Reading Note 2

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


Operational Rules

  • Create a grid of dots (usually 10 dots by 10 dots)
  • On each turn connect two adjacent horizontal or vertical dots with a line
  • Alternate turns among players
  • If you make the connecting line that closes a 2 by 2 square of dots, you get a point for that box, and you also get an extra turn
  • When the grid is completely filled with connected lines count up the boxes to see who got the most
  • The highest score, the player with the most boxes, wins

Constituative Rules

  • Do not make the third line on a 2 by 2 dot grid; doing so would leave the fourth line open for your opponent to make and win the square as their own
  • Do try and trap your opponent into making the third line by keeping account of the amount of squares being made in the game
  • Do try and create a grid of adjacent squares in order to keep using your extra turn to make more squares especially on the outer edges of the total grid

Implicit Rules

  • Do not take back moves
  • Do not make extra moves
  • Do not fake making a line on an already existing line while your opponent is not looking
  • Do not hide where you made the line on your turn


  1. In your opinion what does the element of randomness contribute to making a game more compelling?

I agree with the text that the element of randomness can move a game in one direction or another. Often times when a game has too much randomness, players feel helpless to their circumstance (i.e. the cards they have) and can thus lose interest in the game because they can do nothing to change their circumstance. Too much randomness can also cause the game to lose structure and become haphazard. However, the element of randomness, when used sparingly, can increase the risk in a game and allow players with different levels of experience to play on an even (or technically uneven) playing field. Even a player with years of experience cannot use that experience to cancel the effects of randomness. They can mitigate the effects using their experience to make smarter decisions to counter the randomness, but they cannot escape it altogether. Thus, I believe randomness makes the game more compelling by increasing uncertainty.


  1. Pick one of the games we played in class that involves randomness and describe how you feel personally about the role randomness plays in the game experience?  (BackgammonCitadelsCatan, or other)  (Please incorporate concepts from the reading in your answer)

I felt the effects of randomness most while playing Citadels. On a particular round, I was assassinated. On the next round, I was stolen from. The round after that, my only district was destroyed. The following round was the last round of the game, during which I was left with no resources whatsoever. While the decisions to assassinate, steal from, and destroy my property were based in logic, the fact that I was the one with all the characters chosen was entirely random. Although it was obviously unpleasant to lose the game because of random factors, it was still amusing to see the occurrence of that possibility, the possibility that randomness could cause a player to lose every resource that player had, also the worst-case scenario in the game. Because the game is entirely based in decisions balancing risk versus reward, the unpredictable combinations of events that occur in each round that may cause an equally unpredictable and significant risk or reward create the main source of entertainment in the game. Thus, the possibility of the worst-case scenario occurring is a crucial part of the game’s fun.


  1. Describe examples (from any of the games we have played in class or another game you have played) of these key cybernetics concepts: a positive feedback loop and a negative feedback loop.


Snake: every time the snake eats a reward it gets exponentially bigger to a point of indefinite expansion until the entire screen is filled.


Flappy Bird: the goal-oriented game’s purpose is for players to consistently keep the bird in the air by pressing on the screen; players are always oscillating the ideal equilibrium of staying in the air by going higher or lower than that equilibrium without hitting obstacles


  1. In your own words explain these concepts from the field of Game Theory:
    1. Saddle Point

When two players make choices that lead to the same decision which provides the most optimal result for them both

  1. Prisoners Dilemma

When faced with a choice to make an active decision against the opposing party for a higher reward for yourself/a higher punishment for the opposing party, and a passive decision for an equal but lesser punishment for both, the best option is to make the passive decision in order to receive the lesser punishment with the assumption of logic that the opposing party would also make the same decision because the active decision would be a more detrimental punishment for both sides.

  1. Zero Sum Game

A situation in which a loss for one player is a gain for another player.