Reading Notes II Qiqi Zuo

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



1) Implicit Rules: The need to “block” your opponent in an attempt to ensure that he/she cannot connect four of their checkers in a row. It is not an official operational rule, but if you have an opportunity to block your opponent and you don’t then you may as well have just broken a rule because you have now lost the game. There is also the idea that you need to place your checkers accordingly, planning ahead and stacking such that you can connect four checkers and win. These rules are not stated in the instructions but as you are playing they become obviously clear and are necessary for effective play.

Once the piece being put at the intersection, it could never be moved.


2) Constitutive rule: try to stop the competitor from getting 5 pieces line up horizontally, vertically, or diagonally and get all your pieces line up


3) Operational rule: Players alternate in placing a stone of their color on an empty intersection. The winner is the first player to get an unbroken row of five stones horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.


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

Randomness can add more uncertainties to the result and trigger players to play more times. As one may not be the best strategist, the randomness helps slightly balance the game and adds uncertainties to it, which provides more chances to win or challenge your opponent. A good game should includes certain amount of randomness to balance the strength of players, but randomness should not go to far, or it will make the game boring.


  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)

Citadels, since every turn that players have to randomly switch a new character and draw architecture card from deck, therefore directs the game in a more interesting way. The player could either choose to get two coins or two cards and put one card back. Even a player has much experience in playing, he still could hardly control the game. Because he would never know what card he could draw and his property may be stolen by the other players, or his turn would be skipped as the result of assassinate action. So every move and decision the player makes, he takes risk.

  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. ( This question is not so easy


Negative feedback loop: During the time our group was playing, I found the king obviously took advantages in role selecting since he could always be the first player to choose the card, so this allows him to have more role choosing advantages than the others. Also, the architecture player has built in his city may help others to predict which character he wants to choose next turn in order to maximize his property.

Positive feedback loop: Whenever someone gains something in a game, it gets easier to make further gains. For instance, almost every role in Citadels has special power that he or she could gain property from the specific colored architecture. And throughout the game we were working to achieve that victory condition, in Citadels, which is to be the first one that finish building 7 architectures in one’s territory. Once the player builds more architecture, he gets more chance to collect money, there is an accumulation of property goes on.


  1. In your own words explain these concepts from the field of Game Theory:
    1. Saddle Point
    2. Prisoners Dilemma
    3. Zero Sum Game

Saddle point: Once the player finds the most efficient way which takes low risk but rewards huge, they would absolutely chose that way. At this point the game becomes meaningless since no choice should be made and there is no fun to make other tries. Game designer should avoid this “hack point” in order to keep the game fresh and playful.


Prisoners Dilemma: two individual players may make selfish choices based on their own benefits even though they know the cooperation may bring more interests. The “betray” action takes place often because players will always choose the most secure/safe way to play the game, to protect themselves instead of taking risks on others.


Zero Sum Game: there is no additional interest being produced during the game playing, so the winner wins what the loser loses, vice and versa. Like gambling, you win money from the loser, and if you lose, you pay your money as the winner’s rewards. During the process there is no additional money being created or added into the game.