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Feature: Game Design Essentials - 20 Real-World Games

In Gamasutra's latest feature, John William Harris examines 20 different real-world board, card and puzzle games -- from crosswords to Call of Cthulhu to chess and bey
In Gamasutra's latest feature, John William Harris examines 20 different real-world games -- from crosswords to Call of Cthulhu to chess and beyond -- to offer up important design lessons. Video games have been but a small part of the long history of human game playing -- and there is still interesting work being done in the design of traditional games. John William Harris resurrects his long-running Game Design Essentials series to take a look at 20 off-line card, board, role-playing games and puzzles, to discover the interesting secrets behind them. In addition to explaining the rules of the games, Harris analyzes the way they play -- for example, popular German board game The Settlers of Catan: "Settlers of Catan is a strategy game, but perhaps paradoxically it relies upon randomness... Higher-level play not only attempts to maximize the resources earned, but to claim many different numbers so as to provide a consistent income." He also offers thought-provoking observations like this, about traditional Japanese board game, Go: "Go is infamously difficult for computer programs to play well. While chess software has won against grandmasters, the best Go programs are routinely beaten by intermediate human players." For much, much more, you can read the full feature, Game Design Essentials: 20 Real-World Games, live now on Gamasutra.

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