcLaddie
    Participant

    One angle I have not seen discussed yet is that a good wargame (i.e. a game played with toy soldiers) should not necessarily try to simulate/emulate/mimic/… the historical record, nor be even based on it. I have played perfectly enjoyable (historical) wargames that evoke the emotion and popular view of a certain period – the only reference the players had being a couple of movies, some comics, some childhood historical novels, and perhaps an Osprey or two.

    I enjoy such games when they are good games.  There are wargames that do that, even advertise them as such. Battle Cry is one such game, The Sword and The Flame is another. Borg called his game design ‘Stylized History’.  I enjoy the game as such. It can invoke all the emotions and ‘feel’ you might want. There was no effort to present it as a simulation.  Then…. GMT got hold of the system and now it ‘effectively portrays Napoleonic Battle.’

    I see no reason why a game should not be inspired by myth as much as fact.  To give credit to a set of rules which I abhor, flames of war more or less advertises this, as does pony wars.  However, I do think that these rules  should go out of their way to make that clear.

    But they don’t advertise it that way.  They advertise that Flames  “is a game that allows you to recreate the battles of World War Two using miniatures figurines, and so experience the war from the point of view of a front-line company commander” and  “by using the sort of tactics and cunning that a real-life commander would, you and your miniatures soldiers will fight their way to victory after victory!” 

    In other words, it’s played both ways to sell to a larger audience.  I can’t remember a wargame design claiming to be a Hollywood or comic book presentation of war, other than some Sci-Fi games.

     

     

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