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The Game Language of T

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Joined: 10/08/2015

The Game Language of T

A physical concept based approach to Game Design

Brief intro: I was contemplating the most boring game I know, the game of Tic-Tac-Toe, and considering learning lessons from this "game" which is more like an exercise. I like starting basic and here are some AWESOME things that I've found while approaching this cool idea.

Here's the Beginnings of the work:

(skip to okay we’ve got rules now what section if you know the assumptions)

Where did we start?

Tic-Tac-Toe Variants, Beginning Examples
Summary: This was a cool brainstorming to demonstrate additions to the simple ttt game that created the visibility of not only new functions, but basic assumptions the “game” illustrates.

What is a Game?

According to the google search engine:
Noun, a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.
Noun, a complete episode or period of play, ending in a definite result.
Adjective, I’m game for that challenge!
Verb, manipulate a situation
According to Wikipedia:
A game is a structured form of play, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool
Games are distinct from work, which is usually carried out for…

We approach as a board, card, dice and player game enthusiasts who will use not only Roger Caillois definition of game but also expand and relate other definitions to expand the use of those within the definition.

Okay, now what?

Well shoot, this is too big a project to be handled right off the bat, so why not chop it down into things we know?

But wait, what are the driving questions?

How to make games? How to make them fun? Cicumstansously? How to create a framework for virtual parts of a game? What is a specific applied example to a real, physical, thematic game that I can actually play?

Things I will not address:
Imagined, or physical (though correlated in the process of application) aspects of Context of games.
Look here for definitions and understanding of base principles.
Publishing, marketing or other forms of propaganda for convincing of concepts of “best” or “most popular game”

A case study: The Game? Of Tic-Tac-Toe

As we will assume you know, tic-tac-toe is a solved exercise. It’s rather hurtful to call it fun or exciting. However all abstract games, from Go to Chess, Mancala to RPS can be derived and determined from the Framework of tictactoe. They could all create a framework, however tictactoe in its simplest form is solved for a draw. Thus an expounding of this could create what people like to call “balanced” games. Where one Role does not have an unfair or unequal footing against another Role.

Rules of Tic Tac Toe from around the web
Summary, this site only means to describe the game, but I don’t know if they know that the game is solved, and not a “game” per say but an exercise. (it's a craft site, not the point of their article or considered in the scope of their material)
From Spruce crafts
The goal of tic-tac-toe is to be the first player to get three in a row on a 3 x 3 grid, …
To start, one player draws a board, creating a grid of squares, usually 3 x 3…
The player who is playing "X" always goes first.
Players alternate placing Xs and Os on the board until either one player has three in a row, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally; or all nine squares are filled.
If a player is able to draw three of their Xs or three of their Os in a row, then that player wins.
If all nine squares are filled and neither player has three in a row, the game is a draw.

Rules of Tic Tac Toe from around the Web
From this ^ site:
Summary, fantastically concise wording of the “game”
The object of Tic Tac Toe is to get three in a row.
You play on a three by three game board.
The first player is known as X and the second is O.
Players alternate placing Xs and Os on the game board until either [opponent] has three in a row or all nine squares are filled.
X always goes first, and in the event that no one has three in a row, the stalemate is called a cat game.

My Rules of Tic Tac Toe that shouldn’t leave any questions
To win you must get 3 in a row, column or diagonal of your X’s or O’s
Make 3 by 3 grid
**Decide who is X’s they go first while the other player, O’s, go second
Players may only choose empty spaces
If a player wins during the game the game is over.
When the grid is full, the game is over and If no player has 3 marks in a row, the game ends in a tie.

**This decision also determines who will be forcing the win, and who will be forcing the draw.
This “game” isn’t fun because it is a predetermined exercise

Okay great, you’ve got rules, now what?

Have you noticed the rules are not so, verbose? Even my explanation which is short, and incomplete, does not have an explanation of all parts of a Game in terms of what a Game is rather than what an Exercise is.

In short, my rules do not let the reader or player know all the things they CANNOT do.

Why would that be important?

If you create a space for possibilities, you can change the framework in order to create a new virtual structure. (refer to Theme vs Mechanics)

Ohhh, okay, so you want to make a Game from TTT and not just an Exercise?

In this case study, yes well propose a game framework and hopefully suggest a cool abstract game toy concept.

So what parts do we need to make a Game vs an Exercise?

The topic of Game vs. Exercise is beyond the structure of this paper. Suffice it to say, we are using these words loosely defined as Play vs. Work.

fun: the activity is chosen for its light-hearted character
separate: it is circumscribed in time and place
uncertain: the outcome of the activity is unforeseeable
non-productive: participation does not accomplish anything useful
governed by rules: the activity has rules that are different from everyday life
fictitious: it is accompanied by the awareness of a different reality

... To Be Continued...

Joined: 06/09/2017
hmmm...interesting. noughts

noughts and crosses (im british) is, to most people, not a fun game. this is almost entirely down to the fact it is solved, so 2 people (or chickens) who know the solution will always draw.
but before you know its broken its a great game.
game designers often fall into the trap of thinking every player is of the same base intelligence and forgetting what life was like when they were young and stupid.
when my niece was about 2 1/2 i taught her the game (she could barely write the x or o) and she loved it. i made myself "forget" the solution and basically played randomly but she was learning loads.
she learnt about thinking ahead, that its just as important hinder your opponent as advance yourself (maybe not a great moral lesson). she learnt about taking turns and not cheating, about zero sum games and being a good winner/loser. plus she thought she was good at somthing which made her feel great- especially when she thought she was as good as or better than an adult.

i dont want to call kids stupid but i think adults too often overestimate a childs grasp of concepts. snakes and ladders is another game that gets panned as a pointless game " its just luck of the dice" they say.
but if you play with a child they will swear blind that they won because they are batter at the game than you.
they will play over and over until one day somthing clicks and they realise its just luck, but until that point its a fun game they can play on an equal footing to their parents.

games for adults and bigger kids need to have more rules, more strategy, more skill etc. but young kids games just need to be fun... for young kids.

in fact tne only reason a young kids game needs a win/lose condition is a) so adults can separate it from an activity (not somthing the kid cares about) b) so the adult has an excuse to stop (not always effective) and c) so the kid can learn about sportsmanship. and of course its always fun to beat your parents.

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