Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
36 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

Abstract Games» Forums » General

Subject: Clarity rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Richard Moxham
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb

Clarity (noun): In a pure-skill boardgame, a measure of the ease with which (at levels appropriate to players of all abilities) that game conduces to:

(i) the making of purposeful moves;
(ii) reasonable judgement as to the comparative merit of available
options;
(iii) evaluation of overall position.

Discuss.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pablo Schulman
Brazil
Belo Horizonte
Minas Gerais
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
All of the available choices.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Moxham
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb
PSchulman wrote:
All of the available choices.

Hi Pablo. Just a bit uncertain of your meaning here. Are you proposing a replacement for the phrase "available options"?

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
christian freeling
Netherlands
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
mocko wrote:

Clarity (noun): In a pure-skill boardgame, a measure of the ease with which (at levels appropriate to players of all abilities) that game conduces to:

(i) the making of purposeful moves;
(ii) reasonable judgement as to the comparative merit of available
options;
(iii) evaluation of overall position.

Discuss.

One of the better definitions I've seen. But discussions about clarity sometimes lack the very subject so I'm inclined to pass on that one.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Moxham
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb
christianF wrote:
mocko wrote:

Clarity (noun): In a pure-skill boardgame, a measure of the ease with which (at levels appropriate to players of all abilities) that game conduces to:

(i) the making of purposeful moves;
(ii) reasonable judgement as to the comparative merit of available
options;
(iii) evaluation of overall position.

Discuss.

One of the better definitions I've seen. But discussions about clarity sometimes lack the very subject so I'm inclined to pass on that one.

A pity, though, because a helpful working definition would be very valuable for future discussion. The point is that the clarity which you refer to as often lacking in such conversations (and naturally I agree about that) isn't the same clarity as the one I'm attempting (or, more exactly, launching an attempt) to define.

What seems to be a matter of regular misunderstanding in 'definition threads' here is that very few of these terms actually have definitions at all in a gaming context. Or at least, they don't yet. The nearest to accepted orthodoxy are probably Thompson's - but even then only for the flimsy reasons that (a) as Nick has commented, he looks and sounds authoritative, and (b) he had the sense to publish them in a formal essay which people are more or less obliged to digest as a reasoned entity, rather than as a contribution to a discussion forum, which they would simply have picked at piecemeal. There are, as it happens, more useful things for clarity to mean than he proposes, but they wouldn't fit so well into his yin-yang pairings, and as a result seductive neatness, as so often, tends to carry the day.

Anyway, as I say, the word clarity, just like the word depth and many others, is at this point still a tabula rasa. People already use it, of course, and different users mean different things by it, but that's not to say that the issue is 'purely subjective' and therefore fruitless to pursue. What we should be doing is looking for the meaning which most enables us to make progress in the understanding of these games. Or (to stand that on its head) seeking to identify the important quality and then agreeing to use the label to pin it down. For example, there would be nothing incoherent in someone saying that they see clarity as the ease with which a rule-set can be understood and assimilated. Nothing incoherent, but if we were to agree to let clarity be that for future purposes we would be wasting an opportunity, because there are other potential meanings (and I submit that mine, offered above, is at least the basis for one of them) which would better advance the cause.

To sum up, then, you look for the property or properties - consistent with the everyday meaning of clarity, obviously - which contribute most profoundly to the quality of an abstract strategy game, and you attach your word there. It's not an easy task, but it is approachable.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeromie Rand
United States
Littleton
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mocko wrote:

Clarity (noun): In a pure-skill boardgame, a measure of the ease with which (at levels appropriate to players of all abilities) that game conduces to:

(i) the making of purposeful moves;
(ii) reasonable judgement as to the comparative merit of available
options;
(iii) evaluation of overall position.

Discuss.


The thing I don't like about this definition is that too much hangs on the skill level of the players. Clarity feels like it should be a property of the game itself, not an emergent property of the game/player interaction. What you're describing sounds more like calculability than clarity, and I think the hint that is the case is found in the parenthetical caveat.

I would describe clarity as a measure of how effectively the game conveys all of the information necessary to make meaningful decisions. Thus, clarity is more about information presentation than the scope of the decision space.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joel Fox
Canada
Vancouver
BC
flag msg tools
Avatar
mb
Is it better to have clarity be a function of skill level, or an integral over skill levels? People usually don't specify a level when using the word, implying the latter definition.

Your definition is pretty good, on first impression.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Moxham
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb
jeromier wrote:
mocko wrote:

Clarity (noun): In a pure-skill boardgame, a measure of the ease with which (at levels appropriate to players of all abilities) that game conduces to:

(i) the making of purposeful moves;
(ii) reasonable judgement as to the comparative merit of available
options;
(iii) evaluation of overall position.

Discuss.


The thing I don't like about this definition is that too much hangs on the skill level of the players. Clarity feels like it should be a property of the game itself, not an emergent property of the game/player interaction. What you're describing sounds more like calculability than clarity, and I think the hint that is the case is found in the parenthetical caveat.

I would describe clarity as a measure of how effectively the game conveys all of the information necessary to make meaningful decisions. Thus, clarity is more about information presentation than the scope of the decision space.

Well, okay then. Let's go about this steadily. Tell us what you mean by a game's conveying of information and we'll take it from there.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
christian freeling
Netherlands
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb

It would be useful to agree on a definition and I'll admit that yours (?)
Quote:
a measure of the ease with which (at levels appropriate to players of all abilities) a game conduces to:

(i) the making of purposeful moves;
(ii) a reasonable judgement as to the comparative merit of available
options;
(iii) evaluation of overall position.

is a very good starting point. However, I fear that 'the measure of ease' may cause some confusion, because some games that have a fair amount of clarity (at levels appropriate to players of all abilities) are far from easy. That may not be entirely to the point, but it may be a point of possible misunderstanding.

And I would say "a quick evaluation of an overall position". That's what de Groot showed in his experiments. Chess masters would evaluate a position in seconds but would be unable to reproduce a random position of chess pieces. So clarity is clearly linked to 'experience' but a game must be able to provide it.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Moxham
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb
christianF wrote:

It would be useful to agree on a definition and I'll admit that yours (?)
Quote:
a measure of the ease with which (at levels appropriate to players of all abilities) a game conduces to:

(i) the making of purposeful moves;
(ii) a reasonable judgement as to the comparative merit of available
options;
(iii) evaluation of overall position.

is a very good starting point. However, I fear that 'the measure of ease' may cause some confusion, because some games that have a fair amount of clarity (at levels appropriate to players of all abilities) are far from easy. That may not be entirely to the point, but it may be a point of possible misunderstanding.

And I would say "a quick evaluation of an overall position". That's what de Groot showed in his experiments. Chess masters would evaluate a position in seconds but would be unable to reproduce a random position of chess pieces. So clarity is clearly linked to 'experience' but a game must be able to provide it.

Right. Thanks, Christian. I'm taking all these on board until it seems we have enough to warrant/necessitate a first rephrasing.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
jeromier wrote:
The thing I don't like about this definition is that too much hangs on the skill level of the players. Clarity feels like it should be a property of the game itself, not an emergent property of the game/player interaction.

I'd like that ideal, but to me it seems like in reality "clarity" (and many similar fuzzy terms, e.g. "drama" and "decisiveness") are surely bound to be subjective judgments by individual players. Then any resulting objectivity about them is empirical and demographic, a result of large numbers of players agreeing that "Game X has high clarity" and "Game Y has low clarity, it is very opaque"...

Quote:
I would describe clarity as a measure of how effectively the game conveys all of the information necessary to make meaningful decisions. Thus, clarity is more about information presentation than the scope of the decision space.

"Information presentation" seems to me not at all "a property of the game itself", but a property of the graphic design and other such presentation choices made in a particular physical manifestation of the game.

E.g. in my experience Shogi with kanji characters has significantly less "clarity" (in the sense of effectively conveying information) for (non-kanji-literate) new players than Shogi with newbie-friendly pieces with little arrow diagrams on them, or with pieces using Hidetchi's Western Chess-inspired graphic design, even though they are all the same game, i.e. Shogi.




Another example:
Tic-Tac-Toe in its usual 3x3 board with noughts and crosses presentation very clearly conveys the information needed to play.



In contrast, the following presentation:
Take the Ace through the nine of Spades (or another suit) & lay them face up on the table.

Players take turns picking a card.

The winner is the first to have a set of three cards totaling 15. 6 & 9 are not considered a winning holding, being a pair of cards rather than a triplet.

seems less effective at conveying the information necessary to make meaningful decisions, even though it is the same game, i.e. Tic-Tac-Toe.


I.e. I don't like a definition that hangs too much on the surface graphical/etc presentation of the game, instead of the "real" underlying structure of the game itself.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Moxham
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb
russ wrote:
"Information presentation" seems to me not at all "a property of the game itself", but a property of the graphic design and other such presentation choices made in a particular physical manifestation of the game.

This was my first reaction, too, and is why I asked Jeromie to clarify what he meant. And by the way, Jeromie, if you're reading this, I noticed that you used two different verbs ("convey" and "present") at different points in your post, seemingly as if you intended them as interchangeable. Could you perhaps clarify that also?


 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Moxham
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb

By the way, Russ, your alternative casting of Tic-Tac-Toe is very neat.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Martin Grider
United States
Minneapolis
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:
Another example:
Tic-Tac-Toe in its usual 3x3 board with noughts and crosses presentation very clearly conveys the information needed to play.

In contrast, the following presentation:
Take the Ace through the nine of Spades (or another suit) & lay them face up on the table.

Players take turns picking a card.

The winner is the first to have a set of three cards totaling 15. 6 & 9 are not considered a winning holding, being a pair of cards rather than a triplet.

seems less effective at conveying the information necessary to make meaningful decisions, even though it is the same game, i.e. Tic-Tac-Toe.


I agree that's "neat" (super interesting!), but I completely disagree that the described game is itself tic tac toe. Literally everything about it is different! From the mechanics to the presentation, to yes the goal, where one is spatial and the other is numeric. Only the number of choices is consistent, and perhaps the volume of problem space.

For my two cents, I think you can talk about a game's design outside of its presentation, but you can't talk about the game as a whole outside of its presentation. So maybe the term you want to define is "design clarity"? My completely off-the-cuff definition of a game's clarity would be more like that of Jeromie's. It would relate more to the UX or Usability of the game than the game's design. Note that this is not to be confused with the "graphic design" of the game. These are very specialized positions in software development, but ones that are often filled by the same individual.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
grid wrote:
I agree that's "neat" (super interesting!), but I completely disagree that the described game is itself tic tac toe. Literally everything about it is different! From the mechanics to the presentation, to yes the goal, where one is spatial and the other is numeric. Only the number of choices is consistent, and perhaps the volume of problem space.

Uh-oh, if we can't even get consensus on what a game is and whether two games are the same or not, then I'm not very optimistic about defining "clarity" in games.

If we don't want to derail down that rabbit hole, focus on the Shogi example, which I hope is less controversially 3 versions of the same game, i.e. Shogi.

...

If we do want to derail down that rabbit hole , would you say that Connect Four is a 1-dimensional stacking game or a 2-dimensional pure placement game with some restrictions concerning on which empty cells you can place your disks?

The two ways of viewing it seem significantly different (vertical stacks of pieces in a line, or non-stacking disks lying horizontally on a 2-dimensional grid). Out of context, you might say "a 1-dimensional game obviously can't be the same as a 2-dimensional game" and "a stacking game can't be the same as game with no-stacking", yet in this case, they both seem to clearly recognizably characterize the same game, Connect Four. At what point does a game description become sufficently "different" that it's no longer the same game, even though it's isomorphic to the original game?

Somewhat differently, the various rulesets for Go (Japanese, Chinese, US, Tromp-Taylor, Ing, etc) are NOT isomorphic -- logically they clearly describe different games, since there are various situations which are resolved differently in the different rulesets -- yet we typically consider them all to be defining the "same" game, Go! Weird.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pablo Schulman
Brazil
Belo Horizonte
Minas Gerais
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mocko wrote:

Clarity (noun): In a pure-skill boardgame, a measure of the ease with which (at levels appropriate to players of all abilities) that game conduces to:

(i) the making of purposeful moves;
(ii) reasonable judgement as to the comparative merit of available
options;
(iii) evaluation of overall position.

Discuss.


Richard, I thought the discussion was which of the three mentioned options was the correct definition for clarity. So, my mistake. Either way, I agree wholeheartly with the definition presented here.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeromie Rand
United States
Littleton
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Russ, I actually had your Tic-Tac-Toe example in mind when I made my post. (I was in a hurry and couldn't find the alternate version in a quick search or I would have posted it myself.) I agree that they are essentially the same game (or at least have an identical decision space), but the traditional version presents the game with significantly more clarity. But then again, that may be because of my familiarity with traditional Tic-Tac-Toe; perhaps I am again going back to the game/player interaction.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeromie Rand
United States
Littleton
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mocko wrote:
russ wrote:
"Information presentation" seems to me not at all "a property of the game itself", but a property of the graphic design and other such presentation choices made in a particular physical manifestation of the game.

This was my first reaction, too, and is why I asked Jeromie to clarify what he meant. And by the way, Jeromie, if you're reading this, I noticed that you used two different verbs ("convey" and "present") at different points in your post, seemingly as if you intended them as interchangeable. Could you perhaps clarify that also?




Yes, I essentially meant "information presentation" as the noun form of a game "conveying information."

Before I try to make my proposed definition more exact, may I ask a few clarifying questions of my own?

Has this term come up in other discussions? I'd love to see the history of how it's been used instead of trying to come up with a definition in a vacuum. I'm describing what the word conveys to me based on my understanding of English, but I also understand that all fields have their jargon that can have non-obvious meanings.

Do you see clarity as a desirable, neutral, or negative property of a game? In your proposed definition, how would it relate to calculability?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
jeromier wrote:
Has this term come up in other discussions? I'd love to see the history of how it's been used instead of trying to come up with a definition in a vacuum. I'm describing what the word conveys to me based on my understanding of English, but I also understand that all fields have their jargon that can have non-obvious meanings.

AFAIK "clarity" became jargon-esque in this context thanks to the article "Defining the Abstract" by J. Mark Thompson in 2000:
Clarity

But in addition to depth a good game must have clarity. Clarity means that an ordinary human being, without devoting his career to it, can form a judgment about what is the best move in a given situation. For example, if a player has a move that will win the game immediately, it should not ordinarily be difficult to find it. Although Chess problems have been devised where a winning move is hard to find, this is usually done by finding a position that misdirects the player's instincts. In a game that lacks clarity, the player simply has no instincts. Even in the midgame there should be some rules-of-thumb which will usually lead a player to a better position. Robert Abbott, the inventor of the chess variant Ultima, has lost interest in his creation because he feels it is "opaque." Though Ultima has many defenders, anyone who tries to invent a new and original game will find clarity an important issue. The difficulty, with a newly-invented game, is to discern whether a game is "invincibly opaque," or whether with sufficient experience its rules of strategy would begin to clarify.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Moxham
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb
PSchulman wrote:
mocko wrote:

Clarity (noun): In a pure-skill boardgame, a measure of the ease with which (at levels appropriate to players of all abilities) that game conduces to:

(i) the making of purposeful moves;
(ii) reasonable judgement as to the comparative merit of available
options;
(iii) evaluation of overall position.

Discuss.


Richard, I thought the discussion was which of the three mentioned options was the correct definition for clarity. So, my mistake. Either way, I agree wholeheartly with the definition presented here.

No prob, old chap. Glad to have that cleared up, though

At a tangent, I often think long and hard about whether to use (i) (ii) (iii) or (a) (b) (c). To me, the latter always feels as if it suggests alternatives, while the former implies conjoined conditions. But I'm far from confident that that's a universal reading.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
mocko wrote:
At a tangent, I often think long and hard about whether to use (i) (ii) (iii) or (a) (b) (c). To me, the latter always feels as if it suggests alternatives, while the former implies conjoined conditions. But I'm far from confident that that's a universal reading.

FWIW I don't make that distinction; to me, (i) (ii) or (a) (b) or other such numbering/lettering is often used only to distinguish levels of nesting, e.g.

(1) Germany
(a) Berlin
(i) West Berlin
(ii) East Berlin
(b) Essen
(c) Dresden
(2) Poland
(a) Warsaw
(b) Cracow
(3) England
(a) London
(i) North of Thames
(ii) South of Thames
(b) Liverpool

and such like...

I sometimes resort to inserting "and" or "or" as appropriate to make such lists more explicit if it seems otherwise unclear. Banal examples:

You may have
(1) Coffee
or
(2) Tea
or
(3) Vodka

I like
(1) abstract games
and
(2) wargames
and
(3) euros
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
christian freeling
Netherlands
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
russ wrote:
jeromier wrote:
The thing I don't like about this definition is that too much hangs on the skill level of the players. Clarity feels like it should be a property of the game itself, not an emergent property of the game/player interaction.

I'd like that ideal, but to me it seems like in reality "clarity" (and many similar fuzzy terms, e.g. "drama" and "decisiveness") are surely bound to be subjective judgments by individual players. Then any resulting objectivity about them is empirical and demographic, a result of large numbers of players agreeing that "Game X has high clarity" and "Game Y has low clarity, it is very opaque"...

There's a subjective side to clarity and opacity (which both are basically a qualification of degree of the same thing). There are games that are clear to everybody, like Tic Tac Toe. There are games that are clear to nobody, like 19x19 Othello. Then ther are games that are clear to some players but not to others. This may be a matter of familiarity or study, but it may also be a matter of idiosyncrasy. In terms of clarity I prefer homogeneous games, Nick dislikes multi move games, Mark abhors draws, Luis often sees things that others don't. Different people, different qualities, different preferences.

However, 'decisiveness' is not at all subjective. That's why it's probably easier to define.

P.S. I remember Leo Springer arguing that the increasing number of draws in Draughts was due to the players' mentality. That was sooo wrong.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Moxham
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb

Okay. A (fairly) brief summing-up of things thus far, addressing some of people’s points/queries along the way.

First, the antecedents of this thread. Yes, clarity has been much discussed in the past, usually as an aspect of larger questions about quality in games. And Russ is probably right in saying that J. Mark Thompson’s well-known article was the key influence in the term’s rise to prominence. But I repeat: we are very much entitled, all the same, to view the definition of the term in our context as still up for grabs. If you consider by way of example an adjective such as “natural”, a decent dictionary will give you the various everyday senses, plus any specialist applications by field (in this case, off the top of my head, Mathematics, Music, Contract Bridge, etc etc). As far as I’m aware, we haven’t yet reached the point where any specialised abstract-gaming sense of “clarity” has formally entered the language in this way, so the word as technical term is, so to speak, still available. And (a personal p-of-v here, obviously) Thompson’s essay, genuinely groundbreaking in so many ways, is nevertheless not without flaws in this regard: partly in its focus on the identification of a best move (as opposed to a more modestly sensible one), and even more importantly in his zero-sum pairings, in particular depth/clarity. Hence this thread.

As for the concept of clarity going forward, it does have to be in line with our general everyday understanding of the word, otherwise nothing will be achieved except confusion, and therefore it needs to be wholly positive in connotation. I can think of no context in which clear-ness is ever regarded as a bad thing. But it also has to rise above the self-evident, if a valuable opportunity is not to be wasted. So, for instance, a comprehensible rule-book, whilst undeniably a form of clarity, is something whose desirability we’re entitled to take as a given, just like all the many aspects of user-friendliness potentially involved in the design of equipment. I’m not saying those things are easy to achieve (on the contrary, that may demand the utmost skill and experience) – and they certainly aren’t always achieved in practice – but we shouldn’t mis-state the nature of their importance, any more than we should stress that, in order to be good, a poem must be legible. Consider: you could take a game such as Nick Bentley’s recent Blooms, which, though by all appearances intellectually challenging, seems very clear on a functional level, and by ‘unclarifying’ the rules (ambiguous wording, illogical layout) and the visual design (very small cells, insufficiently-differentiated colours of piece), make it less attractive and surely harder to play. But you wouldn’t have laid a finger on the game itself.

Finally, let me emphasise that the draft definition I’ve put forward doesn’t tie the clarity of a game to the (infinitely-ranging) ability of its players. Quite the opposite: I’m envisaging a sense of the term which is wholly independent of that variable. If we take the case of Chess: a new initiate of very modest talent can swiftly reach the point where the potential moves of pieces – say, the diagonals stretching out from a bishop’s square – are as instantly visible to him as if they were highlighted by dotted lines: vectors, almost … and where he doesn’t see those dotted lines (but sees different ones instead) emanating from a rook. So he has already acquired an almost instantaneous perception of threat, and starts framing moves to deliver or evade it. Another player, abler and more experienced, looks at the board and sees as a priority the need to develop his bishops, or to improve his pawn-structure – and so he makes his moves accordingly. Our first player isn’t capable of that much subtlety or foresight, and quite possibly never will be, but the key point as far as the present enquiry goes is that both, at their different levels, are playing in a way that’s wholly purposeful (you could say of either that he "knows what he's doing") – and that there’s something in the character of Chess as a game which facilitates that more than some other games might.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
christian freeling
Netherlands
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmb
mocko wrote:
Finally, let me emphasise that the draft definition I’ve put forward doesn’t tie the clarity of a game to the (infinitely-ranging) ability of its players. Quite the opposite: I’m envisaging a sense of the term which is wholly independent of that variable. If we take the case of Chess: a new initiate of very modest talent can swiftly reach the point where the potential moves of pieces – say, the diagonals stretching out from a bishop’s square – are as instantly visible to him as if they were highlighted by dotted lines: vectors, almost … and where he doesn’t see those dotted lines (but sees different ones instead) emanating from a rook. So he has already acquired an almost instantaneous perception of threat, and starts framing moves to deliver or evade it. Another player, abler and more experienced, looks at the board and sees as a priority the need to develop his bishops, or to improve his pawn-structure – and so he makes his moves accordingly. Our first player isn’t capable of that much subtlety or foresight, and quite possibly never will be, but the key point as far as the present enquiry goes is that both, at their different levels, are playing in a way that’s wholly purposeful (you could say of either that he "knows what he's doing") – and that there’s something in the character of Chess as a game which facilitates that more than some other games might.

Devil's advocate again: a grandmaster looks at a position and sees where the game is going, a beginner looks at it and sees where the pieces are going. For both the position has 'clarity'. The clarity provided by the definition in the OP. The clarity that is inherent in the game itself.

I don't quite buy it. Go wasn't clear at all to me when I first encountered it. Later, after suddenly understanding it as an organism rather than a body of rules, it became much clearer (and in another way even wholly clear). I wonder how others remember their first encounter with Go and I would be very surprised if even one of them found Go to have great 'clarity' on that occasion. On my first encounter Go didn't satisfy (i), (ii) or (iii).
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Moxham
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mb
christianF wrote:
mocko wrote:
Finally, let me emphasise that the draft definition I’ve put forward doesn’t tie the clarity of a game to the (infinitely-ranging) ability of its players. Quite the opposite: I’m envisaging a sense of the term which is wholly independent of that variable. If we take the case of Chess: a new initiate of very modest talent can swiftly reach the point where the potential moves of pieces – say, the diagonals stretching out from a bishop’s square – are as instantly visible to him as if they were highlighted by dotted lines: vectors, almost … and where he doesn’t see those dotted lines (but sees different ones instead) emanating from a rook. So he has already acquired an almost instantaneous perception of threat, and starts framing moves to deliver or evade it. Another player, abler and more experienced, looks at the board and sees as a priority the need to develop his bishops, or to improve his pawn-structure – and so he makes his moves accordingly. Our first player isn’t capable of that much subtlety or foresight, and quite possibly never will be, but the key point as far as the present enquiry goes is that both, at their different levels, are playing in a way that’s wholly purposeful (you could say of either that he "knows what he's doing") – and that there’s something in the character of Chess as a game which facilitates that more than some other games might.

Devil's advocate again: a grandmaster looks at a position and sees where the game is going, a beginner looks at it and sees where the pieces are going. For both the position has 'clarity'. The clarity provided by the definition in the OP. The clarity that is inherent in the game itself.

I don't quite buy it. Go wasn't clear at all to me when I first encountered it. Later, after suddenly understanding it as an organism rather than a body of rules, it became much clearer (and in another way even wholly clear). I wonder how others remember their first encounter with Go and I would be very surprised if even one of them found Go to have great 'clarity' on that occasion. On my first encounter Go didn't satisfy (i), (ii) or (iii).

Fair comment. But bearing in mind that we're looking for the definition of clarity that gives us most 'mileage' (if one may put it thus), could it be that the kind experienced at a moment of epiphany by Christian Freeling (hardly Mr Average, when all's said and done) with regard to Go, isn't necessarily the most helpful to adopt?

Just putting the question.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.