ars ludi

if you asked Ben's brain about gaming, this is what it would say

Suppressing Useful Actions

The important thing in strategy is to suppress the enemy’s useful actions but allow his useless actions.

A Book of Five Rings (The Fire Book), Miyamoto Musashi

The diametric opposite of role-playing game design. Informatively so.

Game design acid test: if your rules block ideas the players want and you don’t have an excellent reason for it, you’ve got a design problem. Players will work around it, because players are smart and adaptive, but now they’re fighting your game. Design fail.

And then you say “But you wrote Microscope?!? It restricts player contributions all the time! And I had a great idea I couldn’t use!” And I say yes, it gives huge creative power to different people at different times for very specific and fruitful reasons. Your restriction is another player’s field day.


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