Found some new (to me) design terminology, which seemed worth sharing for others who, like me, could use a vocab expansion.
“Crunchy – a very complex combinatorial possibility space arising from the interplay of many elements. Hard but not impossible to get in an elegant and streamlined way. Go isn’t crunchy because the elements that produce its incredible complexity are quintessentially simple; Chess is more crunchy than Go because there are six different pieces. Obviously crunchiness can be abused as a content multiplier or obfuscator that doesn’t necessarily make for a better skill chain, but those abuses aren’t particularly interesting to me. Crunchy spaces also tend to have a higher barrier to entry (not a "low floor”) at least initially, or require graduated scaffolding of some sort, but once you’re past it, it doesn’t necessarily take as long for you to become competitive as it would for say, Go – skill development past initial understanding is independent of crunchiness, and as noted, the “exciting flavor” of crunchiness can be a motivator for new players. So why do we want to explore crunchy space? Because it requires a different kind of skill than mastering a smooth space, one with more pre-determined moving parts; your brain has to engage the possibilities of a crunchy space differently. The rest of reality contains many, many crunchy spaces to master, and relatively few smooth ones (which are always embedded in other, larger and more crunchy contexts, and may just be delineated as spaces in an attempt to simply/abstract) so it’s a natural type of skill and space for us to try and model in games.“ [Opposing term: Smooth]
”Wet – a space with many contingent circumstances to deal with arising from the system, not necessarily arising from chance but from complexity. (And maybe from some usage of chance, i.e. input randomness in Puerto Rico.) This may correlate with how hard a system is to solve; Go definitely feels more wet to me than Chess because of the kind of unpredictable complexity that arises. In both Go and Chess, the source of contingency lies entirely in the actions of the other player; Go is wetter because the shape of the board (by which I mean piece placement, not the grid, obvs) is so difficult to predict and arises from interactions of opposing choices.“ [Opposing term: Dry]
September 29, 2013