Tabletop games and the thousand-year game design challenge

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Daniel Solis (@danielsolis), an art director by day and game designer by night, describes what sets ancient games apart from the ones sold in today's market. Beyond big boxes, colorful pieces, and lots of noise, ancient games employ three main criteria: access, elegance, and fun. Access—across language and geographic barriers. Elegance—applying a few rules that are easily understood but take a long time to master. And fun—we all know about that.

Solis tells us that while Chess is only 800 years old, older games like those from ancient Babylon are unplayable by us today: we simply don't know the rules! Interested by this, Solis started a challenge for anyone to create a game today that might still be played 1000 years from now. He asked contestants to use what he identifies as the base characteristics of long-lasting games: access, elegance, and fun.

The winner, James Ernest with Take Back Toe, went a step further: he licensed his game under Creative Commons, reminding players that long-lasting games encourage free sharing and collaborative learning.

Lightning talk video

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1212_OSDC_CreativeCommons10_LightningTalks_Daniel_Solis_720.mp449.48 MB
1212_OSDC_CreativeCommons10_LightningTalks_Daniel_Solis_720.ogg33.51 MB
Daniel-Solis_Tabletop-games_cc10.pdf9.52 MB
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Creative Commons License

3 Comments

gotwig's picture
Community Member

Thank you

Hey,

I actually like your ideas about open (source) games :D

I am looking forward to WebGL and the modern WWW, to bring the spirit of openness to players and developers alike.

I study Game Design for Computers, and I am actually right now working on a System called GMS (launchpad.net/gms) ... its still mainly a draft: I think about it as a system for developers to develop games right in the browser, with WebGL and modern HTML5 features. What I dislike about all that WebGL trend that's coming, is that in the end mostly these open standards get used for closed commercial services (turbulenz, playcanvas, etc.) ... I/We try to stop that, and look forward to sharing, without barriers, even for closed source game developers, but we dont want to offer any support for these closed economic systems. We do it as a hobby, and still have to figure stuff ^^

For me, maybe the WWW/Internet helps to bring opensource forward, because it is open by nature ( at least when it does not run serverside ;) )

Thank you for your short presentation. I see that there is a desire =)

Chris Sakkas's picture

More free/libre/open games

Daniel Solis ends his presentation with links to some CC licensed board games, RPGs and card games. If you're interested in a longer list, there's the FOSsil Bank:
http://fossilbank.wikidot.com/category:tabletop-game

Dread Knight's picture

AncientBeast.com

Great article. I'm developing one of those replayable games that's easy to learn, fun to play, strategic and that can take a lifetime to master.
It's meant to become the chess of the future, as it's free, open source, browser based, playable on pretty much any device, for free.
It's called Ancient Beast; it would be really great to get more exposure for it and hopefully more contributors ^^ www.AncientBeast.com - keep in mind version 0.1 was released a month ago, so while the game is somewhat playable, it's limited, buggy and imbalanced atm, so keep an open mind.

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