Chapter 3: Working with Formal Elements

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Exercise 3.1: Gin Rummy

start example

Let's take the classic card game gin rummy. There are two basic procedures to a turn in gin rummy: drawing and discarding. Take away the discard procedure and try to play the game. What happens?

Now take away both the discard procedure and the draw procedure, and then play the game. What's missing from the game?

Put the drawing and discarding procedures back, but take out the rule that says that an opponent can 'lay off' unmatched cards to extend the knocker's sets. Is the game still playable with this change?

Now put back the original rules, but take away the objective and play the game again. What happens this time?

end example

What does this exercise tell us about the formal elements of games?

Formal elements, as we've said, are those elements that form the structure of a game. Without them, games cease to be games. As you saw in the opening exercise of this chapter, a game without players, without an objective, without rules or procedures is not a game at all. Players, objective, procedures, rules, resources, conflict, boundaries, and outcome: these are the essence of games and a strong understanding of their potential interrelationships is the foundation of game design.

Once you grasp these basic principles, you can use the knowledge to create innovative combinations and new types of gameplay for your own games.

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Game Design Workshop. Designing, Prototyping, and Playtesting Games
Game Design Workshop: Designing, Prototyping, & Playtesting Games (Gama Network Series)
ISBN: 1578202221
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 162

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