原作者：James Kinch 译者：Willow Wu
经典大富翁游戏所包含的配件可以说是非常具有标志性的，然而经过了这么长的时间，很多配件都变了，玩家与游戏互动方式也随之改变。选择角色是游戏中非常重要的一环。Media Psychology期刊就曾有关于“玩家在游戏过程中是如何变得越来越像角色”的研究。在某个实验中，参与者被要求玩一款军事题材的射击游戏，时长为10分钟，观察者要记录他们的反应。实验结束后，他们要做词汇判断任务（Lexical Decision Task），就是基于一或两个字母的差异来判断一个单词是否是真实存在的（比如Morch-March），玩家看到这些词都跟战争有关。词汇判断任务的结果表明，扮演士兵角色确实能提高与军事知识相关的认知能力( Klimmt, et al., 2009)。
这可能意味着，使用不同的指示物，基于玩家对指示物形象的解读，玩家的游戏体验也会不一样。就比如说，虽然“鞋子”是一个没有生命的物体，但玩家可能会将其理解为一个悠闲的角色。很多大富翁游戏都在这一方面做了尝试，在这些游戏中，指示物是基于它们的外观形象执行行动，如Monopoly New Edition (Infrogrames, 2001)和Monopoly Party(Runecraft, 2002)。
实例1：Monopoly Tycoon（Deep Red Games, 2001）中的马、狗、手推车、鞋子、战舰和加农炮
实例2：Monopoly Streets（EA Salt Lake, 2011）中的鞋、马、狗和手推车
玩家经常会在游戏中创造他们自己的角色，比如《龙与地下城》（Gygax & Arneson, 1974）。角色被赋予了背景故事，有特别的属性和装备，成为独一无二的个体——角色设定表格记录了这一切。玩家一手拿着表格，一手移动他们的小雕像。
这款游戏鼓励玩家创造一些能够在游戏中代表自己的人(Wizards RPG Team, 2014)。团队认为玩家在游戏中创建替身角色也是游戏的一大乐趣。有意思的是，在某项实验中，666名参与者被要求为6种不同的游戏场景创建角色，结果显示，对生活较为满意的人会创造与自己相似的角色，而对生活较为不满意的人则会创造与自己不太相似的角色。这表明人们在创建游戏角色时很大程度上会受自身情况的影响，不管是好的方面还是坏的方面。
在同一项研究中，实验设计者还观察到了“参与者对角色的认同感与游戏乐趣密切相关”，这似乎就支持了Wizards RPG Team的观点。这就能解释为什么《龙与地下城》的角色能够这么长寿，因为玩家可以按照自己的意愿从零开始设计角色，不受任何限制（除了游戏DM的要求），不会像某些系统那样只给你提供几个预设好的选项——常见的比如《魔兽世界》（Blizzard Entertainment，2004）或WWF Smackdown! (Yuke’s, 2000).
这取决的是角色扮演的规则，通常这会在创造角色&互动开始前就制定好。这就类似于有“规则或至少是参照指南”(Fullerton, et al., 2007)的重要文化活动（比如万圣节），让参与者明白该如何行动、穿着。人们可以通过这些活动以一种不同于日常的方式来表达自己，这就跟你创造角色/规划角色行动有些类似。
玩家有时会为了问一些跟规则相关，或与游戏世界本身无关的问题从而脱离角色，这就是所谓的“OOC”（Out of Character）。Mortensen认为OOC内容对角色扮演是有重要作用的，并且可能由于多种原因贯穿整个游戏过程。其中一个原因便是确保故事能够按照玩家期望的方式继续发展。利用这一点对于保持玩家对角色扮演的持续兴趣从而推动故事发展非常重要。
一般来说，版图是游戏里最大的实体配件了。简单的版图可能就类似于是国际象棋棋盘那样，复杂一些的就像是Formula D (Randall & Lavaur, 1991)里那样的。
正如我们之前在简介中提到的那样，《大富翁》多年来发行了各种各样的版本。目前世界纪录中拥有最多《大富翁》游戏的人是Neil Scallan，总计2249套(World of Monopoly, 2019)。有些版本保留了经典的指示物，但所有版本都对版图做了更改以匹配对应的主题。这是否证明了这些版本要么是很多人都要买，要么是制造成本太低，做出来也无妨？不幸的是，Scallan这边的数据也是迄今为止最完整的，因此除了标准版本之外，我们很难找到关于《大富翁》其它版本的准确销售/制造成本信息。
在Eric Zimmerman & Katie Salen的著作Rules of Play中，作者用了一整章的篇幅试图去定义游戏。书中提到了David Parlett所定义的正式&非正式游戏。非正式游戏指的是当场创造的出无（或极少）规则/结构的东西。而正式的游戏是“基于结局（ends）和方法（means）的双重结构”（Zimmerman & Salen, 2003）。“结局”指的是有胜利的一方，“方法”指的是玩家要怎么获得胜利。就《大富翁》来说就是有什么规则、可使用的配件，以及如何使用。根据这个定义，本文之前提到的游戏——从《大富翁》到线上角色扮演活动——它们所应用的这些元素就是正式游戏所需具备的元素（除非游戏尚未完成，在这种情况下就不存在“赢家”)。
鼓励人们使用自己制定的游戏规则，玩家就能够创造出独一无二的游戏版本，让其他人了解到某些更广泛存在的问题。在一个标题为“《大富翁》修改版”（Modified Monopoly）的案例研究中，Morten Ender借助特定版本的《大富翁》来给学生传授关于社会&社会经济不平等的知识。学员们通过随机抽签获得家族设定，还有具体的角色。这8个家族的社会阶级各不相同，有些家族一开始就比较富裕，并且有更多机会赚取更多财富。所有的家族围着《大富翁》版图而坐，保持同等距离。Ender之所以这么撰写研究报告是为了让其他人效仿他的实验，在课堂上实施。随着游戏的展开，他指出：“社会地位较低的玩家会更安静、更孤僻，逐渐远离游戏（物理意义上和心理意义上都是）。” (Ender, 2004)玩家到后期甚至都不来上课了，因为他们没有参与感。
Using examples, discuss the ways in which physical elements of play such as boards, miniatures and game pieces change modes of play in games. Counterpoise case studies with theoretical discussions of these aspects.
There are many versions of games that have been released over the decades. Monopoly (Parker Brothers, 1935) has had several thousands (World of Monopoly, 2019) of editions printed internationally over the last 80 years and still remains the top selling board game today (NPD Group, 2020). These versions have made a variety of changes by changing the theme, the mechanics and the tokens. Even if they are very different from the original, they all still use the name of the brand.
This essay will be covering a variety of game mediums and why different versions of games are released or encouraged to be played. This will be supported by a mixture of case studies and with theoretical discussions.
Board games generally come with a variety of different physical elements to represent things that are related to the game in some form. These can include, but are not limited to:
· Tokens that represent players.
· A method of deciding how a player’s token is moved.
· A physical way of counting points.
· A rule book that is themed based on the game and its genre.
· A designated place to play.(Zimmerman & Salen, 2003)
These physical elements are used to create structure, help establish a theme and to help players visually understand the game. For instance, a player could technically use their finger to represent a token to play the game. However, this would change the experience that the player has in the game. Not only would their finger/arm possibly begin to ache but part of the theme and a visual indicator as to how the piece can be interacted with has been removed from the game.
The pieces that are included in a classic Monopoly set could be considered iconic due to the popularity of the game, however, a lot of the pieces have been changed over time. This has changed how players interact with the game. Which character a player picks is an important aspect to the game. Two studies were published in the journal, ‘Media Psychology’ into how players became more like their character when playing a video game. Participants in one of these studies played a military-shooter game for 10 minutes and were observed to record reactions. After the experiment, they performed a Lexical Decision Task, a task that involves deciding whether a word is a real word or not based on one or two letters difference (i.e Morch – March). The words that the players were given were on warfare related words. The study found that “Findings from the Lexical Decision Task suggest that playing a soldier role indeed increases cognitive accessibility of soldier-related concepts.” ( Klimmt, et al., 2009).
This could mean that with different tokens, players may play the game differently, acting more like their perception of how that token could act. For instance, while a “Shoe” is an inanimate object, a player may interpret it as a laid back character. This has already been explored in multiple Monopoly games where tokens perform actions based on their appearance such as in Monopoly New Edition (Infrogrames, 2001) and Monopoly Party (Runecraft, 2002).
This idea is taken further in other Monopoly games by personifying the characters. These games make their own interpretations about the tokens and give them stereotypical-like personalities to fit them.
Figure 1- Horse, Dog, Wheelbarrow, Shoe, Battleship and Cannon personified in Monopoly Tycoon. (Deep Red Games, 2001)
Figure 2 – Shoe, Horse, Dog and Wheelbarrow personified in Monopoly Streets. (EA Salt Lake, 2011)
By having these distinctions visualised for players, some creativity could be lost in that the designers have created their own takes which could hamper a player’s experience as they cannot make their own interpretation. To some however, this may boost their connection as they are able to see what an interpretation of them is like. This could culminate in the player having a different experience when playing with a different line-up of characters that a player may perceive in different ways.
Players regularly create their own characters in games such as Dungeons & Dragons. (Gygax & Arneson, 1974) Their character is given a backstory, traits and equipment which makes them unique. This is all then visually portrayed via a character sheet that the player holds while a figurine is put onto the tabletop to show movement.
In the context of D&D, the character sheet is a very powerful tool when maintaining a character as it can contain everything about them. By editing a piece of information on the sheet, the dynamic of the group and even the game can change. Along with the Dungeon Master, this sheet puts self-imposed parameters or rules around the narrative that the player can take.
The game encourages them to create someone that will represent them in a game which they are “excited to play” (Wizards RPG Team, 2014). The team believes that the character that a player creates as their avatar in the world is a very important part of the enjoyment of the game. Interestingly, a study done where 666 participants were asked to choose personality features for six different game scenarios reveals that people who are more satisfied with their lives would create characters for situations that are similar to themselves while others who were not as satisfied would create personalities that were less like them (Trepte & Reinecke, 2010). This suggests that the characters that people create are heavily inspired in some way by themselves whether positivity or negatively. Players seem to create characters around aspects that they like in some way.
In the same study, the participants also showed that “identification with the avatar was strongly related to game enjoyment” which appears to back-up the Wizards RPG Team’s point. This could explain the longevity of characters in the game as it allows for a player to completely design an avatar from the ground up with no limit besides what the DM asks for as opposed to other systems that only allow for a pre-determined amount of options, typically more often found in older video games such as World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment, 2004) or WWF Smackdown! (Yuke’s, 2000).
Figure 3 – WWF Smackdown’s character creator.
Figure 4 – World of Warcraft’s character creator.
Role play is a very broad genre of games as it can be found in many different forms of play. There are some games, as previously described, that incorporate it as a mechanic such as D&D. However, in some instances, there are few physical elements that drive role play forward and it is up to the players to drive the narrative.
This is the case especially in online roleplay sessions between two or more people in a chat room or instant messaging app. Due to the anonymity of the internet, players are able to create their own characters without needing to share personal details about themselves. As Mortensen writes, “Communicating by way of a computer provides a liberty to presenting yourself as realistically as you desire” (Mortensen, 2002) thus allowing players to create anything that they wish whether it be related to themselves or not.
Mortesen goes on to write that “the speed of the exchanges is closer to the real-time experience of conversation and makes for the intimacy of the physical encounter with the safety of distance. This creates an illusion of real-time interaction and introduces a high level of intimacy.” There are very few physical elements to this way of interacting, only requiring a computer, a method of input and a method of output. Voice communication can be disregarded and no elements are needed to keep “score” or ways to move.
This is dependent on the ‘rules’ of the roleplay which are generally determined before the creation and interaction of characters has begun. This is similar to significant cultural events where there are (in reference to Halloween) “rules or at least parameters” (Fullerton, et al., 2007) in which people participating can behave, dress or act. While there are laws that must be followed in a country, people can use the parameters of an event to express themselves in an alternative way to everyday life, similar to how a character is created/acted.
Players will sometimes break character in an attempt to ask a question about the rules or something unrelated to the game which is referred to as ‘Out of Character’ (OOC). Described as a “culture” by Mortesen, it is an important aspect of roleplay and may be needed throughout a session for multiple reasons. One of these reasons is to ensure that the story is continuing in the path that the players would like. This may be set out initially the ‘rules’ but it may be called upon to direct attention to an interaction that the players need to have in order to progress. Utilising this is important to have the continued interest in the roleplay and therefore the drive of the narrative.
Designated Playing Areas (Boards)
A board is generally the largest physical element to a game that features one. These can range from simple markings like the ones found in Chess or more detailed ones found in games such as Formula D (Randall & Lavaur, 1991).
Figure 5 – Starting Chess board layout
Figure 6 – A Formula D track.
Both of these games rely on players moving their pieces around the board. In Chess, it is to take away the opponent’s pieces whereas in Formula D, it is to race around the track and to win the race. This means that the players spend a lot of time looking at the board attempting to make moves.
A chess player could quite easily recreate a chess grid on a piece of paper and use the figures to play out the game. In Formula D, while this technically could be possible, not only would it take a significant more amount of time due to the more advance track layout, lots of the detail that is present around the track would be lost unless it was drawn in. In the example above, for instance, by recreating it on paper, it is unlikely that it will be drawn at night. This could potentially change the perception that people have of the track and how much they enjoy playing it. The player may prefer races at night which may make this their favourite track in the game. Removing the uniqueness of the setting could change that player’s view.
As previously mentioned in the introduction, Monopoly has sold many different special editions over the years. The current world record holder of most Monopoly sets owned is held by Neil Scallan with 2249 sets (World of Monopoly, 2019). Some editions retain the classic token line-up but all editions change the board’s place names and iconography to match the theme in the edition. Is it evidence that these editions must either sell a lot of copies or the manufacturing costs are so low that there is no point in not making one. Unfortunately, the most complete list that has been created so far is that of Scallan’s collection and therefore it is difficult to accurately find information about the sales/manufacturing costs of Monopoly editions besides the standard versions.
The book, Rules of Play by Eric Zimmerman and Katie Salen uses an entire chapter to attempt to define what a game is. They discuss David Parlett’s definition of formal and informal games. Informal games refer to that of when something is created on the spot with little to no rules or structure. However, formal rules use a “twofold structure based on ends and means” (Zimmerman & Salen, 2003). ‘Ends’ refers to that there can be a winner and ‘means’ is how the players will get there. In this case what the rules are, equipment that can be used and how it can be used. Taking this definition, a formal game has all the elements that can be applied to the games that this essay has previously covered from Monopoly to online roleplay sessions (unless a game is not finished, in which case there is no ‘winner’).
One of these components, the rules, physically state the way that the equipment should be played with thus taking the rules away or having poorly written ones could lead to a different game being altogether, especially over a prolonged used. This isn’t necessarily a negative, however. Games should be able to be interpreted in different ways, something that has happened with Monopoly (again) over the seven generations of people (Robinson, 2017) that it has been played with.
By encouraging people to use their own house rules, players have been able to create unique versions of the game that have taught others about wider issues. In a case study called, “Modified Monopoly”, Morten Ender describes a unique version of the game that he used to teach his cadets more about social and socio-economic inequality. All drawn randomly from a hat, cadets were given a family and roles within it. These formed 8 families with different “levels of social class” with some families starting with more money and a higher potential to earn more. The families were all asked to sit with equal access to a Monopoly board around a conference table. The way that Ender has written the study is for others to copy his example and potentially use it in a classroom setting. With this in mind, as a game progresses, he notes that “lower SES family players will be quieter, more withdrawn, and socially and physically distanced from the game.” Players even go so far to the point that they “stopped coming to class” (Ender, 2004) as they were not engaged with the game.
While this is a more extreme example of changing how Monopoly is played, it should not be understated how much a simple rule change can affect the game and the experience for others. For instance, let’s say that two households next to each other played Monopoly with two simple different house rules. Household 1 let’s players collect £500 for landing on ‘Free Parking’ while household 2 let’s players start with £2000. Each household will have a very different game to the other’s.
Household 1’s game will be more likely focused around landing on Free Parking as it would let a player regain a 1/3rd of their starting money without the need to land on a ‘Chance’, ‘Community Chest’ or by gaining a Monopoly whereas household 2’s game will see players buying up more property and not letting it go to auction, possibly reducing the amount of trading and player interaction.
In the event that these households were to play together, they would need to decide which ruleset they would want to play. By playing both rules, it is possible that the bank could run out of 500s due to the inflation of money or the game could last longer as players won’t run out of money as fast. By playing only one of the household’s rules, the other household would be at a disadvantage as they would have to adapt their strategy to the other’s. Alternatively, by playing by the original rules, both households would be at a disadvantage, however, it would level the playing field.
In these examples, the household’s rules are generally a verbal contract agreed upon before/during play for the first time. Over a prolonged time of playing, it would become normal for the players of the respective household to use their own rules, therefore not needing to discuss it regularly when playing. In these cases, it can be argued that the written rules are not needed as players know their own rules and therefore won’t refer back to the game’s original ruleset.
The physical elements to games make up a lot of the experience that the players have. This is generally found in themes of the game such as in the tokens or the board. However, in some cases, it should be noted that the experience can also be based upon the mental/verbal elements such as in parameters/unwritten rules and the players who participate in the game together rather than what is written down.