Aspects of Play: Battleship

As part of the module, the task was to look into the various types of games within the 3 specific bands of play. The band this game I shall be discussing ‘Battleship’ belongs to is Board Games.

When playing Battleship, I found that it belonged to the following categories of play in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Agon

In terms of Mimicry, the player doesn’t take control of a character but instead takes control of a fleet of Battleships, they then assign their location of the map and await for their opponent to do the same, the aim of the game then becomes to sink the opponents Battleships before they sink yours, the catch is that you do not visibly know where their Battleships are. Agon comes in the form of trying to beat your opponent in being the first to sink all opposing Battleships. Illinx doesn’t appear within the game because nothing is inherently disorientating the player. Alea doesn’t appear within this game either because of the fact that it’s simply player vs player, but it is arguable that the lack of visible insight on the enemies location that the guessing process of trying to see where the enemy is could be considered random by way of player decision.

In terms of the elements in this game that I liked, I really liked the aspect of not being able to visibly see your opponents Battleships, which made for great tactical and deductionary gameplay.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

No. The turn-based operating of the game and the fact that it was fairly easy to consecutively miss shots and have a 10 round spree on both sides where nobody hit anyone in regards to attempting to sink Battleships.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I would consider increasing the player base to have more then a 1v1 scenario to increase the stakes but also this gives a greater opportunity for an individuals Battleships to be hit with more players actively in the game.

Aspects of Play: Operation

As part of the module, the task was to look into the various types of games within the 3 specific bands of play. The band this game I shall be discussing ‘Operation’ belongs to is Board Games.

When playing Operation, I found that it belonged to the following categories of play in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Agon

In terms of Mimicry, the player doesn’t take control of a character but instead plays the role of a surgeon operating on a patient, removing certain parts of the body without touching the metal edges the correspond to the piece being lifted. Agon comes in the form of trying to beat your opponent in being the first to successfully take out all pieces before your opponent and to gain more points then them, although this game can be played in a single-player fashion, I’ll regard it in the overall sense of being competitive also. Illinx doesn’t appear within the game because nothing is inherently disorientating the player. Alea doesn’t appear within this game either because of the fact that it’s simply player vs the board, taking turns with an opponent of whom you’re in direct competition with.

In terms of the elements in this game that I liked, I really liked the failure aspect of hitting the metal side edges that house the pieces, because like B.F Skinner’s Operant Conditioning, it teaches the player to distinguish from bad behaviour and good behaviour to allow good behaviour to be more prevalent and for bad behaviour to be made aware of.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

Yes. The sheer amount of dedication and focus required for lifting certain tiny elements of the patients body was greatly enough of a challenge to warrant flow being induced.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I would instead of having one singular patient, have multiple patients that way the competitive aspect of it would be enforced by the players racing to operate successfully whilst maintaining level of competition and focus required for performing said task.

Aspects of Play: Kerplunk

As part of the module, the task was to look into the various types of games within the 3 specific bands of play. The band this game I shall be discussing ‘Kerplunk’ belongs to is Board Games.

When playing Kerplunk, I found that it belonged to the following categories of play in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Agon

In terms of Mimicry, the player doesn’t take control of a character but instead is tasked with removing sticks from within the game piece, with the task of collecting more sticks then marbles, the one with the most marbles at the end loses. Agon comes in the form of trying to beat your opponent by having less marbles and more sticks then them. Illinx doesn’t appear within the game because nothing is inherently disorientating the player. Alea doesn’t appear within this game either because of the fact that it’s simply player vs player with no random aspect of occurring, except for the marginal instances when the marbles may fall of their own accord of which could be perceived as random chance.

In terms of the elements in this game that I liked, I really liked the setup of play as it was more dictated on sheer luck that you didn’t remove a stick that was vital to the structure and less about player vs player.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

Yes. When it came to removing said sticks, the focus required to do so and not drop as many marbles was very high. I found myself entering a state of flow because of how nerve wrecking and highly intense it was to remove a stick and monitor the balance of the marbles.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I would replace the sticks with something more solid and tangeable because of the sheer fact that whoever goes first will have the clear advantage later on in the game as they won’t necessarily be the ones to drop all of the marbles.

Aspects of Play: Snakes and Ladders

As part of the module, the task was to look into the various types of games within the 3 specific bands of play. The band this game I shall be discussing ‘Snakes and Ladders’ belongs to is Board Games.

When playing Snakes and Ladders, I found that it belonged to the following categories of play in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Agon and Alea

In terms of Mimicry takes control of a counter that traverses dependant on a dice roll, through the level in order to reach the end. Agon comes in the form of competition were the player is pitted against another player and they have to race to the end, the stipulation that applies is if the player or opponent lands infront of a ladder they advance to the correlating space but if they land infront of a snake, they are transported back towards that section of the grid. Illinx doesn’t play a part in the game because of the lack of disorientation that comes in board games. Alea is simply the dice rolling that the players use to determine the amount of spaces to use.

In terms of the elements in this game that I liked, I really liked the balance of gameplay with the use of the snakes being determinantal to player progress, whereas the ladders would be more benefiting to progress.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

No. I found that it being a turn-based board game that was fairly short, it was particularly difficult to attain flow because the challenge wasn’t the player, it was working against the chance of the dice roll and that was particularly trivial.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I would implement upgrades or power-up cards that could allow the player to bypass being caught by a snake and enforcing a level of chance on a greater scale, by making those power-ups attainable only after a certain point in the game.

Aspects of Play: Guess Who?

As part of the module, the task was to look into the various types of games within the 3 specific bands of play. The band this game I shall be discussing ‘Guess Who’ belongs to is Board Games.

When playing Guess Who, I found that it belonged to the following categories of play in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Agon

In terms of Mimicry, the player doesn’t take control of a character but instead has a pre-selected face of a person that they must conceal, respond to their opponents questions of their character and remove people from their board accordingly to criteria such as “Does your character have blonde hair?” would have all blonde characters turned face down if not true and the deduction would be that your character isn’t blonde. Agon comes in the form of trying to beat your opponent in being the first to guess the others chosen character before hand. Illinx doesn’t appear within the game because nothing is inherently disorientating the player. Alea doesn’t appear within this game either because of the fact that it’s simply player vs player with no random aspect of occurring.

In terms of the elements in this game that I liked, I really liked the intuition aspect of the game in which you try to guess the opposing players character.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

No. Although a fairly short game, the competitive factor of it is particularly trivial in the regard of a challenge and the fact that you’re just guessing elements and characteristics of characters also on your board doesn’t really use my skill-level whatsoever, it’s simple guessing.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I would include more elements within the characteristics of the character that you’d have to deduce and include a penalty for an incorrect guess so that the player isn’t at an advantage or standstill if they guess incorrectly and are punished accordingly, like B.F Skinner Operant Conditioning of which he explains that rewarding good behaviour and punishing bad behaviour can lead to good behavioural patterns.

Aspects of Play: Cluedo

As part of the module, the task was to look into the various types of games within the 3 specific bands of play. The band this game I shall be discussing ‘Cluedo’ belongs to is Board Games.

When playing Cluedo, a murder-mystery board game of which players move around the board as one of 6 guests within the in-game house, attempting to deduce who killed Dr Black by collecting various pieces of evidence dotted around the map, fail in deducing that individual correctly and you’re out of the game, do it correctly and you win. I found that it belonged to the following categories of play in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Mimicry, Alea and Agon

In terms of Mimicry you play as one of the 6 characters available within the game and go around the board discovering clues and trying to decipher who killed Dr Black. Agon appears in the desire to win, the individual who is the murder is primarily exploring the map in the attempt to grab all evidence that would make others assume it was them and making others falsely accuse. Illinx doesn’t take form in this game, being that it’s a board game. Alea takes its form in navigation on how you move around the board, rolling the dice to see how far you can travel encompasses most of the random aspects of the game.

In terms of the elements in this game that I liked, I really liked the whole murder-mystery element to it and the fact that you have to purposefully look for substantial clues that would lead you to win.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

No. It’s a very interesting, immersive game that allows the player to be a pseudo Sherlock Holmes for half an hour, but the turn-based side of it made it fairly difficult to attain flow because of how long winded other players turns would be.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I would have a larger player base for the required amount of people to play, even though the games would be long winded and flow wouldn’t necessarily be achieved, the games would be far more interesting with more diverse larger pool of players all vying for crucial pieces of evidence to make the right accusation.

Aspects of Play: Frustration

As part of the module, the task was to look into the various types of games within the 3 specific bands of play. The band this game I shall be discussing ‘Frustration’ belongs to is Board Games.

When playing Frustration, I found that it belonged to the following categories of play in relation to Roger Caillois’ theory of play; Agon and Alea

In terms of Mimicry doesn’t necessarily have their actions mimicked by anything within the game, but the player does control a coloured set of counters that they have to transport around the game board in a turn-based scenario, of which the first player to get all of their counters to the end, wins the game. Agon is a functioning element within this game as the game requires at least two people to play with the preference set at four players because the game board is specifically designed for four people, the competitive aspect comes from wanting to be the first person on the board to win. Illinx doesn’t formulate within the game because a board game doesn’t have the necessitated need to disorientate the player for any specific effect. Alea comes from the dice roller in the middle of the board that offers a more fairer and easier solution to dice rolling in the sense that it is used by a simple press of it, the chance factor is the dice itself and the number it lands on to determine the amount spaces a player can move.

In terms of the elements in this game that I liked, I really liked the board design and how it can be fairly dynamic for when there is less then an optimal amount of people to play the game, because of the fact that each individuals distance around the board is equal to every other players distance, so there’s no difference for the lack of an extra player or two.

State of Flow, was it achieved?

No. Being a turn-based game, I didn’t see the challenge in it, seeing as the navigational element of the game was dictated solely on chance and I had no influence over.

If I were designing a game similar to this, I would implement either board-pickups or something that gives the player either a positive or a negative in terms of navigation to shift the balance of gameplay away from it being nothing more then a ‘click the dice button and move your counter’ simulator.