I’m not talking about player vs player conflict. Sure, that’s at the core of a lot of games but not all – Snakes and Ladders, for example, has very little player vs player conflict. Lots of euros, like Power Grid or Goa, have little or no player vs player conflict.
And yet, they’re full of conflict.
See, the conflict I’m talking about isn’t the type where you bash your opponents over the head with clubs (or panzer divisions or spent flamethrower casings – yes Advanced Squad Leader, I’m looking at you). I’m talking about the emotional conflict that every good game is based on.
Note that I’m saying “good game” here and in doing so I’m making an assumption: that people play games in order to be challenged. (more…)