Productifying a Game, part 1

A set of wargame rules is software that uses the human mind, but it’s important to recognize that a wargame is also a product. When we talk about a game, we generally talk about its rules, its structure, how it’s made. But the rules of Monopoly don’t mention that inside the box is a little metal Scotty Dog that you like to use as your piece, or that there are annual worldwide Monopoly championships. They don’t include the relationship you may have built up with the game after playing it with your parents as a kid. The rules themselves don’t even cover the box art or bright paper money. And if you look deeply at the rules you’ll find that they have nothing ostensibly to do with real estate – if you ask another human being, though, Monopoly has everything to do with American culture.

All of these extras that contribute to the identity and fun of the game well outside of the rulebook are part of the productization of the game: The packaging, the design of components other than the rules, thematic elements, the cultural associations with a game, the history of its play, the metagame (ecosystem of strategies, tactics, and procedures) surrounding it, the delivery system (off the shelf, downloaded via an app store, handcrafted, taught on road trips, played at Grateful Dead concerts), and everything else that exists in the space between rules and users.

This entry was posted in Open Source Gaming. Bookmark the permalink.