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<  Non-computer games  ~  Train: The The Path of tabletop games?

Le Lapin
Posted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:01 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 01 Apr 2008 Posts: 22 Location: West Yorkshire
Finding myself stuck on an Art course while increasingly finding games to be generally more adept at achieving the realisations that Art is expected to inspire, I toyed with whether to try developing one of my seeds of a game-concept (probably the Qur'ān-inspired one of humans and jinnī existing on different spaces of the same board and affecting the possible movements of each other, this being the most prestigiously "classical" of them) as a game, as one that would be fun and interesting enough in strategic possibilities to have replay value, or as something that could be played in an art gallery, thus requiring it be optimised instead for inspiring such realisations within at most a few minutes of play.

I hadn't known of anyone else presenting a non-computer game as gallery art before but I had no doubt that someone, somewhere in the wide world of Art had done this before and I've only just today, through Boardgame News of all sources, happened upon a few examples: particularly of note here are Brenda Brathwaite's Middle Passage and Train for how eerily similar the reactions to them from the tabletop games community are to those of the computer games community to Tale of Tales' (not)games, though this editorial and James Taylor's The Gentlemen of South Sandwiche Island are also of note.

If it should aid in any way, I decided after some thought some months ago that the definition of a game is that it is "A matrix [a structure to facilitate the development of] for play," while a toy is "An instrument [whether physical or intangible] for play." A game's rules, by those definitions, are the game while its components are toys. But it is a definition that includes both something as definite and abstract as draughts and, at the other end, something as free and thematic as "house"/"mums and dads."

One last thing I'd like to mention is a couple of examples of the kind of indie RPGs that one of the comments at Boardgame News mentions in the form of The Shab-al-Hiri Roach and others by Bully Pulpit Games and Malcontent Games' Seven Leagues (though James Wallis' The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen perhaps comes closest to The Gentlemen and excels it if one can find it in the hardback "Gentleman's Edition").
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Michael
Posted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:08 am Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
I wouldn't compare The Path with Train at all. But I do know that Brenda Brathwaite and we really adore each other's work. Smile
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Le Lapin
Posted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:37 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 01 Apr 2008 Posts: 22 Location: West Yorkshire
I was thinking more in terms of the fan community's arguments for and against them more than how the games themselves work, which you might not have been as familiar with.
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Michael
Posted: Sat Apr 03, 2010 10:22 am Reply with quote
Site Administrator Joined: 07 Jun 2002 Posts: 8065 Location: Gent, Belgium
I'm not familiar with the board game community, or even with any discussions surrounding Train. But we did play Train when it was shown in the same gallery as Vanitas at the Art History of Games.

A big difference between our approach to design and Miss Barthwaite's is that she really tries to express a certain situation in a set of rules. And those rules are something you struggle with, even against, as a player. And that's where her work becomes moving, almost at the moment where it breaks as a game, where you just don't want to play anymore.

At Tale of Tales, we replace game rules by another way of "massaging the medium". We design a tool that the user needs to use in order to get to an intellectual/emotional experience. Our games are your partners, your friends. You want to work with them. You don't want to break them.

Emotionally, however, our creation processes have a lot in common. We both work towards something that feels right. It's quite intuitive. And every element in the design is subject to that. There is no rule or custom or tradition that cannot be broken if that gets us closer to our artistic purpose. And sometimes the result may seem absurd on the surface. But it never is underneath.
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