Reading Response #2

  1. Choose a simple game (not found in the reading) and describe its Constitutive Rules, Operational Rules, and (at least 3…) Implicit Rules.

Let’s look at “Go Fish” as an example of these three concepts. In “Go Fish” the operational rules go as follows: 2-6 players use a standard deck of cards, one of whom is a dealer that deals each player 5 cards at random. The player to the left of the dealer begins the game by asking a specific player for a specific rank of cards, i.e. “Josh do you have any 10s?”. If yes, then the asked must hand over all of his or her cards rank to that asker and the asker gets anoter. If not, the asker must draw a card at random from the deck and add to hand. The next turn goes to player who says “Go Fish”. The goal of the game is to have the most books of 4 cards of same rank. When a book is completed, it is turned face down onto the playing area. The game continues until there is no stock cards left or a player has no cards left in his or her hand.

The constitutive rules of “Go Fish” are the general structures of a standard 52 card deck: 4 suits (heart, diamond, spade, clover) and 13 ranks (2-10, Ace, Jack, Queen, King).


2. In your opinion what does the element of randomness contribute to making a game more compelling? (Please incorporate concepts from the reading in your answer.

A sense of mystery makes any situation, be it watching a movie or playing Clue, more compelling and exciting. This holds true for “Go Fish” as well, where players do not know whether the next card drawn will be benefit self or other player. In playing “Go Fish”, randomness is an important concept in the operational rules as it establishes a framework for competition and fairplay.



3. Describe examples (not found in the reading) of these key cybernetics concepts : a positive feedback loop and a negative feedback loop.

A positive feedback leads to an exponential growth, positive or negative, leading to a polarization across the spectrum. A candid example of this is dating. When a guy has a girlfriend, he gains the interest of the other girls. But once the guy becomes single and is ready to approach his suitors, their interest has wained away because he no longer has a girlfriend.

The implicit rules are the unsaid rules of conduct and fairplay, in “Go Fish” this includes no cheating, such as hiding a card; taking more cards from the stock than allowed; and good sportsmanship.

A negative feedback loop always seek a balance between the extremes, and in the case of games, to level the playing field. A prime example of this can be seen in the NFL draft where the worse a team is, the higher its pick will be in the NFL draft, and the higher likelihood it will have of drafting good players who will improve team performance.

4.  In your own words explain these terms from the field of Game Theory: Saddle Point, Prisoners Dilemma, Zero Sum Game

A Saddle Point is the perhaps one of the worst things that can occur in a game. It is a strategy that guarantees winning, regardless of any other factor in the game, including the other team’s strategy. A Saddle Point takes away any thinking and strategy-creation in a game. An example is in Mario Kart 64′s Koopa Troopa beach level where a hidden tunnel almost guarantees winning for any player that uses it. This tunnel, however, is not always used because players may not know about it or they are unable to make the jump inside the tunnel.




A Prisoners Dilemma is a situation that leads to a suboptimal outcome for two players, arising from the mutually-held fear that the other might double-cross. The irony, however, lies in the fact that both players would receive a more desired outcome if both would cooperate with each other. But as a result of not knowing how the other will act, there is an incentive to change your strategy, leading the other player to likewise change their strategy, which creates a suboptimal outcome for both.


A Zero-Sum game is a game that one player’s winning depends directly on another player’s losing, so that every point won correlates to a point lost. This fact lends itself to the term “Zero Sum” because the sum of the outcomes will always equal zero.—


This entry was posted in Reading Response 2. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.