Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Gaming Culture

I taught Tal how to play Cribbage. Included in teaching the game of Cribbage is teaching the culture of Cribbage.

Games coexist within a game culture. This is obvious for single games, such as Bridge, Chess, and Go.

The number of special terms used within the game of Go could fill a dictionary. And along with that comes the game styles, board and piece construction, polite methods of play, and even polite and impolite moves.

Bridge has its directors, under and over the line scoring, methods of how to deal with mistakes and infractions.

And so on.

Cribbage is a simple card game, but it has its own cultural style. There's the way you deal, who cuts or taps the card, how you "call" certain points ("two points for his heels", "fifteen-two", "fifteen-four", ...) The culture evokes a certain degree of class and style from the game's origins. Or, you could say, the game's origins have infused the game with culture and style.

It's not enough to say that a game has "theme" and "mechanics" (or "rules"). The game culture plays its part, too. You discard a game's culture at the peril of turning a treasured game into a boring exercise in card shuffling or dice rolling. A game without culture is like a dry analysis of a joke.

Anyway, it was hard enough to teach a thirteen year old Avril-wannabee the convoluted rules of Cribbage, let alone try to get her to count cumulative total played, count in the correct style, and so on. By the end of the game we were making some headway.

I won to her 108 points, which was fairly close; only, this being her first game, she thought it was a large loss on her part. We will have to play again. I'll make a Brit out of her, yet.

This month's Vision magazine has a short quote from me from a follow up interview to my Web 3.0 article. It's all in Italian, however (I spoke in English, it was translated to Italian ... hopefully not using Google translate).

Wiggity Bang Games has created a MySpace page to stay in touch with their Quelf board game customers. Neat. (via eMediaWire)


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