Threats in Games

Threats in Games

What is a threat in the context of a game? Can they affect the outcome? A snippet from our larger Practical Game Theory at PAX East 2013, we briefly explore some aspects of threatmaking in games, and what it truly means to make a "credible" threat.

Judge Anime By Its Cover

Judge Anime by its Cover
Anime Boston 2013

You wouldn't judge a book by its cover, but anime is a whole different ball game. What if we reviewed anime SOLELY by their covers? Would these reviews be accurate? If so, why? Anime, moreso than other works in other media, seem "truer" to their marketing material, and it is our hypothesis that one truly can "review" anime to a great degree soley by their covers.

Mastering Game Mechanics

Mastering Game Mechanics

Presented at PAX East 2013 on Saturday in the Tabletop Theatre, our 21st PAX panel/lecture, in "Mastering Game Mechanics" we take you through a variety of "game mechanics" and consider their use and purpose.

Despite the staggeringly vast variety of games out there in the world, they draw primarily from a core set of basic mechanics. Many games which at first seem very different share fundamental design patterns, subgames, and strategies. What is a “draft,” and more importantly, what is its true function? Where to rondels come into play? What is the purpose of an arbitrary decision? What does “skill based movement” mean for a game? Are all auctions created equally?

Whether you are a player, maker, or even simply observer of games, understanding these core components will provide a surprising degree of insight into their nature. Join us in our 21st PAX panel to explore the nature, lexicon, design, and strategy of game mechanics, drawing from videogames, board games, even role playing games and sports.

Beyond Candyland - MAGFest 11

Beyond Candyland
MAGFest 11

When most people think of board games, they imagine Monopoly, LIFE, Candyland, Pop-o-Matic Trouble, or perhaps Risk: games primarily of luck. There are, however, board games of skill that you've likely never heard of. Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan may have appeared on the Xbox, but these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Moreso, despite playing a multitude of games, many people never really move beyond Candy Land. Sure, they're playing games that are (in theory) much more complex than Candy Land, but do they truly progress? Move up the ladder and explore the next level of gaming, game design, and play. These aren't the games you played as a child.

PAX Prime 2012 - On the Ethics of Mind Control

PAX Prime 2012: On the Ethics of Mind Control

At PAX Prime 2012, we presented three mini lectures as part of Short Subjects in Gaming on Friday in the Wolfman Theater.

"On the Ethics of Mind Control," the third and final of these, and discusses the possibly uncomfortable questions surrounding the ethical considerations of game design. Is it truly ethical to design a game to be addictive, or is "addictiveness" simply a sign of good design? Do games change us in more ways than we might realize? Is regulation on the horizon, a good idea, or even possible? How are games different from other media (or are they different at all)?

PAX Prime 2012 - A Competitive Test of Skill

PAX Prime 2012: A Competitive Test of Skill

At PAX Prime 2012, we presented three mini lectures as part of Short Subjects in Gaming on Friday in the Wolfman Theater.

"A Competitive Test of Skill," the second of these, is a treatment of one particular class of games: competitive games where "skill" determines the victor. But what is skill? How do we determine what "skill(s)" a game is actually testing? What does fairness mean, and can it be measured? This is a deep examination of versus games from a variety of perspectives.

The Penny Arcade Expo is a place where gamers of all stripes come together, and while the competitive ones do pay at least subconscious attention to the idea, most don't really consider what it means to play, and more importantly, to try to win, games. We've lectured on this at previous PAXes (How to Win at Games)!

For more GeekNights lectures, see our Convention Lecture Youtube Playlist!

Let's Play Money Making Game: PAX East 2012

Games can make their money many ways, but how do these models affect, intentionally or not, the design choices of the game makers themselves? What about the players? Do you play a game differently depending on how you paid for it? Free to play, pay once, subscription, or silly hats, what do these different models mean to games at their core? Only ten rupees; hopefully you won't have to pay the door repair charge.

We presented this first at PAX East 2012.

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