游戏需要促使玩家的操作能够互相产生影响。这是《Jeopardy》、《Bingo》及《Baseball》之类游戏的主要失败之处（游戏邦注：在这些游戏中，竞争是唯一的互动元素）。这是我和Nick Smith的新作《Card Catch》当中的核心要素。玩家互相给彼此设定目标，游戏持久的时间越长，你和对手纸牌进行的互动就越多，这融入二级水平的策略和数学元素。
我对于此非常挣扎。我认为互动、惊喜及策略元素非常吸引人，因此总体而言我算是很喜欢玩游戏。我喜欢玩各式各样的游戏。但对于孩子来说，游戏的趣味性主要在于惊喜方面。所以我经常让孩子们在游戏中添加语境元素。我将此归类成Decimals游戏。诸如《Decimal Point Pickle》和《Power Up》之类的游戏无疑包含这一元素。这大概就是优秀作品和轰动巨作之间的差异。
Ten Rules for Game Design
by John Golden
OK, well, the first five. Mark Rosewater, the man behind Magic, is writing a 2 part article on game design principles. Worth a look. Especially for teachers who want to get their game on. I’ll share his categories, with notes on educational games.
Usually easy for educational games.
But wait… maybe not. Teachers are used to setting objectives, but the kind of objective makes a big difference in the game. If in addition to content objectives, the teacher has process objectives, it can make a big difference in the game. The good news for mathies is that any game with strategy feels like it’s connecting to the problem solving process.
Rules need to be understandable, but make things hard enough for the player. I think some ed games have trouble here, because of the old saw about about good teachers make things easy for their students. Goes well, however, with the resurgence of the ‘be less helpful’ mode of teaching. (We can’t call it new if Dewey was onto it.)
The game has to help what players do matter to each other. This is a major failing of Jeopardy and Bingo and Baseball, etc. where competition is the only interaction. Probably this is the best aspect of my most recent game Card Catch, with Nick Smith. Players set the goal for each other, and the longer the game goes on, the more information you have about your opponents’ cards, which adds a whole second level of strategy and math.
If a player who falls behind has no chance, it disengages them. I just recently noticed how much this matters to me. I think because as a game lover, this is one of the few things I loathe about them. Think about the slow grinding Monopoly death… (shudder) Within the game, players need to be able to catch up. It doesn’t have to be likely – then it’s Candy Land, where you can’t keep a lead. You might as well be teleporting around that board. It does have to be possible, which will help create stories of the epic win.
In educational games this is a double danger, since so many ed games reward players who’ve already learned the material. If a math game is about who’s fastest, there are students who start the game knowing there’s no hope. Sometimes this is an easy fix by adding a bit of chance, but usually it requires structural design. I think this principle is why so many games get pushed to review in the classroom, instead of being used to help learn.
Leave them wanting more. Get out while the getting’s good. Dave Coffey is excellent at this with his lessons, always leaving students something to think about on the way home. I measure this by whether students are ‘whew’ or ‘ohhhhh’ when our time is up. In my experience this connects heavily with (2), Rules. Too easy or too hard shows up here.
Mark connects it with writing advice: make it as short as you can, then cut 10%.
Also tough for teachers, because we’re trained to go until everyone finishes. Much better to have people sitting around doing nothing (quietly, of course) than to have anyone not have a chance to finish. That’s murder to a game.
6. Surprise. The game should have some unpredictability for players.
To me, this connects strongly to Interaction and Catch-Up. One way to get surprise is hidden information – which often can contribute to interaction amongst players. Information can be hidden from both or the players can hide it from each other. The new game Flip Out has a good element of this with two sided cards of which each player sees different sides. A benefit for math and literacy is that this makes inference a part of the game.
The other easy way to add surprise is random events – which can contribute to making catch up possible. The only thing that makes Monopoly playable is the dice rolling. In Euchre, no matter how good you are, you need cards to play. The math benefit is the addition of probability, even if informal, to game play. It’s no surprise that the two most common game pieces are dice and cards.
Interesting to me that this is so low on the list, which makes me wonder what he was ordering them to achieve.
This is the biggest add-on for educational games over other activities. The problem solving inherent in any game with strategy is such fantastic grist for mathematics. Mathematicians often see math as a game because of this strong connection. How do we achieve a result with allowable moves? Using games with K-12 students,asking for their strategies always makes for an amazing summary and unearths most of the math content of the games. It also helps build Inertia as then students are more interested in playing again, trying our others’ strategies or designing ways to beat them.
There’s a natural tension between Surprise and Strategy. If things are too random, strategy loses all impact. If things aren’t random at all, it is chess or go. Both great games, obviously, but also both games that struggle with Catch-Up and Inertia for many players. Plug for Magic: the balance of these two elements is a large part of what makes the game so bloody amazing. Also applies to Bridge, to a lesser extent. (Yes, I’m claiming Magic > Bridge.)
I struggle with this. Because I find interaction, surprise and strategy so engaging, I love games in general. I’ll play anything. But what makes a game fun to kids is often a surprise to me. It’s not uncommon for me to take a game to kids, and let them add the context. I wrote about this a bit with my Division into Decimals game. Games like Decimal Point Pickle and Power Up had this in spades. Probably this is the difference between a game being good, and the game being a smash hit.
To some extent I think the last two principles are really subcategories of this one. Did they get pulled out to make ten or – more likely – is there something I’m missing that makes them truly distinct?
Flavor is about the context and setting for your game, which heavily influences the fun aspect for players, in my experience. At least on entry, and Mark connects this to the barrier or entry cost to your game. The other principles determine long term fun. In our house, this gets us to play a game fr the first time, but won’t sustain interest. One neat point he makes about flavor, though, is how it can influence design. My youth Bible study is making a return of the Lord card game based on the 10 bridesmaids parable. (Yes, really.) But the context for the game is inspiring a four horseman of the apocalypse feature that will definitely add interest to the game. Probably shouldn’t have shared this story.
The idea of constructive flavor reminds me of my colleague Jacqui Melinn talking about integrated units. A marine biology integrated unit is not when you put your math practice problems on a whale-themed sheet, it’s when your questions about whales require math to think about and solve. Good flavor isn’t an add on, but supports the game mechanics. For a math game, this gets at the structure of the game supporting the mathematical objective. Cheap flavor is the hallmark of flashcard/drill math games. “Look you’re doing lots of multiplication, but it’s on a baseball diamond!”
Hook is what gets people to try your game. This is less important in educational games to me as we have a built-in market (students), but I’m also not trying to sell my games to a publisher. (So maybe my hook is that my games are free?) However it does remind me of Dan Meyer talking about a hook for a lesson, and could well be linked to engagement. I just don’t know how to tease it out from flavor and fun. Maybe hook is a measure of whether the game has things that make you wonder?（Source：mathhombre part 1,part 2）