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Symphonic

Background for Understanding the Nature of Games

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I''m preparing to create a university level course on gaming theory. I''d like you guys to help me out a bit, I''m not referring to computer games in particular, but I think that there are many strong gaming elements to be referred to which computer games take advantage of. More importantly I''m sure that everyone here plays strategic board games on occasion, so I''d like you all to tell be what board games to look into as sources. I already have Go, Chess, and Monopoly. Please stick to strategy, and avoid simplistic strategy games, like the Command & Conquer series, and other RTS that lack depth. George D. Filiotis Are you in support of the ban of Dihydrogen Monoxide? You should be!

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Panzer General is a very close relative of war sim board games and a good TBS too. I didn''t play the board game tho.

RISK is quite a famous strategy board game, you should look into it. It has a myriad of rule variations and it''s concept is used in many PC games too (Z, Shogun Total War, Master of Orion)

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Mah Jongg might be worth looking into. For games, don''t ignore the classic text-based games like those from Infocom.

It would help if you identified a little bit more about what you want to cover in the class.

Where will you be teaching this??

John Namest at www.gamitopia.com writes some interesting game theory articles. He might be able to help you with some ideas.

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Tech trees, prerequisites - it all comes down to contingency theory. Unfortunately I have yet to find a good introductory contingency theory book, but then I haven''t looked that hard. Maybe someone else knows of one?

In terms of board games, I don''t usually play pure strategy games, but Settlers of Catan is cool and widely available and won lots of awards. It might be interesting to you because it has a randomly generated hex board.

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Yeah, I''ve played Settlers of Catan, it''s cool.

I''m teaching creation of game structures (partially so that I can learn about it myself). I''m teaching at Tufts University.

The basic precept is that games can be used as metaphors for logical problems that have to be deconstructed by our minds before we can interpret them. Game Theory allows that we can create a ''game'' that reflects a real life situation, and subsequently use it to train ourselves to handle unforeseen elements.

So I''m going to start off with Go and Chess, where everything is available to the player, and move into games with more random numbers and so on. Then I''m going to take out random elements as an approximation of real life situations and finalise with a movement back to Go and Chess where players must attempt to hide their intent.

Note that the course assignments will involve creating games, not so much playing them, and then evaluating them for relevance to real-life situations and complexity of strategy.

excuse Typos etc. I''m in a rush right now.

George D. Filiotis
Are you in support of the ban of Dihydrogen Monoxide? You should be!

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quote:
Original post by Symphonic
Are you in support of the ban of Dihydrogen Monoxide? You should be!

actually i am addicted to the stuff, although in my neck of the woods we call it hydrogen hydroxide

--- krez (krezisback@aol.com)

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- I have an interest in the structure of computer game design, myself. The reason is that I suspect most differences in computer games are only cosmetic. I have asked in more than a couple different places and nobody has been able to explain what the technical differences between FPS, a RTS and an RPG are.
All they say is "play some, and then you''ll know,,," (a variation of the old standby "I know one when I see it"),
-which implies to me that that they very much don''t know.
~
I was looking for an actual technical definition of the situations that games present (something similar to Von-Neuman games, but for leisure games), not an opinion of "how this-or-that looks". Some people go on about stories, but you do not play the story: checkers has no story, poker has no story, countless other pre-computer games never ever had any story, and didn''t need them. The issue of exactly "what is necessary to the game" is the point I am trying to understand.
I started on some definitive writing but never got really into it.
~
If anybody still thinks they know the difference between a FPS, RTS and RPG, feel free to explain.... - Lubb

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Guest Anonymous Poster
FPS only deals with one character, RTS deals with many simultaneously. One obvious difference...

Anyway, I would avoid talking about "Game Theory" because there is already a discipline called "Game Theory" that is somewhat different from what is being described here. Or maybe it isn''t that different from what is being described? Game theory is modelling situations as a game and solving them, but what you are describing doesn''t sound a lot like "Game Theory."

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I'd be able to sleep through that course everyday and still get an A+ in the end; joking. I wish the school I went to offer these type of courses.

Monopoly shouldn't be used to represent the typical strategy model since a big part of it is the "random" dice rolls that player gets.

There is also Battleship, Axis & Allies (this uses dice but the strategy is 10x more than Monoply), checkers, chinese chess, chinese checker, connect four, Go Shogi... heck, chess itself have multiply ways of playing it. Then there's the card strategy games like Magic and the different variations... I swear I can just walk in the classroom and preach non-stop without any preperation.

The most important key in strategy games is "Options". You don't really need the fancy graphic setup, the storylines, nor the rest of the stuffs so long as you got multiple options and something to show the player how they are progressing in the game.

quote:
Game Theory allows that we can create a 'game' that reflects a real life situation, and subsequently use it to train ourselves to handle unforeseen elements.


Still waiting for momment when the hours of time I spent on playing those dating simulations finally pay off. Think I drank one too many soft drinks today...

Edited by - mooglez on November 8, 2001 7:11:58 PM

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I don''t know if you''ve heard of it, but the boardgame classic Shogun is very closely related to Shogun: Total Wars, and not just by name. Another game worth considering is made by the same company as Shogun, and that is Axis and Allies, which tackles the difficulty of making all five sides (US+UK+RUSSIA v GERMANY+JAPAN) well balanced that any of them might become a key initiator in their alliances victory. It also ballances tactics with luck, which should not be avoided, in order to make the players develop contingency plans as well. Both games are not sold anymore (as far as I know) but if you can get copies of them, they will definately warrant consideration.

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