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Subject: Classic versus modern games rss

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Laurentiu Cristofor
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CoreyClark wrote:
No, postmodernism says that any truth is just as good as another.

Good for what?

CoreyClark wrote:
And since that would be complete madness we can be grateful that this philosophy has been relegated to the arts and "soft sciences".

Relegated or just couldn't break out of those circles?

 
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CoreyClark wrote:
mocko wrote:
Thank you very much for this - an awful lot of effort at someone else's whim, and greatly appreciated in this quarter. A lot to think about, too, though I can't claim by any means to follow everything. Just as you apparently do, I loathe the term "postmodern" (what could it ever sensibly mean to an even halfway rigorous thinker?) but I'm not quite sure what sort of line, in your account of things, 'postmodernists' (whoever they are) take with regard to game design. Is there, for instance, a particular game you could give as an example of such a design - or is that not how it works?

As I say, lots to ponder, and obviously deeply thought-through on your part. Thank you again.

First off, with all due respect, I do like to hear myself talk

The thing about postmodern attitudes is that they really pervade western culture in a way that we are no longer sensitive to them by name. In the arts this is especially true. Postmodernism says that for something to be art only the claim has to be made that it is art (think Duchamp's urinal). I don't find that a particularly robust idea however. Postmodernism necessarily encompasses all truth value claims and therefore along with aesthetic systems brings into question matters such as the topology of the earth which personally I don't believe is up for debate, least of all in any practical sense. And the truly sinister element of postmodernism is that it isn't merely cynical but actually the very quintessence of nihilism. Postmodernism doesn't merely cast doubt on the possibility of truth nor does it say knowing truth is ultimately impossible, because even then we could still identify things that work for us. No, postmodernism says that any truth is just as good as another. That's a subtle distinction on paper but the implications are vast and sweeping when it comes to doing math or science even of the most practical sort. And since that would be complete madness we can be grateful that this philosophy has been relegated to the arts and "soft sciences".
Okay. Great. So it looks as if, despite the difference in our choice of terminology, what you have in mind when speaking of postmodernism is quite closely in line with the following comment of mine in the 'Aversion to Draws' thread:

mocko wrote:
More generally, the concept of relativism in all its myriad applications was probably the single most influential 'discovery' in 20th Century thought, but also one which did and continues to do an awful lot of damage alongside its undoubted benefits. Indiscriminately embraced, it's actually an obstacle to understanding rather than an aid.

Terribly seductive, though, since it enables people to convince themselves that they're on the lap ahead of the other runners, not the lap behind.
I'm totally with you in abhorring the value-equivalence-of-all-truth-claims notion. But how do we get people to concede that, notwithstanding Nick's horses-for-courses contextualism (which is clearly unimpeachable as far as it goes) there's an obvious sense in which (sorry - my own specialism here) the 'greater play' debate between Twelfth Night and No Sex Please - We're British is a one-way street.


 
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christian freeling
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CoreyClark wrote:

Fortunately for us game designers, unlike various forms of art, game design has a more obvious logos to it. We know what variables make up a good game, we can even quanitfy them and the only question is how to best manipulate them. We can even think of something approximating a best possible abstract. For instance, how about one with up to 300% move conservation over space, high visual clarity, identifiable subgoals and one drawn position that results from perfect play? We can objectively say this game is better than tic-tac-toe any way we slice it as long as we actually impact the cake- something admittedly postmodernists might have a hard time with. The question of how to manipulate all the relevant variables related to mathematics and human cognition to produce superlative games is the academic lacuna serious abstract designers face. In fact once we begin to establish such principles abstract game design may come into its own as an art-form as this will allow for the possibility for aesthetic differences and personal tastes of designers to be relevant in the first place.
I have no clue what 'postmodernists' are but I understand you've shifted your position somewhat from 'pure science' to 'art'. I'm glad about that.

However, you make it sound like it is, eventually, all a matter of engeneerablitiy. Take these ingredients in the right mix and assemble them properly and out comes the required game. Unfortunately it doesn't quite work that way, at least not for me.
As a designer I'm quite helpless. But I'm a good hunter. I assume a game to already exist and I try to sniff it out. Now here's the thing: if I find it, I find something that already has properties and restrictions of its own. It is what it is and obviously it should inherently meet the requirements of a good game. But it may as well be a tactical funny as a mature strategy game. Engeneering towards specific properties is a tough call I think. If not indeed an illusion.

Edit:
Just to elaborate a bit, I've never designed a game with the purpose of having it feature "one drawn position that results from perfect play". But I happen to have one with one drawn cycle that results from perfect play. It is called MiniMancala.
To establish the existence of such a position or such a lone cycle, one has to know the entire game tree. How else to prove it?
Now, knowing the entire tree makes the game useless for serious play. So your design goal, in this particular case and for this particular requirement, leads to a design paradox.
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Corey Clark
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christianF wrote:

I have no clue what 'postmodernists' are but I understand you've shifted your position somewhat from 'pure science' to 'art'. I'm glad about that.

However, you make it sound like it is, eventually, all a matter of engeneerablitiy. Take these ingredients in the right mix and assemble them properly and out comes the required game. Unfortunately it doesn't quite work that way, at least not for me.
As a designer I'm quite helpless. But I'm a good hunter. I assume a game to already exist and I try to sniff it out. Now here's the thing: if I find it, I find something that already has properties and restrictions of its own. It is what it is and obviously it should inherently meet the requirements of a good game. But it may as well be a tactical funny as a mature strategy game. Engeneering towards specific properties is a tough call I think. If not indeed an illusion.

It sounds mostly like you are saying you can't engineer games in this way due to a lack of a toolbox to recognize and deal with the case-specific issues you are talking about. And the form of the game being designed ought to be irrelevant, going back to music, we can see the tools in music have been utilized to make scherzos and bagatelles just as well as heart-breaking requiems. The question is can the designer decide whether his game will be tactical or strategic from the outset of the design process? I think it would be unambiguously brilliant if that were the case since I'm tired of not even knowing what I'm designing until it takes form.

christianF wrote:

Just to elaborate a bit, I've never designed a game with the purpose of having it feature "one drawn position that results from perfect play". But I happen to have one with one drawn cycle that results from perfect play. It is called MiniMancala.
To establish the existence of such a position or such a lone cycle, one has to know the entire game tree. How else to prove it?
Now, knowing the entire tree makes the game useless for serious play. So your design goal, in this particular case and for this particular requirement, leads to a design paradox.

I agree but this once again misses the point. I was merely describing the properties of an "ultimate game" which is something more tangible in the discipline of game design. Meanwhile someone might say a painting needs to represent something with photorealism to be the most exemplary painting and someone else may advocate for impressionism and another person might say analytic cubism is the highest example of the artform. In fact a single person may find themselves pulled in all these directions at once. Meanwhile if we are talking about creating the best "sport weapons" then we have an idea of what qualities these will possess.
 
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christian freeling
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CoreyClark wrote:
The question is can the designer decide whether his game will be tactical or strategic from the outset of the design process? I think it would be unambiguously brilliant if that were the case since I'm tired of not even knowing what I'm designing until it takes form.
Well there we're on the same page.

CoreyClark wrote:
christianF wrote:

Just to elaborate a bit, I've never designed a game with the purpose of having it feature "one drawn position that results from perfect play". But I happen to have one with one drawn cycle that results from perfect play. It is called MiniMancala.
To establish the existence of such a position or such a lone cycle, one has to know the entire game tree. How else to prove it?
Now, knowing the entire tree makes the game useless for serious play. So your design goal, in this particular case and for this particular requirement, leads to a design paradox.

I agree but this once again misses the point. I was merely describing the properties of an "ultimate game" which is something more tangible in the discipline of game design. Meanwhile someone might say a painting needs to represent something with photorealism to be the most exemplary painting and someone else may advocate for impressionism and another person might say analytic cubism is the highest example of the artform. In fact a single person may find themselves pulled in all these directions at once. Meanwhile if we are talking about creating the best "sport weapons" then we have an idea of what qualities these will possess.
As for this 'ultimate game', my argument is that some properties might be beyond proof so we'd never know whether a game qualifies.
 
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Nick Bentley
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I was thinking a little about this thread this morning. Had a thought:

One of the greatest strengths of a deep game: with time and experience, it embeds itself deeply in the mind, and a matrix of associations builds up around it. Once embedded like that, we experience such games as very rich things, that almost sort of live inside us.

But, when we compare a game that has been embedded in the mind like that, with one that hasn't, it's nearly impossible to see the latter as "as good" as the former. The former is this rich, living thing, and by comparison the latter seems dead and inert.

This is why, I think, players become so dedicated to "their games", but it also makes them blind to the weaknesses of those games, and blind to the comparative virtues of games they don't know as well.
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Robert Bracey
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CoreyClark wrote:
And the truly sinister element of postmodernism is that it isn't merely cynical but actually the very quintessence of nihilism. Postmodernism doesn't merely cast doubt on the possibility of truth nor does it say knowing truth is ultimately impossible, because even then we could still identify things that work for us. No, postmodernism says that any truth is just as good as another.

I thought about trying to find a Luke Skywalker meme with 'Amazing, every word of what you just said ... was wrong'. Conversations on this site go in weird directions.
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christian freeling
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milomilo122 wrote:
I was thinking a little about this thread this morning. Had a thought:

One of the greatest strengths of a deep game: with time and experience, it embeds itself deeply in the mind, and a matrix of associations builds up around it. Once embedded like that, we experience such games as very rich things, that almost sort of live inside us.

But, when we compare a game that has been embedded in the mind like that, with one that hasn't, it's nearly impossible to see the latter as "as good" as the former. The former is this rich, living thing, and by comparison the latter seems dead and inert.

This is why, I think, players become so dedicated to "their games", but it also makes them blind to the weaknesses of those games, and blind to the comparative virtues of games they don't know as well.
I fear that a Chess player who cannot imagine the richness of Grand Chess or a Draughts player who cannot imagine the richness of Dameo, may lack the imagination needed to play his or her game at a high level in the first place.

As for "very rich things that almost sort of live inside us", well yes, I can fully relate to that. But in my case it is not primarily based on playing experience but on the impression I get (for lack of a better word) about a game's 'behaviour'. That is not the same process as a player who by and by gets to know a game's behaviour by playing it. A case in point is Blooms. But it's also very much the way I spot an 'organic game' to begin with: a living thing with inherent behaviour.
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Nick Bentley
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christianF wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
I was thinking a little about this thread this morning. Had a thought:

One of the greatest strengths of a deep game: with time and experience, it embeds itself deeply in the mind, and a matrix of associations builds up around it. Once embedded like that, we experience such games as very rich things, that almost sort of live inside us.

But, when we compare a game that has been embedded in the mind like that, with one that hasn't, it's nearly impossible to see the latter as "as good" as the former. The former is this rich, living thing, and by comparison the latter seems dead and inert.

This is why, I think, players become so dedicated to "their games", but it also makes them blind to the weaknesses of those games, and blind to the comparative virtues of games they don't know as well.
I fear that a Chess player who cannot imagine the richness of Grand Chess or a Draughts player who cannot imagine the richness of Dameo, may lack the imagination needed to play his or her game at a high level in the first place.

Not sure I buy this argument. These are two different kinds of imaginative tasks, it seems to me. If I've trained myself to play some game very well, I may have developed my imaginative capacity for it in a way that might not transfer over to imagining how a game I don't have experience with might fare. Maybe.

Quote:
As for "very rich things that almost sort of live inside us", well yes, I can fully relate to that. But in my case it is not primarily based on playing experience but on the impression I get about a game's 'behaviour' and that is not exactly the same process as a player who by and by gets to know a game's behaviour by playing it. A case in point is Blooms. But it's also very much the way I spot an 'organic game' to begin with: a living thing with inherent behaviour.

Oh, for sure, the imagination of a game designer is very different from the imagination of a dedicated player. In the above I'm specifically talking about the imagination of a dedicated player. You can be very good at one and very bad at the other (which is one reason why there are lots of good players who are bad designers and vice-versa)
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Bill Cook
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christianF wrote:
I fear that a Chess player who cannot imagine the richness of Grand Chess or a Draughts player who cannot imagine the richness of Dameo, may lack the imagination needed to play his or her game at a high level in the first place.

Speaking of Star Wars memes

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milomilo122 wrote:
One of the greatest strengths of a deep game: with time and experience, it embeds itself deeply in the mind, and a matrix of associations builds up around it. Once embedded like that, we experience such games as very rich things, that almost sort of live inside us.
The comment above made me wonder to what degree "depth" and "richness" are associated for an abstract game.

I am of the impression that "depth" of a game is indicative for potential skill range of a game. I.e. a deep game allows for a great range of levels of players as there is a lot to learn (or gain) for the dedicated player.

I see that spending a lot of time with a particular (hopefully deep) game allows for development of a certain richness due to increased familiarity with the game and time spent. However, is it that simple or is richness to some degree a different phenomenon?

I intuitively find Go and chess games richer than most other (deep) abstract games such as checkers games, mancala games and Hex. This may be due to the fact that I have spend more time on chess games and Go than on any other game. However, part of the richness is in my opinion due to the vast number of different stone patterns possible in Go and the likewise vast number of very different board positions possible in most chess games. Thus, while e.g. Hex may be a deep game, the continent to explore has a less varied geography than the continents of Go or Chess (or Shogi, etc). I like a varying countryside when traveling.

Any thoughts?
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milomilo122 wrote:


This is why, I think, players become so dedicated to "their games", but it also makes them blind to the weaknesses of those games, and blind to the comparative virtues of games they don't know as well.

This is absolutely true. On the other hand, the Cult of the New is a real thing as well, even in our little abstract world. Cognitive bias works in different directions on different people.

Which makes it all the more challenging, and important I think, to develop critical judgement for games in the same way that critical judgement exists for art, or movies, or music. Some opinions really do count for more than others, when they are the product of an expert critical judgement.
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RobertBr wrote:
CoreyClark wrote:
And the truly sinister element of postmodernism is that it isn't merely cynical but actually the very quintessence of nihilism. Postmodernism doesn't merely cast doubt on the possibility of truth nor does it say knowing truth is ultimately impossible, because even then we could still identify things that work for us. No, postmodernism says that any truth is just as good as another.

I thought about trying to find a Luke Skywalker meme with 'Amazing, every word of what you just said ... was wrong'. Conversations on this site go in weird directions.

Oh goodness yes. My wife almost had to physically restrain me from wading in at that particular moment. My better sense eventually caught up.
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christian freeling
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The Player of Games wrote:
I intuitively find Go and chess games richer than most other (deep) abstract games such as checkers games, mancala games and Hex. This may be due to the fact that I have spend more time on chess games and Go than on any other game. However, part of the richness is in my opinion due to the vast number of different stone patterns possible in Go and the likewise vast number of very different board positions possible in most chess games. Thus, while e.g. Hex may be a deep game, the continent to explore has a less varied geography than the continents of Go or Chess (or Shogi, etc). I like a varying countryside when traveling.

Any thoughts?
Not that many definite thoughts I must confess. In 19x19 Hex quite a number of different stone patterns is possible too. But Hex is a bit of a barren landscape indeed. A 'desert' I've heard Michael Howe call it. The main difference with Go may be that Go has more strictly 'local' issues. Now from an almost philosophical point of view nothing may be 'strictly local' in Go, but from an actual point of view everything is 'connected' in Hex and nothing is local.
In Go you can settle a local issue and think "ok, that's in the bag". Not so in Hex. That's why for a player Hex may seem more exhausting than playing Go.

In Draughts variants I feel the reason you find less different patterns and less different positions may be lack of familiarity. Dameo is indeed a new continent to explore.
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milomilo122 wrote:

This is why, I think, players become so dedicated to "their games", but it also makes them blind to the weaknesses of those games, and blind to the comparative virtues of games they don't know as well.

This is an entirely valid point and it complicates the comparison between classic and modern games. I don't think I'm blind to the weaknesses of "my game" (I acknowledged them in my OP) but perhaps I'm more forgiving than I would be if it were a newly discovered game. I don't think I'm blind to the comparative virtues of modern games except for those virtues that require a deeper understanding of the game in order to appreciate. This deeper understanding is much easier to acquire in a game that boasts an active player base and centuries of accumulated experience. It would be rash to claim that there are Chess and Go are 'richer' than all unrelated modern games, especially given that I haven't tried Arimaa. However I think it would be reasonable to claim that Go and Chess have more uncovered 'richness'. The only caveat is that 'richness' is a somewhat subjective property. And I'm still interested to learn what modern games you think are "probably" or "quite likely" to be "as rich" or "richer" than Chess and Go.
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David Buckley
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althus wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:


This is why, I think, players become so dedicated to "their games", but it also makes them blind to the weaknesses of those games, and blind to the comparative virtues of games they don't know as well.

This is absolutely true. On the other hand, the Cult of the New is a real thing as well, even in our little abstract world. Cognitive bias works in different directions on different people.

Which makes it all the more challenging, and important I think, to develop critical judgement for games in the same way that critical judgement exists for art, or movies, or music. Some opinions really do count for more than others, when they are the product of an expert critical judgement.

This brings us back to a point Nathan made upthread:
NJames wrote:

Even when games are used for something other than serious mental sport they will be more or less suitable for the chosen purpose. This is partly obscured (but not negated) by the fact that games are used for many different purposes. We can't put all games into a single hierarchy without choosing a specific purpose, but one any purpose is chosen there are going to be better and worse games.

Expert opinion is only valuable if it is related to the things one is looking for (in a game, or art, or movies, or music) and mostly I am simply looking for something I enjoy and the only expert in what I enjoy is myself.
 
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Buckersuk wrote:
I don't think I'm blind to the comparative virtues of modern games except for those virtues that require a deeper understanding of the game in order to appreciate.

This is the crux. Any game that competes with the greats will be loaded to the gills with just those virtues.

Quote:
However I think it would be reasonable to claim that Go and Chess have more uncovered 'richness'.

I agree.

Quote:
I'm still interested to learn what modern games you think are "probably" or "quite likely" to be "as rich" or "richer" than Chess and Go.

I still don't want to say! I'm one fallible person. Folks who wander by this thread would think me an idiot to the extent that my guesses fail to match theirs, and it would take the focus off the general argument.

Here's something related to ponder: I've been trying to design deep combinatorial games with a near religious fervor nearly every day for close to 18 years now. I wake up thinking about game design and I go to sleep thinking about game design. My perception of game structures has changed dramatically in that time. I think anyone who plays my games chronologically will conclude my perception must be clearer now, because the games are sure as hell a lot better than they used to be.

It's that change in my perception that has convinced me that the best games are recent and/or still ahead of us. I know I can't deploy this to support my overall point, because it's essentially an argument from authority, and such arguments don't have debate value. But that doesn't stop me from feeling it intensely. Make of it what you will.
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milomilo122 wrote:
Here's something related to ponder: I've been trying to design deep combinatorial games with a near religious fervor nearly every day for close to 18 years now. I wake up thinking about game design and I go to sleep thinking about game design. My perception of game structures has changed dramatically in that time. I think anyone who plays my games chronologically will conclude my perception must be clearer now, because the games are sure as hell a lot better than they used to be.

It's that change in my perception that has convinced me that the best games are recent and/or still ahead of us. I know I can't deploy this to support my overall point, because it's essentially an argument from authority, and such arguments don't have debate value. But that doesn't stop me from feeling it intensely. Make of it what you will.
You seem almost hesitant to put this argument forward, or at least hesitant to present yourself as an 'authority'. But if you aren't, then who is?
In terms of evolution, I can see that the better games have been getting better over time. If not more effort, then designers are obviously putting more experience and knowlwdge into it.

The evolution of my own design career is clearly one that went from assembling ideas to finding 'organic behaviour', hence the chess variants, early on. It hasn't been a strict dividing line, but the later games were often 'finds' with a self explanatory character that allowed me for the better part to stay out of it as an inventor! Inside out inventing so to say.
In the early days I didn't give much thought to cycles, decisiveness, draws and balance. The games came out nicely nevertheless because I relied on intuition. These things may be subject to more reliable tests in the future when (not 'if' I presume) neural networks become available.
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milomilo122 wrote:
Buckersuk wrote:
I don't think I'm blind to the comparative virtues of modern games except for those virtues that require a deeper understanding of the game in order to appreciate.

This is the crux. Any game that competes with the greats will be loaded to the gills with just those virtues.

Quote:
However I think it would be reasonable to claim that Go and Chess have more uncovered 'richness'.

I agree.

Quote:
I'm still interested to learn what modern games you think are "probably" or "quite likely" to be "as rich" or "richer" than Chess and Go.

I still don't want to say! I'm one fallible person. Folks who wander by this thread would think me an idiot to the extent that my guesses fail to match theirs, and it would take the focus off the general argument.

Here's something related to ponder: I've been trying to design deep combinatorial games with a near religious fervor nearly every day for close to 18 years now. I wake up thinking about game design and I go to sleep thinking about game design. My perception of game structures has changed dramatically in that time. I think anyone who plays my games chronologically will conclude my perception must be clearer now, because the games are sure as hell a lot better than they used to be.

It's that change in my perception that has convinced me that the best games are recent and/or still ahead of us. I know I can't deploy this to support my overall point, because it's essentially an argument from authority, and such arguments don't have debate value. But that doesn't stop me from feeling it intensely. Make of it what you will.
In principle, the best everything is still ahead of us - and always will be.

In practice, however, there are countervailing factors. Without bothering to invoke any of the other things that the great classics might have had going for them, one could point immediately to the relative lack of competition they faced throughout the long period when they were establishing themselves. Those conditions - inherently favourable - are very unlikely to recur.

Alas, I've characteristically forgotten who it was that said, a few years ago, that the greatest service anyone could render to literature in this day and age was to not write a novel, but whoever it was, they hit the nail right on the head. You've only to walk into one of the leading bookstores (Waterstones, for example, in the UK) and look around at the bewildering array of titles and colourful covers, to realise two things: first, by the law of averages, that many of these authors will have lacked any great aptitude for the task, and second, that any prodigious talent in amongst them stands less chance of achieving full recognition than he would if the others didn't exist as interference. Even if there weren't so much copycatting going on, the display tables would still be overloaded, but of course there's that too. Score a success with Flaubert's 'X' and expect the imminent publication of Copernicus's 'Y' and Disraeli's 'Z'. Ditto for The '***' '***' Society / Club, or The Man / Girl Who Thingummied the Whatsit.

The Kickstarter ads here on BGG for what I'd describe as would-be simulation games (Legend / Curse / Legion of Blah: The Forthcoming - "You'll command one of the etc etc") add up to another manifestation of the same thing: too many people with dollar-signs in their eyes and delusions of originality. To judge from the number of campaigns that apparently achieve their goals, the opportunity for success may not be so much of a delusion, but the proliferation of product is definitely bad for standards. I wouldn't go so far as to claim that the abstract games field suffers from the malaise to quite the same degree (though if you scale to the size of the market the situation may actually be worse), but certainly matters are not helped by the number of inventors working over seeming endless variations on the same little themes. We're all part of the problem, obviously, but that's the thing. I can't help feeling, Nick, that the very 'explosion' which inspires you to hope may turn out to be hope's undoing.

But I hope I'm wrong
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mocko wrote:
But I hope I'm wrong
This is a very interesting comparison and I can't see anything wrong with it. But it's the world we live in, and without dollar signs blurring my vision, it all appears very interesting nevertheless. Good songs last forever, I hope good games will do the same. But a game takes more time and dedication to be appreciated. I immediately recognised Sultans of Swing as a great song and it was the first time I heard the Dire Straits at all. I don't expect people to have a similar experience with Emergo.
 
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Nick Bentley
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mocko wrote:
milomilo122 wrote:
Buckersuk wrote:
I don't think I'm blind to the comparative virtues of modern games except for those virtues that require a deeper understanding of the game in order to appreciate.

This is the crux. Any game that competes with the greats will be loaded to the gills with just those virtues.

Quote:
However I think it would be reasonable to claim that Go and Chess have more uncovered 'richness'.

I agree.

Quote:
I'm still interested to learn what modern games you think are "probably" or "quite likely" to be "as rich" or "richer" than Chess and Go.

I still don't want to say! I'm one fallible person. Folks who wander by this thread would think me an idiot to the extent that my guesses fail to match theirs, and it would take the focus off the general argument.

Here's something related to ponder: I've been trying to design deep combinatorial games with a near religious fervor nearly every day for close to 18 years now. I wake up thinking about game design and I go to sleep thinking about game design. My perception of game structures has changed dramatically in that time. I think anyone who plays my games chronologically will conclude my perception must be clearer now, because the games are sure as hell a lot better than they used to be.

It's that change in my perception that has convinced me that the best games are recent and/or still ahead of us. I know I can't deploy this to support my overall point, because it's essentially an argument from authority, and such arguments don't have debate value. But that doesn't stop me from feeling it intensely. Make of it what you will.
In principle, the best everything is still ahead of us - and always will be.

In practice, however, there are countervailing factors. Without bothering to invoke any of the other things that the great classics might have had going for them, one could point immediately to the relative lack of competition they faced throughout the long period when they were establishing themselves. Those conditions - inherently favourable - are very unlikely to recur.

Alas, I've characteristically forgotten who it was that said, a few years ago, that the greatest service anyone could render to literature in this day and age was to not write a novel, but whoever it was, they hit the nail right on the head. You've only to walk into one of the leading bookstores (Waterstones, for example, in the UK) and look around at the bewildering array of titles and colourful covers, to realise two things: first, by the law of averages, that many of these authors will have lacked any great aptitude for the task, and second, that any prodigious talent in amongst them stands less chance of achieving full recognition than he would if the others didn't exist as interference. Even if there weren't so much copycatting going on, the display tables would still be overloaded, but of course there's that too. Score a success with Flaubert's 'X' and expect the imminent publication of Copernicus's 'Y' and Disraeli's 'Z'. Ditto for The '***' '***' Society / Club, or The Man / Girl Who Thingummied the Whatsit.

The Kickstarter ads here on BGG for what I'd describe as would-be simulation games (Legend / Curse / Legion of Blah: The Forthcoming - "You'll command one of the etc etc") add up to another manifestation of the same thing: too many people with dollar-signs in their eyes and delusions of originality. To judge from the number of campaigns that apparently achieve their goals, the opportunity for success may not be so much of a delusion, but the proliferation of product is definitely bad for standards. I wouldn't go so far as to claim that the abstract games field suffers from the malaise to quite the same degree (though if you scale to the size of the market the situation may actually be worse), but certainly matters are not helped by the number of inventors working over seeming endless variations on the same little themes. We're all part of the problem, obviously, but that's the thing. I can't help feeling, Nick, that the very 'explosion' which inspires you to hope may turn out to be hope's undoing.

But I hope I'm wrong

I agree with you, but I don't see this thinking as in conflict with my claim. My claim is that the best games have been designed recently or will be designed in the future. Whether they will ever be popular or widely acknowledged to be great is a separate question. I doubt they will, for the reasons you cite (and others).
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Quote:
Girl Who Thingummied the Whatsit

I would read this
 
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Richard Moxham
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milomilo122 wrote:
Quote:
Girl Who Thingummied the Whatsit

I would read this
Take care, my friend. If we're moving in the general direction of a vulgarity contest, remember that I'm widely acknowledged to be the champ.

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Richard Moxham
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milomilo122 wrote:
I agree with you, but I don't see this thinking as in conflict with my claim. My claim is that the best games have been designed recently or will be designed in the future. Whether they will ever be popular or widely acknowledged to be great is a separate question. I doubt they will, for the reasons you cite (and others).
I think, if we're going to use words carefully, that there's a helpful discussion to be had at some point about the distinction between "best" and "greatest".

Certainly it seems to me that one perfectly respectable line of argument would see greatness, not just as testable only on the basis of longevity and mass appeal/acclaim, but as actually consisting in them.

If you considered that a persuasive way of looking, then presumably it would commit you to meaning something quite different by "best"...?
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"Depth" and "richness" are important features for game. But chess is so popular, because has two more important features: "simplicity" and "is not SO abstract".

Simplicity. Chess is really simple game. Simple movement of 6 kind of pieces (7 in XiangQi, 8 in Shogi), always move only one piece (except castling), taking is the same as movement (except pawn in chess). Shogi and XiangQi have more kind of pieces but their movement is simpler than in western chess.

Not SO abstract. Chess is not so abstract as a lot of other abstract games (go, hex, ...). It is real war with kings and knights. Canons and Elephants in XiangQi. Generals in Shogi. At look on XiangQi - there are castles and river !



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