Copyright by Brenda Brathwaite, Ian Schreiber

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Chapter 6. Elements of “Strategic” Skill

Strategy is a very powerful draw for players. In fact, it’s what keeps us coming back to games again and again. As Raph Koster notes in his excellent book A Theory of Fun for Game Design, we play games and enjoy the process because we are seeking to master the pattern in the game. While mastering a pattern, players are having fun. They are also forming strategy based on their understanding of the game’s dynamics. That mastery, that development of strategy, isn’t accidental. It’s something the designer intended (or at least hoped for) through the use of mechanics that create strategy and tactics.

As noted in the previous chapter, most games have at least a little bit of skill involved. Even games that seem ...

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