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Should Game Designers Play Other Designer's Games?

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jeffinberlin
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Prolific game designer Reiner Knizia has often said that he does not have time to play other designers' games, but he's also gone further in claiming his self-imposed isolation gives him an advantage.

I disagree in this recent post on my blog: http://berlingamedesign.blogspot.de/2013/02/should-game-designers-play-o...

What do you think? What are the pros and cons of playing (or exposing yourself to) other designers' games, or obstaining?

heruca
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Isn't that kind of like being

Isn't that kind of like being an author and never reading other people's books? Or being a web developer and never seeing other websites?

Even if your intent is to be completely original in your game design, you'd have to know what's out there already so as not to accidentally "copy" what's already on the market, no?

JustActCasual
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He's Magic

Yes. You should absolutely play other peoples' games.

Reiner already has a huge amount of game history to draw on, and as you point out, while not copying from others he ends up copying from himself. He also has a whole fan base to warn him if he's going off the rails.

That being said, you could replace game experience with a large amount of experience in another field (like high finance or being a math PhD for example). As long as you have a wide variety of experience you have a good well to draw on for analog game design (analog = analogy = initial experience required).

Of course, expanding on that, if you run with the crowd you're likely to end up with the same experiences and thus similar games. If you run on your own you're more likely to come up with something "original". I imagine that like most things, balance is the key: if you spend periods gaming a lot with others, interspersed with periods designing on your own, interspersed with watching how people (including yourself) react to and experience game designs (your own and those of others), interspersed with time reading pure theory, interspersed with other life experience, you are the most likely to create better game designs. Blindly following a single path will probably end poorly.

MondaysHero
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Definitely

It is very important that we as designers play other designers game. This not only increases our own knowledge on the subject, but also can help us keep from accidentally "Plagarizing" another game. For instance, I was working on a game revolving around Monasteries when Ora et Labora by my favorite designer was announced. It got me down, and I was afraid that they would be too similar. I played Ora et Labora (And love it) and playing it allowed me to finally move forward with my game, knowing I was not copying it, and could avoid things that might be construed as doing so.
Not playing games is like doing what David Eddings did. Don't get me wrong. Belgariad is one of my favorite series, but because David Eddings refused to read other Fantasy novels, his ideas stagnated, and every other book he wrote was simply a rehashing of his own novels, instead of cross-polinating.
Reiner Knizia's games can tend to be just that (only in my own and my brother's opinion, and is not a statement of fact.) His ideas are invariably "Knizia-ish" perhaps because he doesn't play other games.
As I grow in skill, I shall continue to play other designer's games in hopes that my own skill will grow along-side them.

Lofwyr
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Oh dear......

As an author, I rarely read the work of others. Indeed reading the work of other authors is tantamount to unpaid editing. I simply sit reformatting pages and making very little progress.

Attempts to play the games of other designers are equally frustrating. My mind becomes consumed with over-thought and often poorly implemented mechanics and material. Bits of fluff that were intended to enrich a game instead broaden into a new and complex rule challenge that only distracts from original intent. The array of time consuming and ultimately distracting tactics used by many designers often prevents a real enjoyment of the product.

Am I unable to appreciate what they have done as a designer? No, I have far too many ideas of my own to spend too much time pondering the concepts of others. Each work is a work of passion, complex and engrossing. Why on earth would I distract myself from this indulgence, pleasure, and calling?

You sound as though you learn through example, which, when trying to understand complex math, is perfectly acceptable. We are not, however, learning a repeatable and quantifiable skill as designers. We are in the business of creation. Where on earth did you get the idea that a creative writer should open Asimov to get ideas for his own work?

I read your blog post. I disagree. I believe that your statements following his commentary leave an easy and predictable conclusion.

“First of all, seeing and experiencing games from other designers gives us the opportunity to see what is possible. Would engineers have built rockets if they had not first seen airplanes take flight? For innovators, seeing what has been done before is inspiring, not limiting.”

Your generalization is extremely limited in presenting his process as though he has never seen a bird fly or a game of chess. While he clearly does not use modern games as a backdrop for his own designs, he is not a cave-dweller designing products without even the fundamental concepts of gaming.

“seeing and experiencing games from other designers gives us the opportunity to see what is possible.”

Seeing what is possible only through the eyes of others? That is not creation you speak of, that is emulation.

E

BubbleChucks
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I play other games because I

I play other games because I enjoy playing games per se - and if game designing entailed me giving up playing games for fun it would be touch and go for me to continue designing.

I could play my own prototypes, but in all honesty I dont enjoy playing them that much. Its not because they arent enjoyable games to play, its just that I'm too busy thinking about how this is working, how thats working, how this could be tweaked and so on.

I still get those thoughts when I'm playing other games, but their immediacy isnt consuming in the same way. I can relax and have fun; and discovering the mechanical interplay within these games is a surprising adventure - because I'm not initimately familiar with every cog and wheel.

I also like watching what other people enjoy in the games I play. How they re-act to thematic elements, different mechanics and so on. It gives me a chance to see how new developments are received by other people.

I have a some of Reiners' games, but they dont get a lot of play -

Ingenious, Blue Moon, Circus Flohcati, Loot and Lost Cities.

Like myself, the people I game with find them a bit dry. I really appreciate and admire the mechanics in his games, everything ticks away like a finely crafted clock, but they tend to lack the thematic depth and elements I really enjoy.

That said, once again he is in the vanguard of developments in the gaming arena with his entry into apps - which is a medium perfectly suited to his general style of games. Bits and Fits tip their hats to pysical incarnations of Tetris - and Qwirkle or 5 are in keeping with the 'form a line/connection to induce a scoring effect' that is prevalent in apps like bejewelled.

So I dont think he is stagnating. If anything he is branching out of the hobby market and forging new ground. He is straddling the app world and hobby game markets like a majestic collossus.

Oh, I've got Poison as well :)

jeffinberlin
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Thanks for providing some

Thanks for providing some "contra"--good for discussion!

Lofwyr wrote:
As an author, I rarely read the work of others. Indeed reading the work of other authors is tantamount to unpaid editing. I simply sit reformatting pages and making very little progress.

Really? You don't read, and yet you aspire to write? You missed the main point in my article, that the creative process is about exercising the discipline to create something new even after seeing what others are doing. If you don't have that kind of discipline, then yes, it would be very difficult to create anything, no matter how much you try to limit your exposure to other created works.

Lofwyr wrote:

Seeing what is possible only through the eyes of others? That is not creation you speak of, that is emulation.

Again, you seem to be confusing "inspiration" with "emulation." They are not the same thing.

I'm also not advocating that designers see it as their duty to play everything that is out there. From my experience, however, the most unoriginal prototypes I have seen are those from new designers who just don't have a broad experience with modern games. They don't know what has already been done (so they reinvent the wheel) or they have no idea what is possible.

jeffinberlin
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Lofwyr wrote: “seeing and

Lofwyr wrote:

“seeing and experiencing games from other designers gives us the opportunity to see what is possible.”

Seeing what is possible only through the eyes of others? That is not creation you speak of, that is emulation.

E

I would say that you are contradicting yourself here. Given what you've written about your own designs, it's clear you have been inspired by playing other people's game designs:

"Nephilim is an Economy/Warfare board game that has roots in Miniature conflict games as well as RPG's. "

And you wrote this as well (http://s1.zetaboards.com/Post_Apoc_Wargames/topic/3631557/1/):
"As of 2008 I did a complete second edition of Mordhiem for a gaming group I played with. After this lengthy and completely fulfilling project I came to realize that the year spent working on this rather large and humbling project was perhaps the best year of my life.

Though fun I have come to understand the faults of this massive and enjoyable game system in my study of it. Taking other game systems and studying them as well I have finally come to the only conclusion I could, I must write my own."

This is the same thing that bothers me about Knizia's comments. You are not as innovative as you think you are. And being aware of others' designs is not the mark of an imitator.

larienna
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YES, it is essential to play

YES, it is essential to play with other designers. I think the most important feed back I got was from other designers. Sure you need to take everything with a grain of salt because we each have different design taste and goals, but still, I think it is really important.

I would way, when the game is in progress, play with designers, because they are the only group of people willing to play your game again after an update. When the game is finished, now you can try with real people.

SinJinQLB
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Lofwyr - As an author, you

Lofwyr -

As an author, you surely are aware that every story out there has already been told. There are new stories, only new points of view, new ways to TELL the story. Because of this, it is important to know what is out there, so that you can find a unique and interesting angle that has not yet been explored.

In addition, you must know the language of your craft. We build upon the shoulders of our past craftsmen, who put the time and effort into discovering and inventing the tools that we can use to advance and go forward. To dismiss what is out there, new and old, is akin to inventing math and carpentry from scratch so that you can eventually build a house. It's important to know what works, what doesn't, what mistakes were made, and what can be improved upon. Otherwise what is the point of the knowledge won by our ancestors and peers?

McTeddy
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Wow... people afeel very

Wow... people afeel very strongly about this.

Personally, I do play other designers games. All the time. I enjoy the flesh idea's and seeing how other people dealt with problems. This is the way I design... but not the way all designers should.

There is nothing wrong with him not playing other games... especially if he is succeeding with his own designs. If he doesn't want to risk his own idea's being changed by other designers... that's just fine. Hell, I'd wager he is far more talented at coming up with unique solutions than I am BECAUSE he's trained himself to come up with the ideas. This is HIS way and if it works for him then good.

I've met writings who read alot and those that never do. I've met filmmakers that love to watch movies and those that can't stand it. I've met designers that learn from other games and I've met designers that would rather spend their time cooking meals or walking in the park.

There is no right and wrong. There is only right way for me.

lewpuls
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I am much like Knizia in this respect (if no other!)

I don't play games by other people, generally. But I learn a lot about them, from reading, from talking with people who have played, from watching games, and more efficiently than if I played. It depends partly on how you learn. And I've seen so many people play a game once and fail to understand it . . .

Too many "designers" spend so much time playing other people's games that they don't design their own.

Some designers design games for themselves. Some design games for other people. I suspect the latter are less likely to play other people's games. Who knows?

(This is a topic I didn't address in my Game Design book. I have now drafted a much longer response to the question about playing other people's games, but it is far from done.)

jeffinberlin
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Yes, I thought about changing

Yes, I thought about changing the title to "Should Designers RESEARCH other designers' games" which could, of course, include playing them.

Playing other designers' games is probably most important for a beginning game designer, both to see what is already out there and also to see what is possible.

I'm like Pulsipher and Knizia in that I mostly play prototypes these days, but it's because I don't have any more time to play games than I did when I was first discovering and playing German games, and now I place a priority on getting my own designs tested (and I have to return the favor by playtesting the designs of my playtesters). There really is only so much time in the day, and I don't have time to do everything. One must choose.

But, like Pulsipher, I try to read about the games I don't get to play. I think he is right that one can sometimes get enough of a feel for the game by reading rules and reviews, but other times, it's also important to play the game.

It is sometimes important to see what elements in the new designs are appealing to your audience. Why does Race for the Galaxy have such a following? I honestly can't tell from reading the rules or reviews, as they don't look like anything special to me. I finally traded for a copy of the game, and I want to play it with people who enjoy it so that I can finally see what it is that makes it such a hit. It doesn't mean, however, that I'll try to copy the mechanisms in order to achieve that in my own designs (on the other hand, I finally played Kingdom Builder and still fail to see the appeal of that one, other than the variability, which is a good challenge for any game designer to tackle in his/her own way).

I've also found that it's important for designers who need volunteer playtesters like myself. Knizia has a regular team (semi-professionals?) who gladly do nothing by test his games. Most of the rest of us hunt high and low for someone who is open to play and critique an unpublished game. Mixing it up with a variety of published games on any given game night goes a long way to increasing their tolerance for the occasional prototype. And I can see very clearly through their body language how my prototypes stack up against the competition.

larienna
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If you do not play other

If you do not play other designer games, the minimum is to play games. You cannot design games by not playing any games at all.

For learning about games without playing, I have discovered something really simple lately called video reviews. It tells you in a nutshell how the mechanics works in around 15 min.

I have started doing that and my "want to play list" has started to shrink because I can now filter the crap much more easily (I am very picky). It saves me a lot of time, and It's almost like if I had a chance to get the game's experience without playing. Most of the time, they are going to show the new stuff and unique stuff which is good for us.

About Reiner Knizia: Now I understand why his games are so bad. The only game I have from him in my closet is LOTR:confrontation which is probably the only game where some mechanics are related to the theme (So very hard to re-theme). I still added dice to the game to make it enjoyable (Yes, I know it's a blasphemy).

sedjtroll
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In Reiner Knizia's defense,

In Reiner Knizia's defense, he does have a cadre of experienced designers in his inner circle and in his many playtest groups. He's said himself (to me anyway, if not in public) that he relies on them to let him know when he's reinventing the wheel so to speak.

However, that doesn't always work. At Kublacon a few years ago he had a prototype with him that was functionally identical to Qwirkle (slightly different scoring). He hadn't played Qwirkle, and had no idea about the similarities (I grabbed it from the library to show him).

I am definitely the type of designer who benefits from playing other people's games. James Ernest has a thing he talks about which I will attempt to paraphrase here: There are Inventors and there are Refiners. Inventers come up with new, unique ideas; Refiners develop ideas or put parts together to come up with a whole. Every designer will have to be both of those people, but some people are naturally much more one than the other.

I personally am more of a Refiner. I believe that makes me a better developer than a designer. Luckily, if Eminent Domain is any indication, I can do at least a little design as well :)

While it's not true for me, I wouldn't go as far as to say that NO designer is better off not playing other people's games, but I suspect in most cases the experience and insight gained from doing so outweighs any possible detriment. So my advice to would-be designers is to play as many games as possible!

jeffinberlin
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Ah, that was you

sedjtroll wrote:
At Kublacon a few years ago he had a prototype with him that was functionally identical to Qwirkle (slightly different scoring). He hadn't played Qwirkle, and had no idea about the similarities (I grabbed it from the library to show him).

Ah, so that was you, Seth! Thanks for confirming the story. I had talked to Susan McKinley Ross about it a year ago, but I did not know who it was that alerted Knizia to the similarity.

Let me repeat what I said in my blog: it's perfectly fine for Knizia to design any way he wants to. I just don't see enough evidence to support his claim that it gives him an advantage over designers who are also playing games (perhaps a decade ago, it would have been more difficult to argue with him, as he was innovating much more back then).

What really gives Knizia a competitive advantage are his professional playtesters and contacts in the industry which he has worked hard to establish over a long period of time. Other people have become full-time game designers by designing award-winning games that become a best-selling franchise (Settlers, Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride), while Knizia has been able to do the same with quantity: getting a large number of his games published and re-published in multiple markets year after year. He has the best reputation in the business and has worked hard to promote his brand (thus, the apps for all his classic board games, also from at least a decade ago, are always called "Reiner Knizia's...En Garde, Ra!, etc."

Innovation in the medium, however, is now coming from other designers who are not afraid to play others' games and expand upon new mechanisms (Stefan Feld, Martin Wallace, Inka & Markus Brand, etc.).

BubbleChucks
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Nods in agreement at much of

Nods in agreement at much of the above, it’s a case of whatever floats your own boat. I definitely concur with the distinction between invention and refinement. The wheel was invented eons ago, but it has been constantly refined over time.

The initial bedrock wheel of stone (if that’s how it started out) became wood slats, spokes where added to the design, the hub underwent revisions, the axle became sprung, iron was added to the rim to increase durability, the inner core was then made of metal, a tire was added and so on; each development leading to an improved ride for the passengers.

Would we now choose to go back to the old bedrock wheel and dismiss the refinements as irrelevant?

Well, I might, possibly, because I’ve always been a fan of the Flintstones and those Yabba Dabba Dooby cars – although I would probably still only go back as far as the pedal cars in Bugsy Malone :)

So refinement can be just as valuable as original conception, perhaps even more so.

I also agree with Lariennas’ point about finding other ways to evaluate games. Buying games to play isn’t cheap and that’s before finding people who want to play and play.

I’ve always made use of video reviews and recorded play sessions on the Board Game Geek and the Dice Tower to conduct research. The new Tabletop shows from Wil Wheaton are fun to watch as are the couple of reviews done by the Totally Rad guys.

Hmm, how could we refine and develop the Wil, possibly by improving his dice rolling, chuckles.

Originality is a hard act to pull off these days. I think in order to do it you have to have a personality that’s a little off the wall and out of the box to begin with.

It’s also much rarer than people assume. Sometimes an original idea, one that nobody has seen before, can be a product of something outside of board games. For this reason I think it’s important to take in everything and anything. Board games can lead to app conversions and video games and apps can stimulate ideas for board games.

A case in point is Inka and Brands Village, which was highlighted by some reviewers as new and original. I don’t have the game and so I haven’t played it, but I’ve watched and read a lot of reviews so I have a fair idea of what it consists of. It certainly looks gorgeous, the mechanics appear to work really well and it’s definitely on my ‘will buy one day list’.

It was a game that immediately jumped out at me when I first heard about it, but not because it struck me as thoroughly original. It attracted my attention because it reminded me of elements in a computer game I used to really enjoy playing for a time, called Europa the Guild 1400.

Manufacturing to a time determinant, people dying through the game, but offering carry on value, progress through a church and politics system and travelling outside the village.

I thought it would make for an excellent transition to a simplified board game format, something a touch different from the norm. So I kind of had one of those, oh no someone has beat me to the idea moments, in relation to seeing the Village for the first time.

If anyone feels like checking out Europa the Guild 1400, the old pc version its well worth a look see and download (an inferior sequel followed called The Guild 2 - with improved town graphics and much poorer game play). And if you would like to watch someone else play -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfWfQwVDSHo

There was even a free online mmorpg for a time, circa 2010, but I think that folded. It has some really nice ideas in it, the politics module is fun and there are a lot of other elements that could stimulate ideas within it.

All told, I think casting the gaming idea net as far as possible is always a good idea when searching for inspiration or knowledge. Or simply to satisfy yourself that someone hasn’t already had the same idea, independently of you, already. After all, a good idea can arise from anything and anywhere – not just the board game world.

larienna
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Quote:There are Inventors and

Quote:
There are Inventors and there are Refiners.

In another thread I wrote, that idea was also mentioned and I think it's really true. I am more a refiner than inventor myself, but I try to be open to both design methods.

So I am trying to refine my "inventor" method to make it more useful. (^_^)

jeffinberlin
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Quote:There are Inventors and

Quote:
There are Inventors and there are Refiners.

ALL inventors are refiners. The degree to which they invent varies, and is also debatable. Although most inventors don't like to admit how much of their invention really is refinement.

lewpuls
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Innovation is highly overrated

Innovation is highly overrated. See http://gamasutra.com/blogs/edit/blog/item/90787/index.php for the longer exposition.

If you're making a model of something, "innovation" doesn't come from new mechanics, it comes from a new way of modeling something, which may not involve any new mechanic though likely a new combination of mechanics.

One way or another you may wish to surprise players, but innovative mechanics isn't the best way to do that.

AnEvenWeirderMove
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I got all excited because I

I got all excited because I saw you posted again, and thought it was going to be the "longer response" teased above.

This thread is great reading.

pelle
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BubbleChucks wrote:I

BubbleChucks wrote:
I definitely concur with the distinction between invention and refinement. The wheel was invented eons ago, but it has been constantly refined over time.

The initial bedrock wheel of stone (if that’s how it started out) became wood slats, spokes where added to the design, the hub underwent revisions, the axle became sprung, iron was added to the rim to increase durability, the inner core was then made of metal, a tire was added and so on; each development leading to an improved ride for the passengers.

Would we now choose to go back to the old bedrock wheel and dismiss the refinements as irrelevant?

This was funny because you first say that there is a difference between invention and refinement, then go on to explain how the wheel was a product of refinement only, not invention at all. :)

I can't think of a single example of invention or creative work that was not just a refinement of something already existing (from any field where I know enough to judge). When something seems like that it a completely new innovation it is probably because you don't know the complete background of similar works by others. If you start to dig deeper in older and/or more obscure boardgames it is surprising how much you learn about nothing really being new, and the oldest example you know of something is often not the first one at all, only the first mainstream example.

Don't see how not playing games is helpful. On the other hand maybe not a disaster either if you already know enough about games (except to avoid accidental plagiarism). Chris Crawford On Game Design has a chapter about creativity, which boils down to stuffing as much knowledge as possible into your brain so that there are patterns for it to match when looking for solution to problems, taking ideas from completely different fields of science or art and including in game designs, essentially read and learn as much as you can is always useful (but he also suggests playing games, even listing some games you should have tried). I think there is some truth to this. In game design or any other problem I look at frequently the solution comes from some completely (seemilngly) unrelated field.

abdantas
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my two cents

Just to throw my 2 cents in about game design. I find that with game design, as with song-writing, originality is pretty much done. But the uniqueness that comes from new songs and styles is about perception.

our personal view of things is what makes us all so tremendously unique. I will perceive something much differently then Jeff or Pelle. Therefore it is up to us to put as much information in our brain, and pick the pieces that stick out to us to make something that can be even though not original, our own.

BubbleChucks
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Boggles, and doesn’t recall

Boggles, and doesn’t recall mentioning the refinements that resulted in the bedrock wheel of stone. I think it’s because that was the base point I used to quantify the ‘invention’ stage.

Although, if pedanticism is allowed to prevail, the first principle wheel in motion was probably a log under a board.

An outline of the stages for me would be

Invention – originality in the form of something previously unseen in either its specific usage or constitution, that constitution being particular to its entirety or any subsistent pieces within it.

Innovation – a radical remodeling of an existing principle or the combination of known, but previously unlinked elements, to form a marked differential of novel effect or value.

Refinement – the improvement of an existing process or product, by the alteration of its constitutional whole or subsistent parts.

And the only reason I’ve included 3 stages is because innovation is now seen as a stage on its own, for some reason. Given free reign I would judge it to be the same as refinement.

However, it may be that one day a further stage will be included; that of the transposer - where an item of known constitution is utilised in a different manner or introduced into a different medium of employment.

pelle
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My point is that log under a

My point is that log under a rock or whatever was the first rolling thing that could be considered a wheel (by some definition) is a tiny step of the same magnitude (or smaller) than those refinements listed. I am no expert in wheels and I bet if diving deeper into the origins of a wheel we will see smaller and smaller increments, baby-refinements leading from "no wheel" to "wheel". There is never suddenly something unseen that is seen, more than in a small incremental evolutionary way. Someone always takes parts that exists and make some new connection that wasn't there.

I don't know what a dictionary has to say about your definitions. Maybe that is what the words mean. But that does not mean that something some people would consider innovation or invention is anything but just signs of ignorance (not seeing all the small steps of refinements that lead to what they believe is sudden innovation). Someone that makes slightly bigger (or more) tiny steps of refinements than the rest of us could rightly be considered innovative, but the process is still based on minor changes to what already exists.

Since the subject here is game design, I can at least say with confidence that any time I have seen something that seemed innovative, further research has shown that it already existed (I just did not know about it) or that something very similar existed (that I did not know of). Ideas don't come from nowhere.

Lofwyr
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Oh dear, Oh dear

We’re going to start with a fish, end with a human, and stop this ceaseless and repetitive redefining of a word that is being tossed around and used incorrectly.

Fish lives in ocean.
Fish grows lungs and lives in mud.
Fish grows legs and leaves mud for land.
…and then later….
Monkey likes termites and eats them.
Monkey uses stick to get more tasty termites.
Monkey eats lots of termites…looses fur…buys dictionary and reads definition of innovation.

Please ask yourself this question before formulating your response. At what point is the fish no longer a fish; at what point do we stop calling it a fish and start calling it a human?

By many of the definitions above a human is nothing special, it’s just a fish with some stuff added to it.

Don’t be so simple.

E

jeffinberlin
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Wow, I'm talking about game design

Wow, I'm writing about game design and how playing other people's games can both challenge and inspire us to innovate (as in, "recombine existing elements in a new way, make incremental advancements, etc.).

Everyone I know does this--yes, including you.

Not sure what this has to do with Darwinism(sigh).

Lofwyr wrote:
We’re going to start with a fish, end with a human, and stop this ceaseless and repetitive redefining of a word that is being tossed around and used incorrectly.

Fish lives in ocean.
Fish grows lungs and lives in mud.
Fish grows legs and leaves mud for land.
…and then later….
Monkey likes termites and eats them.
Monkey uses stick to get more tasty termites.
Monkey eats lots of termites…looses fur…buys dictionary and reads definition of innovation.

Please ask yourself this question before formulating your response. At what point is the fish no longer a fish; at what point do we stop calling it a fish and start calling it a human?

By many of the definitions above a human is nothing special, it’s just a fish with some stuff added to it.

Don’t be so simple.

E

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
jeffinberlin wrote:Let me

jeffinberlin wrote:
Let me repeat what I said in my blog: it's perfectly fine for Knizia to design any way he wants to. I just don't see enough evidence to support his claim that it gives him an advantage over designers who are also playing games (perhaps a decade ago, it would have been more difficult to argue with him, as he was innovating much more back then).
In RK's defense, he's been saying that stuff (about how not playing other games gives him an advantage) for the last 10 years. So maybe it was true when he started saying it, even if it's not as true anymore.

Quote:
What really gives Knizia a competitive advantage are his professional playtesters and contacts in the industry which he has worked hard to establish over a long period of time.
Agree!

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