I’ve been talking for awhile about how I’ve been working on a new pop culture media analysis show. It has taken me a long time to figure out what the direction for it would be, but the good news is I have my first video (and a short intro video) up already. I also have 80% of the next video ready to go, and I’ll try to get it going really soon.
What are the criteria that make something a good “Clockwork Game”?
The Clockwork Game Design model is something I have been working on for the last five years or so. It is specifically an effort to figure out how to make the most elegant and effective strategy games possible. There are certainly practical reasons why you might not want a specific game to be a Clockwork game. But to the extent that you want your strategy game to be elegant, you should adopt as many of these principles as possible.
Below is a list of criteria that strategy games should strive for. I am sorting them by how controversial they are. In other words, I am putting the stuff people pretty much agree upon towards the bottom.
Hello everyone! A new episode, finally. This one is a distinct two-parter, coming in at about 45 minutes. I first talk about how games are better described as contests of understanding rather than contests of decisions. The “decisions” aspect of games tends to actually be a bit over-stated.
My official position is that you can’t really “improve” Go. There might be something in there worth salvaging, but you can’t just tweak some rules and make Go better. That’s not because Go is so great, but because tweaking rules on an existing system like that tends to create vastly horrible results.
With that said, it might be an interesting intellectual exercise to sort of try to graft on the Clockwork Game Design concepts onto Go and see what you get.
Every day I throw down failed game design ideas. Today I thought I’d share one with you guys just to get a little game design conversation going. (With the election and everything, things have been a little slow on that front recently.)
Here’s as far as I got, just to get you guys started.
Some basic ideas for it:
13×13 board, as a starting place. Would scale up or down as necessary. Maybe the board shouldn’t even be square, not sure.
Fog of war. Basically my idea was that you get a vision range of 2, but this doesn’t actually make any sense in practice for a few reasons. One is that you shouldn’t be able to place pieces on the perimeter (random), let alone across the board in some random fogged spot. And the second is that at some point (possibly 10-12 moves in) you’re going to just see the whole board – bye bye, hidden information. There may be solutions to these problems, but I don’t know. (I’ll come back to this at the end.)
At least 1 piece down already, probably more like 3-4 in a random, non-mirrored configuration (this is to avoid guessing what the opponent is doing in the fog).
Grey pieces are down in a mirrored configuration. Grey pieces turn your color when you put a piece next to them. Or maybe they do something different?
A few thoughts I had as I was giving up on this:
– Maybe this could be single player somehow? Like having to do with the grey pieces? Probably not.
Back to the fog of war and the problems with it: funny thing about this is, it doesn’t really work, and one of the reasons it doesn’t work is the “I can just lay down pieces willy-nilly whereever I want with no restrictions” element of Go to begin with.
Anyway, like I said, I make these kinds of failed little concepts all the time and since things have been slow around these parts recently, I thought I’d share this one totally non-working, bad idea with you.
How would you apply the Clockwork Game Design design methodology to Go? Just to review, here are some of the demands:
In this episode I discuss the concept of deepities and how it applies to game design writing. I also discuss a new Frank Lantz article on Ian Bogost‘s new book—an article that, it seems to me, pushes against progress in game design in some ways.
(Don’t forget to check out episodes 23 and 24 where I talked with Frank on the show, if you haven’t already.)
Finally, I talk a little bit about some personal updates with me, my 2-3 upcoming games, and Codex (which I’m still playing).
Thanks for listening! If you like the show, show your support by making a pledge on my Patreon page.