Exercises 1

1. Identify the basic elements in a game of your choice (actions, goals, rules, objects, playspace, players).

Game: Two Dots
Actions: connect the dots
Goal: reach the aim score to pass the level 
Rules: connect the adjacent dots with the same color in limited movements,but can’t do the diagonal one
Objects: the dots and some other props
Playspace: phone
Players: only one

2. As a thought experiment, swap one element between two games: a single rule, one action, the goal, or the playspace. For example, what if you applied the playspace of chess to basketball? Imagine how the play experience would change based on this swap.

  • rock, paper,scissors
  • blackjack

Switch the players, so for rock,paper,scissors, there will be one banker, the others in the group all play with the banker, the banker lose the others win. For blackjack, the players just play one by one, no banker anymore.

3. Pick a simple game you played as a child. Try to map out its space of possibility, taking into account the goals, actions, objects, rules, and playspace as the parameters inside of which you played the game. The map might be a visual flowchart or a drawing trying to show the space of possibility on a single screen or a moment in the game.

  • hide-and-seek

Exercises 2

1. Think about your favorite game and what would make it easy to achieve the game’s goals, and then think about how the game designer used constraint to make the goal fun to pursue.

Two Dots
Easy mode: spend money to buy props 😂️ or if you keep wining, then at the very beggining of each game you can get extra props to clear the dots. For different veriables of dots , they can have different functions.

2. Choose a game with direct action—perhaps a sport where the ball is directly handled by players—and make that interaction indirect. Now try making indirect action direct. What does it change about the nature of the game?

Drum-and-pass game:put the flower in the same position, people run as a circle to touch the flower. It changed the movement, there may be not only one people touching the flower at the same time, so maybe more difficult to win.

3. Take a purely strategic game like chess and add an element of chance to it. How does this change the play experience?

Five-in-a-row rule: the player should drink one cup of bear before each movement.
Then the players will be dizzy to make the wrong decision, that could be quite interesting.

4. Find examples of games using abstraction to model the real world. How close is the game system to the real-world system? Where does it depart from the real-world system?

Mcdonald’s videogame.

The game is a simplification of the real world, but it basically keeps the actions and objects that you need to run a McDonald's. Customers, cashiers, kitchens, farms, processing plants, marketing teams. But at the same time, running a McDonald's in the real world is much more complex and diverse than the game, also because the game is a bit old from now, there is no social networking part involved.

5. Pick a game you like, and consider how it uses theme and storytelling. How do the theme and story relate to how players engage with the game?

Chinese whispers
Chinese whispers is a very thought-provoking game. Suppose there are twenty people attented, the first person whispers a sentence to the next person, until the twentieth person. What’s the outcome? This topic reminds me of the cultural dissemination of memes and the differences and failures of information dissemination.

6. Pick a game you play at home. Reimagine the play experience if it were played in a public park.

Drinking game: three words

Three words is a Chinese game usually played while a group of people are drinking. The rule of the game is that you can only say three words, any three words. if the first person says three words to the person on his right and that person wants to repeat those three words, he must also say them to the person on his right, and if he wants to say three different words to battle back, he has to say them in the opposite direction, and those repeated three words cannot be repeated to the first person who said it. It's easy to make mistakes when two people are fighting. What if the game was played on the underground?


2-4 Player game Go from A to B. First to get to B wins
A theme - A movement mechanic (rolling a dice is too easy) - A conflict between players

Game, Design, Play - Chapter 2

A game experience is a combination of game goals, action, sensory style, story, and more...I can say I’m an impatient person so I really understand the feeling of the balance between challenge and ability in player experience.

There's a game in China called werewolf kill. "A game typically involves 6 to 12 players and a host (commonly known as God or judge). The game alternates between "night" and "day" phases. The facilitator is responsible for distributing character identities, dealing with the player's character skills, and alternating stages.

Each player will be given a character before the game starts. The characters are divided into two opposing camps: the "innocent" camp and the "werewolves" camp. There are several commoners and clergymen in the good camp, who do not know each other's identities, and need to use the clergymen's abilities and the player's language and expression to distinguish the good and bad people in the village, and vote out the werewolves by casting them out and using character skills to win. The werewolf camp is small in number, mixing in the good camp to confuse the public; They can meet each other every night and kill a player together. The Werewolf faction needs to eliminate all civilians or clergy in order to win.

At the end of each night, all surviving players take turns to speak and vote out one player after all have spoken. If the werewolves make it to the end, they win.

In werewolf killing game, I think my abilities are very limited, and if I don't make the right guess in the limited time, then my whole person may start to wander. My attention would wander and I would lose interest in delving into what other people were saying. There may be players who enjoy the uncertainty of direct or indirect interaction. They were interested in developing their skills by failing over and over again, but every time to my turn, my language became very deficient, with only "I am a good man, I am not a werewolf". I think balance is important. The player's own language skills and play bring a very broad interactive experience to the game.

Howling Dogs' minimalist style works in much the same way as werewolf killing: Taking the simplest base elements to lead the entire experience gives the player more space to play.

“Instead, the basic tools of game design are more like the foundational principles of visual art—symmetry, contrast and hierarchy, for example. This sort of tool helps designers understand the parameters of game design in the same way that color, line, form, and composition establish the basic parameters of visual art.“

“There are ten basic tools for designing games: constraint; direct and indirect interaction; goals; challenge; the interplay of skill, strategy, chance, and uncertainty; decision-making and feedback; abstraction; theme; storytelling; and context of play.“

“All games provide some level of challenge, even if the players provide it themselves.”

“flow channel” between anxiety and boredom, rising with skill and challenge.

“These decisions aren’t building toward a measurable or competitive outcome, but instead informing the course the story will take. And so while choices about how the player moves through Porpentine’s game don’t generate a score, they do have poetic as well as story-changing impact on the play experience.“

Other reading
Emotional Design (Don Norman) - Chapter 1,2,3
MDA Framework (paper)

Sex and the City is one of my favorite TV shows. I think it goes with the game theory in Mechanics/Dynamics/Aesthetics and has a lot of relevance. Let's imagine the main characters are actually playing a New York City love game with some unspoken rules about how men and women interact and some sophisticated code words. They grow their experience through the game(life), gradually building up what they think is a complete game mechanic that is both fun and bittersweet. The game is also full of dynamic balance, because no one is an NPC, there is no pre-laid outcome or feedback, all gameplay is unpredictable, and every decision of each player has the potential to affect the outcome later.

Sensation/fellowship/fantasy/discovery/narrative/expression/challenge are all involved in this game but no submission. May be there is some submissions about some past relationship? But life is still on. Past is past. Game won’t be over.