Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Go forth and see last month's answers

Tom Gurganus posed a provocative "Question of the Month" for October:  "Where are the new game mechanisms?"  He received a fascinating variety of answers from a number of thoughtful designers.  Worth a perusal.

Coming up:  An interview with Bellwether Games


  1. Thanks for the mention Paul. I think you had some really interesting ideas about mechanism evolution.

  2. Thanks, Tom! It's a fun question to explore.

  3. It's good to see much of the conversation was not about "new" mechanisms, but about "good" mechanisms. Whether a mechanism is "new" or not is irrelevant. What matters is if the mechanism is of high quality.
    Make a little truth-table. On one axis, the game mechanism is "good" (playable, realistic) or "bad". On another axis, the game mechanism is "new" or "old".

    1) If the mechanism is good and new, people will play it, replay it, recommend it to their friends, look for other games by that designer and publisher, the game will sell, everyone's happy.

    2) If the mechanism is good and old -- see above. It's the same as if it was good and new.

    3) If the mechanism is bad and new, the gamers-who-chase-the-latest-trend will buy it, play it once, sell it, and maybe not buy something from that designer or publisher again. Within a year, no one will play it.

    4) If the mechanism is bad and old, it probably won't even sell.

    In conclusion, "high quality" is more important than "new".

  4. You're right, of course, Paul. I think the interest in "new" mechanisms is the prospect of, well, novelty. Something that has never been done before and is worth playing represents something exciting. But ultimately, a good game is a good game, and it doesn't matter how old the game or its underlying mechanism.