DUE: Thursday January 22

Salen & Zimmerman, “Rules of Play”: Chapters 20, 22, 23, 24

1. Creating a perfectly level playing field is a complicated challenge. 1a): Describe a game that you believe is perfectly balanced (provides a perfectly level playing field). 1b): Describe a game that you believe is un-balanced. 1c): What are your thoughts about asymmetrical games such as Starcraft, Axis and Allies, Soul Caliber, Tekken, or World of Warcraft, which create inherently uneven playing fields but in turn provide diverse play experiences and strategies for the opposing sides?

2. Roger Caillios’ system for game categories includes the following terms: Agon, Alea, Mimicry, Ilinx, Paida, and Ludus. Choose 5 of the “homebrew games” that were presented in our class last week and categorize them according to Callios’ terms (see ROP pg 306 for an example of the table). You may want to create hybrid categories - for instance “Bing! Pang! Wah!! ” may be best defined as Alea/Paida+ Mimicry/Ludus. (The games are linked on the website under Assignment #1 (Homebrew Games))

3. In trying to quantify elusive and subjective terms like “fun” the authors reference several “typologies of pleasure”, one particularly compelling model is Csikszentmihalyi’s theory of flow.  Briefly describe the general theory behind flow and how it may be useful for designing and evaluating games.

<Submitted Notes #3>

to Analog game conversion & Multiplayer conflict design

DUE: Tuesday January 27

Pick a note out of a hat; the note will contain the name of a familiar computer game and a conflict structure. Your assignment is to design a tabletop game based on the computer game and the conflict structure that you drew. (You may trade your assignment with a willing partner). All the games will converting the SAME computer game but using a range of conflict structures.

Produce a game prototype following the parameters listed below. When designing your rules refer to the rules guidelines in ROP chapters 11, 12 and the conflict structures in chapter 20. We will be playing your games in class. Your games will be evaluated on how successfully you meet the parameters listed below and by your peers using the evaluation parameters that we  defined in class.

Remember to always provide meaningful choices for your players! Your are not required to stick to a literal recreation of the digital game - feel free to add complexity through new rules and twists and anticipate and allow room for interesting play dynamics to emerge.

Randomly Assigned Computer Game is…


Randomly Assigned Conflict Structures:

1) Competitive Multiplayer Free-For-All
- All players play the same type of unit - with possible variations between them.
- Only one player wins

2) Team based Multiplayer
- Two teams of two compete against eachother
- Design for teamwork dynamics
- Only one team wins

3) Asymmetrical Multiplayer
- One more powerful player against the three other players
- Either the group wins or the single player wins

4) Competitive Multiplayer VS “Computer” or “Game Master”
- One player plays as the “Host” or “Game Master” , the other three players play against each other
- The Game Master  can’t win the game, but should play with the goal of making the game more compelling for the other players. This player can control multiple dynamic elements on the game board such as enemy units, the game environment etc.
- The Game Master’s decisions can be guided by a combination of these elements:
- GM can roll dice, flip a coin, use a spinner, ask secret questions…etc  (in secret or visibly).
-Strict rules - the GM follows rules imposed by the game.
-Improvisation - The GM may improvise on the fly to make the game better for the other players.
- Only one of the Non-Game Master players can win

1)    Design a 4 player tabletop game, players must be seated to play.
2)    Design your own game board and game bits. You may use dice. This is a chance to show off your mad visual design skills.
3)    Gameplay should last no more than 15 minutes! (use a timing mechanism, and allow for a time based win condition in your rules)
4)    Derive the constitutive rules of the computer game and come up with your own operational rules while converting what was a single player game into
a multiplayer game using the conflict structure you drew from the hat.
5)   Consciously focus your gameplay around interesting player to player dynamics.

- In class -
1) One copy of your game ready to play (including your game’s operational Rules, Description, game board, game bits)

- Posted to the class website (due before 2:00pm on due date).
1) The Computer game’s constitutive Rules
2) Your game’s operational rules  + Description
3) Images (+ diagrams) from your game

Good Luck to you.

<Submitted Games>