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Tabletop Game Design for Video Game Designers by Ethan Ham

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Chapter SevenGame Over

Introduction

When playing a game, the goal is to win, but it is the goal that is important, not the winning.

(Reiner Knizia in Woods 2012, 189)

The quote above says that an enjoyable game requires players who strive to win, but do not view winning as the sole reason to play. An opponent who plays by the rules, but does not pursue the prescribed goals ruins the game. This kind of aimless play can undermine a game’s dynamics to the point that they entirely disappear. Just as bad, however, is a player who is entirely fixated on winning. Someone who cannot find satisfaction in a well-played (but lost) game robs his opponents of their own enjoyment. This chapter focuses on how to design a game’s conclusion and the ways ...

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