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Subject: Classic versus modern games rss

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Robert Bracey
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russ wrote:

When I learned Go, I really didn't know much about it or that it was thousands of years old, etc. So its external factors (history, tradition, literature, large player base, etc) actually did not influence my impression or cause me to try it!

Though your personal circumstances of encountering (and especially a lack of exposure to other simple/deep abstracts) Go presumably did have an impact.

I think these questions are unfair. The vast majority of 'traditional' (or 'classic' if you prefer, but pre-1900) games are simply lost. Presumably in several thousand years of urban living a court in West India was not the only place in the world some-one invented a relatively complex game (it just seems implausible), yet Chess is the only pre-1800 game of any significant complexity that survives. Many games have simply been edited out and we are left just with those that struck a chord, usualy in the variant that most consistently struck a chord. The field is thus for reasons of selection rather good.

While 'modern' board games basically did not exist before 1932, wargames are basically post-1800, and the most radical developments in recent game design are post-1990. There has been no time for that filtering to occur, to check that Carcassonne, or Dominion, or Hive, or even Monopoly, repeatedly strikes a chord with gamers from vastly different cultures century after century. As a result there is undoubtedly a lot of junk in modern board games, though buried in there are gems we cannot recognise - the classics of the future.
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RobertBr wrote:
russ wrote:

When I learned Go, I really didn't know much about it or that it was thousands of years old, etc. So its external factors (history, tradition, literature, large player base, etc) actually did not influence my impression or cause me to try it!

Though your personal circumstances of encountering (and especially a lack of exposure to other simple/deep abstracts) Go presumably did have an impact.

I think these questions are unfair. The vast majority of 'traditional' (or 'classic' if you prefer, but pre-1900) games are simply lost. Presumably in several thousand years of urban living a court in West India was not the only place in the world some-one invented a relatively complex game (it just seems implausible), yet Chess is the only pre-1800 game of any significant complexity that survives. Many games have simply been edited out and we are left just with those that struck a chord, usualy in the variant that most consistently struck a chord. The field is thus for reasons of selection rather good.

While 'modern' board games basically did not exist before 1932, wargames are basically post-1800, and the most radical developments in recent game design are post-1990. There has been no time for that filtering to occur, to check that Carcassonne, or Dominion, or Hive, or even Monopoly, repeatedly strikes a chord with gamers from vastly different cultures century after century. As a result there is undoubtedly a lot of junk in modern board games, though buried in there are gems we cannot recognise - the classics of the future.

this is a key point: if we imagine two distributions along some imaginary "goodness" scale (imagine this scale along the x-axis), one distribution for "old" games and one for "new" games, most of the "old" distribution is missing and we're only seeing the right tail of the distribution.

That said, the "new" distribution is shifted to the right (for the reasons I mentioned above), and I would guess it would be significantly larger even if all the instances in the 'old' distribution had been preserved. Those two facts conspire to make it likely that the right tail of the "new" distribution extends further to the right on the goodness scale than the right tail of the 'old' distribution.
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Russ Williams
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RobertBr wrote:
I think these questions are unfair. The vast majority of 'traditional' (or 'classic' if you prefer, but pre-1900) games are simply lost. Presumably in several thousand years of urban living a court in West India was not the only place in the world some-one invented a relatively complex game (it just seems implausible), yet Chess is the only pre-1800 game of any significant complexity that survives. Many games have simply been edited out and we are left just with those that struck a chord, usualy in the variant that most consistently struck a chord. The field is thus for reasons of selection rather good.

FWIW I completely agree that there were surely many clunkers through the centuries... but I suppose that no one intended to imply that ALL games made centuries ago are great.

(And I agree that modern games haven't had the benefit of having had centuries to pass the test of time like Go, Shogi, Chess have.)
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christian freeling
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Regarding comparison there's also the issue that only a few new games can be compared to similar classics they are derived from. Most of the new and interesting abstracts don't have any classic predecessor.
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David Buckley
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milomilo122 wrote:
I've given this subject so much thought I feel overwhelmed by all the stuff I want to say. I should write an essay.

I'm sure that will be an interesting read, if you do get round to writing it at some point.

Quote:

For now I'll give an example of the progress I was talking about:

Connect6

N-in-a-row games are old, there's a lot of them, some of them have been studied pretty extensively, but nonetheless nearly all have a fundamental flaw (preserved from game to game through centuries) that manifests itself when the players become skilled: large turn order advantage.

This was only rectified in recent decades. Pente does it a little (and creates a less pure n-in-a-row experience in the process), but Connect6, invented in 2003, does it in a principled and general way that completely solves the problem. It's a pure, incredibly balanced n-in-a-row game with a high meaningful branch factor and gobs of tactics (I emphasize tactics because that's were n-in-a-row games generally shine)

It's hard to deny Connect6 is waaaaaay better as a tournament game than any of it's "old guard" n-in-a-row predecessors.

And because the solution it uses (the 12* turn rule) is principled and fairly general, we can apply that principle in all kinds of situations.

It's one of many tools we have now that designers of old either didn't have or didn't think to apply. For example (even just continuing to confine ourselves to the issue of balance), Christian has written an essay about balancing protocols. A lot of the stuff discussed there wasn't available to designers of old.

Generally speaking, it seems designers of old weren't even *thinking* about balance in a principled way, instead making whatever-works patches when it became clear a game showed an imbalance. You can get to great games that way, but doing it that way seriously restricts/slows down what one can do as a designer.


It's true that the 12* turn rule is a neat idea. Connect 6 seemed like the best n in a row game when I first discovered it but gradually I have become dissatisfied with it and my attention is shifting towards Pente, Keryo Pente and Renju, although it would be premature for me to declare any of these to be better games. Essentially my problem with Connect 6, is that is too "fast". In my opinion the 12* rule works much better in Catchup and as such Catchup represents a good example of a designer building on the ideas of previous designers.

But I think classic designs have compensating advantages over modern designs. For example I think the fixed Komi used in Go is a good way of balancing that game. Centuries of experience have given us an accurate idea of what such Komi should be. If you were designing Go from scratch you would either have to accept a first player advantage or come up with a, probably worse. Another example, would be how Renju evolved from Gomuku. Black (but not white) was banned from making two fours, two open threes or an overline, but it was found that they still had the advantage so a convoluted opening protocol was implemented. It might sound ugly but it did the job and had some interesting tactical implications. Here again we have an example of gradual evolution enabling balance using methods that wouldn't be available to a recently invented game.

Quote:

And that's just for balance considerations. We have new and principled ways of thinking for every phase of game design.

Another big one: coldness. The concept of coldness is a new principle, and it turns out be central and vital to understanding what makes for a good combinatorial game. Nobody knew anything about it before the 20th century. That's one of a grab bag of useful insights that came from formal game theory.

It would be helpful to confirm the definition of coldness here. I often see the term bandied about a lot but a google search for it doesn't turn up anything useful. A cold position is one where it's a disadvantage to have the move? How is it vital for understanding what makes a good combinatorial game?

Quote:

Another big category of new knowledge: our knowledge of human cognition, aspects of which I've relied on heavily to design my own games - here's an example I wrote about recently where I designed a game with knowledge of an important property of visual perception called Perceptual Binding. No one had any idea visual perception worked that way until a couple of decades ago.

I could go on at annoying length, but I'll stop there. I get worked up about this subject. I'm frustrated by what I perceive to be a stupefying ignorance about the real and major progress game designers have collectively made. That progress is so large and so evident to me I'm discombobulated others don't see it.


Partly it comes down to a matter of taste. Even if designers are becoming more skills, it won't necessarily translate into games that are better from my PoV if their criteria is different from mine.

Quote:

I ardently believe the greatest abstract games yet invented have been invented in the last couple of decades. Just as strongly, I believe even better games are yet to come.

More generally, to reiterate Christian's and elaborate on my original point: it's rare that large numbers of humans collectively start working hard on something without making major progress. Even if one knew nothing about the subject but that a lot more people are working on games now, that alone would make it very likely that new games tend to be significantly better than old games.
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David Buckley
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milomilo122 wrote:
russ wrote:
I totally agree that we have more knowledge and there are new excellent ideas like the 12* movement protocol.

But:
milomilo122 wrote:
I ardently believe the greatest abstract games yet invented have been invented in the last couple of decades.

I have my guesses, but I don't think expressing them is particularly useful because the ultimate proof only comes from a large player base over time.


Nonetheless it would be interesting to see some examples of modern games that you consider strong candidates to be greater than Chess, Shogi or Go. It is understood that your answers would be speculative.
 
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milomilo122 wrote:
christianF wrote:
Dameo, which is arguably better than International Draughts.

To me this is a prime example, which is top of mind because I've studied Dameo in relation to other Draughts variants over the last ~14 months.

I can't "prove" Dameo is a better tournament game than International Draughts, but it doesn't take too much study of the subject to conclude that to assume otherwise is nutty.

Perhaps you mean Dameo is a better high level tournament game than International Draughts? For me Dameo is a nice supplement rather than a replacement. The two games have a different feel. Dameo seems more about breakthrough whereas international draughts seems more about zugzwang.
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Richard Moxham
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FWIW...

"Banded""bandied"

TPP
 
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russ wrote:
Buckersuk wrote:
Are there any modern abstracts you think could have filled the void for you, given the right external factors?
I realized that I forgot to answer this last part of your question, sorry!

I like Arimaa a lot, and if Go, Shogi, Chess didn't exist, I'd probably be trying to play Arimaa more. I think it is a good game with an interesting variety of strategies. One year I watched several top tournament games and was struck how one game was a bloodbath with so many pieces killed, and another game was a slow smothering with few or no captures, where one player managed to continually restrict the opponent's forces more and more. It has multiple piece types which sort of scratches that chess-like itch, but they are more regular and simple, so it doesn't fully scratch that chess-like itch. So realistically, I think my answer would be Arimaa.

I like several GIPF games a lot (TZAAR, GIPF, DVONN especially) and would surely be playing them more too in this alternate universe. Amazons is cool, and Catchup, and currently I'm enjoying Bug a lot. I also like Trax a lot, although I am fairly lame at it. Looking at my play logs for abstract games, I've also played a lot of Hive, Blokus, Patchwork, Quoridor, Pentago, Rumis, Volcano, Hex, Lines of Action, Palago, RED, Yavalath, Havannah, Homeworlds, Gipsy King, Quads, Blam, SEVEN, Pent-Up, etc etc etc. It's hard to say whether any of these would feel like they have the same remarkable variety and aha-surprises and strategic depth that I find in Go and Shogi, although I certainly enjoy them.

Arimaa remains on my "to be played" list. As for the other games you mention, the ideas that they have a variety and aha surprises and strategic depth that puts them on an equal footing with Shogi and Go ranges from "plausible but I'd bet against" it in the case of Gipf to "virtually inconceivable" in the case of Pentago. This isn't meant as a criticsm of any of the games you mention. I enjoy a fair few of them myself and not every game needs to be deep as an ocean.
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mocko wrote:
FWIW...

"Banded""bandied"

TPP

Thank you. I have edited my post accordingly.
 
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milomilo122 wrote:
RobertBr wrote:
russ wrote:

When I learned Go, I really didn't know much about it or that it was thousands of years old, etc. So its external factors (history, tradition, literature, large player base, etc) actually did not influence my impression or cause me to try it!

Though your personal circumstances of encountering (and especially a lack of exposure to other simple/deep abstracts) Go presumably did have an impact.

I think these questions are unfair. The vast majority of 'traditional' (or 'classic' if you prefer, but pre-1900) games are simply lost. Presumably in several thousand years of urban living a court in West India was not the only place in the world some-one invented a relatively complex game (it just seems implausible), yet Chess is the only pre-1800 game of any significant complexity that survives. Many games have simply been edited out and we are left just with those that struck a chord, usualy in the variant that most consistently struck a chord. The field is thus for reasons of selection rather good.

While 'modern' board games basically did not exist before 1932, wargames are basically post-1800, and the most radical developments in recent game design are post-1990. There has been no time for that filtering to occur, to check that Carcassonne, or Dominion, or Hive, or even Monopoly, repeatedly strikes a chord with gamers from vastly different cultures century after century. As a result there is undoubtedly a lot of junk in modern board games, though buried in there are gems we cannot recognise - the classics of the future.

this is a key point: if we imagine two distributions along some imaginary "goodness" scale (imagine this scale along the x-axis), one distribution for "old" games and one for "new" games, most of the "old" distribution is missing and we're only seeing the right tail of the distribution.

That said, the "new" distribution is shifted to the right (for the reasons I mentioned above), and I would guess it would be significantly larger even if all the instances in the 'old' distribution had been preserved. Those two facts conspire to make it likely that the right tail of the "new" distribution extends further to the right on the goodness scale than the right tail of the 'old' distribution.

I'm not sure I'm ready to make the assumption that most of the games lost to history were poor games although even I have to admit that a fair few poor games survived, especially if we're including non-combinatorial games in the analysis. My hypothesis is that the median quality of games has improved but the upper and lower bounds haven't shifted significantly.
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Nick Bentley
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Buckersuk wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
RobertBr wrote:
russ wrote:

When I learned Go, I really didn't know much about it or that it was thousands of years old, etc. So its external factors (history, tradition, literature, large player base, etc) actually did not influence my impression or cause me to try it!

Though your personal circumstances of encountering (and especially a lack of exposure to other simple/deep abstracts) Go presumably did have an impact.

I think these questions are unfair. The vast majority of 'traditional' (or 'classic' if you prefer, but pre-1900) games are simply lost. Presumably in several thousand years of urban living a court in West India was not the only place in the world some-one invented a relatively complex game (it just seems implausible), yet Chess is the only pre-1800 game of any significant complexity that survives. Many games have simply been edited out and we are left just with those that struck a chord, usualy in the variant that most consistently struck a chord. The field is thus for reasons of selection rather good.

While 'modern' board games basically did not exist before 1932, wargames are basically post-1800, and the most radical developments in recent game design are post-1990. There has been no time for that filtering to occur, to check that Carcassonne, or Dominion, or Hive, or even Monopoly, repeatedly strikes a chord with gamers from vastly different cultures century after century. As a result there is undoubtedly a lot of junk in modern board games, though buried in there are gems we cannot recognise - the classics of the future.

this is a key point: if we imagine two distributions along some imaginary "goodness" scale (imagine this scale along the x-axis), one distribution for "old" games and one for "new" games, most of the "old" distribution is missing and we're only seeing the right tail of the distribution.

That said, the "new" distribution is shifted to the right (for the reasons I mentioned above), and I would guess it would be significantly larger even if all the instances in the 'old' distribution had been preserved. Those two facts conspire to make it likely that the right tail of the "new" distribution extends further to the right on the goodness scale than the right tail of the 'old' distribution.

I'm not sure I'm ready to make the assumption that most of the games lost to history were poor games although even I have to admit that a fair few poor games survived, especially if we're including none combinatorial games. My hypothesis is that the median quality of games has improved but the upper and lower bounds haven't shifted significantly.

This would require, it seems to me, an assumption that the best games of the past are already approaching some theoretical maximum (so the tail of the distribution can't shift much). Why would we think that? There's no evidence or a priori reason to believe that, as far as I can tell. And the large corpus of stuff we've discovered recently (and are still discovering) about game design suggests the opposite.

I'm hesitant to address your individual examples because it's easy to see how arguing about individual examples will get us nowhere, but since I started it with an individual example of connect6, I'll address that:

It seems fast to us rubes, but it gets slower the better you get. In fact, I think if connect6 turns out to have any kind of flaw, it won't be that it's too fast, but rather the opposite: it could be drawn (see for example, this game)

EDIT: I'm not arguing most games lost to history are "poor", just that the distribution is shifted left relative to the distribution of new games on my imaginary scale. That's a different claim.

Designers of the past were throwing darts at a wall. What the best designers are doing now is more akin to launching heat-seeking missiles
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christian freeling
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There's an aspect that I feel is underexposed here and that is that the traditionals that survived - Chess, Shogi, XiangQi, the Draughts family, Go and, why not, Othello - are all about elimination or territory.

Nick is talking about the role of 'human perception' so what is it about these games that humans 'perceive'? Isn't it something very basic about killing and grabbing? And isn't that part of the reason why these games stuck?
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christianF wrote:
There's an aspect that I feel is underexposed here and that is that the traditionals that survived - Chess, Shogi, XiangQi, the Draughts family, Go and, why not, Othello - are all about elimination or territory.

Nick is talking about the role of 'human perception' so what is it about these games that humans 'perceive'? Isn't it something very basic about killing and grabbing? And isn't that part of the reason why these games stuck?

Indeed! (though I think there are other primal motives that didn't end up with classic games attached to them - building comes to mind)
 
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milomilo122 wrote:
since I started it with an individual example of connect6, I'll address that:

It seems fast to us rubes, but it gets slower the better you get. In fact, I think if connect6 turns out to have any kind of flaw, it won't be that it's too fast, but rather the opposite: it could be drawn (see for example, this game)
Wow. My games are over way faster. (Because I'm a lame Connect6 player.)

I wonder what would happen if Connect6 were played on an unbounded grid, like Trax, instead of on a 19x19 grid. That would seem likely to reduce the potential for drawishness.
 
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milomilo122 wrote:
christianF wrote:
There's an aspect that I feel is underexposed here and that is that the traditionals that survived - Chess, Shogi, XiangQi, the Draughts family, Go and, why not, Othello - are all about elimination or territory.

Nick is talking about the role of 'human perception' so what is it about these games that humans 'perceive'? Isn't it something very basic about killing and grabbing? And isn't that part of the reason why these games stuck?

Indeed! (though I think there are other primal motives that didn't end up with classic games attached to them - building comes to mind)
I can see Russ coming up with counterexamples here, but to follow up on my point, I can remember making this argument before because the goal of a game tends to be seen as largely irrelevant at this forum (I'm ready to stand corrected), as opposed to 'structure' and 'playability'.
 
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christianF wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
christianF wrote:
There's an aspect that I feel is underexposed here and that is that the traditionals that survived - Chess, Shogi, XiangQi, the Draughts family, Go and, why not, Othello - are all about elimination or territory.

Nick is talking about the role of 'human perception' so what is it about these games that humans 'perceive'? Isn't it something very basic about killing and grabbing? And isn't that part of the reason why these games stuck?

Indeed! (though I think there are other primal motives that didn't end up with classic games attached to them - building comes to mind)
I can see Russ coming up with counterexamples here, but to follow up on my point, I can remember making this argument before because the goal of a game tends to be seen as largely irrelevant at this forum (I'm ready to stand corrected), as opposed to 'structure' and 'playability'.

I can't speak for others, but I certainly think very hard about this stuff in constructing my games, and have for some time.
 
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christianF wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
christianF wrote:
There's an aspect that I feel is underexposed here and that is that the traditionals that survived - Chess, Shogi, XiangQi, the Draughts family, Go and, why not, Othello - are all about elimination or territory.

Nick is talking about the role of 'human perception' so what is it about these games that humans 'perceive'? Isn't it something very basic about killing and grabbing? And isn't that part of the reason why these games stuck?

Indeed! (though I think there are other primal motives that didn't end up with classic games attached to them - building comes to mind)
I can see Russ coming up with counterexamples here, but to follow up on my point, I can remember making this argument before because the goal of a game tends to be seen as largely irrelevant at this forum (I'm ready to stand corrected), as opposed to 'structure' and 'playability'.

I can think of many more traditional sowing games, racing games and n in a row games than territory games. In fact the only traditional territory game I can think of off the top of my head is Go, which until fairly recently was almost unknown outside South East Asia.
 
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milomilo122 wrote:
Buckersuk wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:


this is a key point: if we imagine two distributions along some imaginary "goodness" scale (imagine this scale along the x-axis), one distribution for "old" games and one for "new" games, most of the "old" distribution is missing and we're only seeing the right tail of the distribution.

That said, the "new" distribution is shifted to the right (for the reasons I mentioned above), and I would guess it would be significantly larger even if all the instances in the 'old' distribution had been preserved. Those two facts conspire to make it likely that the right tail of the "new" distribution extends further to the right on the goodness scale than the right tail of the 'old' distribution.

I'm not sure I'm ready to make the assumption that most of the games lost to history were poor games although even I have to admit that a fair few poor games survived, especially if we're including none combinatorial games. My hypothesis is that the median quality of games has improved but the upper and lower bounds haven't shifted significantly.

This would require, it seems to me, an assumption that the best games of the past are already approaching some theoretical maximum (so the tail of the distribution can't shift much). Why would we think that? There's no evidence or a priori reason to believe that, as far as I can tell. And the large corpus of stuff we've discovered recently (and are still discovering) about game design suggests the opposite.


Because the best games of the past provide me with everything I seek in a game (ie the particular type of intellectual stimulation) and everything I'm able to imagine a board game being able to provide. Also because I can't think of a modern abstract that I can unequivocally say I like more than (eg) Go and Chess.

Quote:

I'm hesitant to address your individual examples because it's easy to see how arguing about individual examples will get us nowhere, but since I started it with an individual example of connect6, I'll address that:

It seems fast to us rubes, but it gets slower the better you get. In fact, I think if connect6 turns out to have any kind of flaw, it won't be that it's too fast, but rather the opposite: it could be drawn (see for example, this game)

I had a draw in Connect6 once. That did nothing to help enamour me with the game either. Somehow the nature of the draw felt more anti-climatic than draws in Chess, Draughts or games about scoring points. Anyway I appreciate that you don't want to get sidetracked talking about specific games but perhaps you'd like to address my questions about coldness in game design or point me towards a discussion of it?

Quote:

EDIT: I'm not arguing most games lost to history are "poor", just that the distribution is shifted left relative to the distribution of new games on my imaginary scale. That's a different claim.

Designers of the past were throwing darts at a wall. What the best designers are doing now is more akin to launching heat-seeking missiles
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Buckersuk wrote:
I can think of many more traditional sowing games, racing games and n in a row games than territory games. In fact the only traditional territory game I can think of off the top of my head is Go, which until fairly recently was almost unknown outside South East Asia.
No argument there and I indeed forgot about Mancala's. But I refer to 'sport weapons' not recreational games and I haven't heard of any international Mancala tournaments ever. There's also Renju, Pente, Hex and more recently Burm's stuff, but it all remains more or less recreational.
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christianF wrote:
Buckersuk wrote:
I can think of many more traditional sowing games, racing games and n in a row games than territory games. In fact the only traditional territory game I can think of off the top of my head is Go, which until fairly recently was almost unknown outside South East Asia.
No argument there and I indeed forgot about Mancala's. But I refer to 'sport weapons' not recreational games and I haven't heard of any international Mancala tournaments ever. There's also Renju, Pente, Hex and more recently Burm's stuff, but it all remains more or less recreational.

I think Toğızqumalaq could probably be realistically seen as a 'sport weapon'.
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Nick Bentley
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Buckersuk wrote:

Because the best games of the past provide me with everything I seek in a game (ie the particular type of intellectual stimulation) and everything I'm able to imagine a board game being able to provide. Also because I can't think of a modern abstract that I can unequivocally say I like more than (eg) Go and Chess.

Right, but...

a) you are one person, and any one person's feelings about this or that game comes down to taste. It may very well be that for you personally, there is no theoretical possibility of inventing a game that suits you better than Chess or Go, while at the same time, those games might not be "best" from a collective preference point-of-view. This subject is even more complicated by the fact that our perceptions of these games depend heavily on extra-game factors like history, ecosystems surrounding the games, known theory, etc.

b) what any one of us is able to imagine doesn't encompass all that's possible. The rotary wall phone I had as a kid did everything I imagined a phone should do. I was wrong.
 
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David Buckley
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milomilo122 wrote:
Buckersuk wrote:

Because the best games of the past provide me with everything I seek in a game (ie the particular type of intellectual stimulation) and everything I'm able to imagine a board game being able to provide. Also because I can't think of a modern abstract that I can unequivocally say I like more than (eg) Go and Chess.

Right, but...

a) you are one person, and any one person's feelings about this or that game comes down to taste. It may very well be that for you personally, there is no theoretical possibility of inventing a game that suits you better than Chess or Go, while at the same time, those games might not be "best" from a collective preference point-of-view. This subject is even more complicated by the fact that our perceptions of these games depend heavily on extra-game factors like history, ecosystems surrounding the games, known theory, etc.


If we're talking collective preference point-of-view, abstracts aren't where it's at

Quote:

b) what any one of us is able to imagine doesn't encompass all that's possible. The rotary wall phone I had as a kid did everything I imagined a phone should do. I was wrong.

I've seen a lot of posts on this site comparing advances in board game design to advances in technology. The comparison has never seemed apt. A better comparison would be with other art forms. Music for example. Do we consider that the music of today is notably better than the music of 10 years ago? 100 years ago? 1000 years ago? Or is it just different?
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I find chess too restrictive, with its small, cramped board. I prefer go. I also find memorizing chess openings a horrid chore. I got good enough to where it was time to start that in 6th grade, and I quit playing because of it.

I don't think the age of chess matters to me, since I like go which is older.

My suspicion is that we find more abstracts being successful now because it's easier for them to propagate over the internet. Older games had to have qualities that would make them popular when an audience had to be found by the propagation of physical copies. This is much slower and less likely to be successful just in term of finding enough interested people without the broad reach of broadcast media.
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christian freeling
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Buckersuk wrote:
I've seen a lot of posts on this site comparing advances in board game design to advances in technology. The comparison has never seemed apt. A better comparison would be with other art forms. Music for example. Do we consider that the music of today is notably better than the music of 10 years ago? 100 years ago? 1000 years ago? Or is it just different?
Good point, especially where recreational games are concerned. But 'sport weapons' rely on functionality and that characteristic is recognisable and to a degree measurable. Advances in playing strength may lead to an increased demand for functionality. I think the majority of sports have gone to upgrades and innovations in terms of material. In the case of 'abstract sport weapons' the material is a set of rules. On the one side these rules usually have an air of holiness about them, on the other hand, they're easy adaptable. The difficulty lies in showing the improvement. It's easy to see that a clap-skate beats a regular one. That's why they're now regular. It's less easy to show that Dameo beats Draughts.
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