Aug 2, 2012

Badminton and Rules Writing.

A huge scandal has exploded! Badminton players have been expelled from the competition at the 2012 London Olympics for throwing games. David Sirlin, game designer, raises an interesting point, that I agree with: Don't blame the player if your rules are broken. You can read his take on the matter here.

I, totally, agree with Sirlin on this one. Sure, one might see the conduct as unsportsmanlike, but at he end of the day, these athletes play to win, and if losing a game on purpose guarantees easier matches in the final bracket, then that's playing to win.

I think the same can be said about writing rules for any game. I mean, the tournament, in this case, essentially constitutes a higher level game in which all the teams are participating. As a game, it has its own rules and, like any other game, these rules will determine the behaviour of its players. As a game designer, when I see a player playing one of my games in a way I didn't expect, or that goes against my vision for how the game should be played, I don't scald the player for it, I assess the effect on the game and think of ways to adapt the rule set to either accommodate the behaviour or stamp it out. Bottom line is that you can't fault a player for playing to win within the rules of the game.

Image from Langara College website.

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