Thursday 26 December 2019

Mechanics, Dynamics, Aesthetics

"Oh the places you'll go! 
 There is fun to be done! 
 There are points to be scored. 
 There are games to be won."
   - Dr Seuss

If I was going to sum up the aim of our recent run of Peninsular Napoleonic games it would be to design a set of rules that meet a certain standard of historicity (as we see it) and are fun to play. The second of those concepts is even more nebulous than the first, but I have come across an academic paper (which can be found here) that attempts to provide a structured taxonomy of what that word might mean in the context of games. The paper is well worth reading, and in case you are worried is not very long. Anyone who has played wargames or boardgames (and probably computer games; I have absolutely no experience of these and so can't comment) will recognise the classifications that the authors put forward even if you don't agree fully with all of them.

Not least among the paper's virtues is that, as an illustration, it puts forwards some suggestions as to how one might make Monopoly worth playing, and almost has one believing they could work. Almost.

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