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What is a game?

The pieces that make something a game.


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Mark Rosewater, head designer for Magic: The Gathering, defines a game as something that contains the following components:source

  • A goal(s): Players need motivation. Something to direct their actions.

  • Restrictions: A challenge(s) that keeps a player from simply completing the goal. Fun comes from figuring out how to overcome challenges.

  • Agency: A game needs to have decisions, and those decisions must matter. Allow the player to decide how they are going to play the game.

  • Lack of real-world relevance: A game is something that you opt into doing because you want the experience of playing it.