Emilio – Short Exercise: MDA & 8 Kinds of Fun

Pick a game you love, and identify a set of mechanics that create a dynamic that makes a certain kind of fun for you.

I was introduced to the game of chess at a fairly young age by my father. Although chess has been around for hundreds of years, it has persisted as one of the most popular and classic games of all time.  On a 8×8 checkered board, each player in this two-person battle is given 16 pieces of 6 different types, with each type having different rules on how they move on the board. These types include pawns, rooks, knights, bishops, a queen and a king. The objective is remains fairly simple, however– capture the opponent’s king.

Although the goal of chess is straightforward and easy to understand, the mechanics in which the game operates afford interesting dynamics and result in a suspenseful and challenging experience. First, despite having different forms of mobility on the board, any piece may capture any other piece (with a small exception of king-on-king violence). Similarly, some pieces are deemed more “powerful” than others due to their rules of movement; the Rook may move any amount of squares vertically or horizontally, the Bishop may move any amount of squares diagonally, and the Queen (the most powerful) can do both.

These mechanics yield a pseudo-scoresheet, as losing a pawn but capturing a Queen creates an imbalance in mobility between the two players. However, this score is of no importance when determining the end result of a chess game. While one player may be up a significant number of “points” of material, one mistake can result in checkmate due to the nature of the position.

At a low to mid-range of player abilities, these dynamics can yield in overly dramatic and suspenseful games. Positional mistakes can result an opponent throwing away what seemed to be a finished game, where the “losing player” becomes victorious in one move despite having an army of half the size. While you have fun playing this game, it teaches you to never give up.

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