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Game Rules

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The basics of game rules.

The basics of game rules.


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  • 1. Game Rules Rules define game objects and define allowable actions by the players
  • 2. Game Rules
    • Consider these questions:
      • How do players learn the rules?
      • How are the rules enforced?
      • What kinds of rules work best in certain situations?
      • Are there patterns to rule sets? What can we learn from these patterns?
  • 3. Game Rules
    • Rules are generally laid out in the rules document of board and card games. The players must remember and adjudicate the rules.
    • Rules in digital games may be explained in the manual, or they may be designed into the program. The program adjudicates the rules and prevents breaking the rules.
  • 4. Game Rules
    • Rules may close loopholes in a game’s system. Consider the game of Monopoly :
      • “ Do not pass go, do not collect $200”. This rule is applied when a player is sent to jail from any spot on the board.
      • The rule is important because a player could make the argument that moving past “Go” entitles him to collect $200, turning a punishment into a reward.
  • 5. Game Rules
    • Too many rules may make your game unplayable.
    • Too few rules may make your game so simple as to be unchallenging.
    • Poorly communicated rules may confuse or alienate players.
    • Even in digital games, where the rules are kept by the program, players need to clearly understand the rules so they do not feel cheated.
  • 6. Examples of Game Rules
    • Poker : A straight is five consecutively ranked cards; a straight flush is five consecutively ranked cards of the same suit.
    • Chess : A player cannot move her king into check.
    • Go : A player cannot make a move that recreates a previous situation on the board.
    • WarCraft II : In order to create knight units, a player must have upgraded to keep and build a stable.
    • You Don’t Know Jack : If a player answers a question incorrectly, the other players get a chance to answer.
  • 7. Rules Define Objects & Concepts
    • Games do not inherit objects from the real world; rather, they create their own objects and concepts, usually as part of the rule set.
    • Even if the objects or concepts are familiar, they still need to be defined by the rules.
    • Consider the Poker rule regarding the concept of a “Straight” or a Straight Flush”:
      • There is no “Straight” outside the realm of poker.
      • When you learn the rules of poker, one of the key concepts is to learn the make-up and values of certain hands.
  • 8. Poker Hands A STRAIGHT refers to five cards in numerical order (3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 7, 8, 9, 10, J, for example), with the cards belonging to various suits.
  • 9. Poker Hands FOUR OF A KIND refers to four cards of matching numerical value and one extra card
  • 10. Poker Hands A STRAIGHT FLUSH is a straight with all cards belonging to the same suit
  • 11. Poker Hands A ROYAL FLUSH contains the 10, jack, queen, king and ace of a single suit
  • 12.
    • Royal Flush
    • Straight Flush
    • Four of a Kind
    • Full House
    • Flush
    • Straight
    • Three of a Kind
    • Two Pair
    • Pair
    • High Card
    LOW HAND HIGH HAND
  • 13. Poker Hands
  • 14.
    • Chess uses objects that relate to the real world, but chess simply uses the notion of King, Queen, etc. to give context to the behavior and value of the pieces.
          • King
          • Queen
          • Rook
          • Bishop
          • Knight
          • Pawn
  • 15.
    • The game pieces of Monopoly do not have separate values or inherit unique powers.
    • The rule concerning these pieces is that they represent a single player and locate the player’s position on the game board.
    • Players often argue over who gets what piece, but in terms of gameplay rules, it doesn’t make any difference. That’s the rule as spelled out in Monopoly .
  • 16. Game Rules