Creative Commons license applied to contest-winning game, exemplifies lasting criteria

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.

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About the author

Daniel Solis - Art director by day. Game designer by night.