Thursday, May 19, 2011

You tell me: game design as art....

On Monday night at our local games night, I got to play the wildly overproduced Days of Wonder game Colosseum.  And overall I enjoyed it although it dragged on for more than two hours.  But I couldn't help feeling that there were just too many details, too many pieces, and too many options - I felt that it could have been pared down.  I had that nagging feeling that I'd rather just be playing The Princes of Florence, which this game seemed to be based upon.  Not surprisingly, I then noticed that Colosseum, like Princes, is a Wolfgang Kramer collaboration and it kinda made sense that this felt like a remake.

But there is something far more elegant and tightly woven about the mechanics in Princes compared to Colosseum.  In Princes, one spends 7 rounds (2 more than Colosseum) trying to build beautiful works of art but the choices are simpler and quicker yet much tougher and the player interaction, although subtler, affects play more.

Princes remains one of my favourite games, despite rarely being played now, and it has always struck me as the pinnacle of design, a true work of art in a similar sense that a mathematician might consider a gorgeous proof.  

What designs do you consider elegant, artful, masterful?  Why?

1 comment:

  1. I like the pristine symmetry that comes in a good roll-the-dice, count-the-squares, pay-the banker, Parker Brothers' game...