Koster's book is quite good for lots of reasons, like understanding what fun is, and how to have it for example. I was really pleased however with his discussion and call out of Game Designer Ben Cousin's concept of "ludemes." Ludemes, according to Cousins and Koster are the basic units of gameplay - the fundamental components (atoms?) of what makes a game a game.
Koster lays out some fundamental elements that make for successful games. My challenge is to figure out how (and if I should even try) to apply these ludemes and concepts in trying to create deeply engaging experiences within a B2B framework. Maybe I'm nuts, but I'm not done digging this well.
Here are the elements:
- Preparation (players get some time to get ready - healing up, buying new equipment or perhaps by doing research, or understanding the parameters of the upcoming challenge.)
- A sense of space - in games, this would be the map or playing field. In a B2B social network, this is perhaps the network itself or the parameters of a given problem/opportunity space that the group wants to work on together.
- A solid core mechanic. The puzzle to solve and an interesting rule set.
- A range of challenges. Content.
- A range of abilities required to solve the encounter. Games are dull if all you need is a hammer to hit the nail with.
- Skill required in using abilities. Bad choices lead to failure whether you are trying to kill a dragon, or develop a solution to a thorny IT issue.
- Variable feedback system. The results should not be totally predictable.
- The Mastery Problem must be dealt with. In gaming, this means that high level players don't get any benefits from easy encounters. For me, it means that problems have to be hard to solve!
- Failure must have a cost (at least an opportunity cost)
I don't have any solutions yet, but like I said earlier, I'm not done digging this well. There is something here, I know it.