A rule typology

I have intended to write about rule and algorithms more than a blog post. I think that it is important to understand the qualities of games in more detailed level than just games have rules.

However, I might not need to do this, because Markus Montola provides a nice typology of rules in his dissertation:

  1. Internal rules: the rules or limits that one set for oneself
  2. Social rules: for example, it is impolite to play too slow and keep other waiting)
  3. Formal rules: as in board game rule book
  4. External rules: for example, laws
  5. Materially embodied rules: game systems (including algorithms) in video and physical objects and bodies in a game
  6. Brute circumstances: environment and biology (Montola, 2012, pp. 42-43).

Rule types 2 and 3 relate to agreements and come with possibility of cheating. Rule type 4 is institutionalized form of rules and comes with possibility of breaking the law.  Rule type 5 and 6 are different and they exist and regulate play despite the players will of changing them (of course there are some possibilities to influence these such as doping or modding a game).

Montola, M, On the edge of the magic circle, Tampere: Tampere University Press.  Available at http://urn.fi/urn:isbn:978-951-44-8864-1.

Published by lankoski

Petri Lankoski, D.Arts, is a Associate Professor in Game Studies at the school of Communication, Media and IT at the Södertörn University, Sweden. His research focuses on game design, game characters, role-playing, and playing experience. Petri has been concentrating on single-player video games but researched also (multi-player) pnp and live-action role-playing games. This blog focuses on his research on games and related things.

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