Sunday, October 02, 2005

Taking Turns

When you and your friends or family eat at restraunt, do you take turns? Does each of you eat a certain amount of food, or a certain number of forkfulls, or for a certain number of seconds and then wait for each other person to do the same?

When your company's product is in competition with the products of other companies, does each company spend an equal amount on advertising, or have the same number of commercials? Does every product get equal materials or equal design time?

Real life doesn't have turns.

Is the concept of a "turn" the difference between a game and real life?

Turns are used as a system of fairness, they hold certain things constant. Most often these are things like resources and opportunity. Games do this to focus attention on decisions. Players can see very clearly what results come from the decisions they make. This structure also allows you to compare the results if you play a game multiple times but make different decisions.

Games are a test arena for strategy and decision making. Players can experiment inside a game with their own decision making process and learn without risking their real-life resources what impact their decision will have in various circumstances.

I wonder if the first person to invent the concept of a turn was a parent trying to get their children to play together without fighting so much...


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