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Graphing Thirty Years of Gaming Collaborations

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the i-can-see-my-house-from-here dept.

Classic Games (Games) 12

ShannonA writes "The world of designer board games, including such classics as The Settlers of Catan and Modern Art, is full of creative collaborations between designers. In a new article, Six Degrees of Collaboration, Shannon Appelcline traces these collaborative connections across a half-dozen countries and over thirty years of time." Interesting to see how relatively small a part of the table-top gaming industry really is.

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Always six degrees? (5, Insightful)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657922)

I find it interesting that everything is always referred to as six degrees of separation. It has been said that everyone in the world is connected to everyone else in only six degrees. From this, one would expect that a small group of people with related interests would be connected in less than six degrees.

Re:Always six degrees? (2, Insightful)

The Clockwork Troll (655321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658020)

They mean six degrees of arc. The article is presented in XGAML as a game with a circular playing board with a diameter of 10,000 miles. There are 60 people on the board, each of whom is six degrees apart, literally. Each game's purveyor subtends a right angle.

I hope that clears things up.

Re:Always six degrees? (1)

PsychoBrat (808980) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658068)

I believe this is commonly known as SGS (Silly Gimmick Syndrome). I'm not sure which dialect of English you're most accustomed to, but in some I've heard it referred to as SASMF (Stretching an Already Strained Model Further), and TJPP (That's Just Plain... Poppycock!). The acronyms can get get a bit confusing, but as long as you remember the general meaning you should be fine... :)

Re:Always six degrees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14658069)

I'm not sure if this is a joke, but I'll reply as if it isn't: obviously, if any two nodes in a graph can be connected with six degrees of separation, some nodes are directly connected to each other. (Assuming more than one vertex in the graph, if you want to get overly technical.) So, yes, if everyone can be connected to each other by six degrees of separation, then obviously, some pairs of people exist who can be connected to each other by five, four, three, etc. degrees of separation. The "six" would generally refer to the least possible number that achieves total connectivity.

(Obviously, when people make "six degrees" statements it's not always firmly rooted in real statistics, so generally the reason we always see "six" is probably that the phrase has been popularized, not that there's something special about the number. However, it is significant that it is a relatively small number: it wouldn't be too astonishing to hear that any two nodes in a connected graph can be connected to each other with a degree of separation equal to the number of nodes in the graph or less.)

Re:Always six degrees? (1)

ShannonA (704748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663532)

That's largely related to how you measure a degree. The traditional measure from the play is just about who you know. More recent connections such as the Bacon Number, the Erdoes Number, and this Faidutti Factor instead measure published, creative connections, which is a much more rigorous test, and thus it's not a surprise that the number would increase even as the interest group tightens up. Of course you're entirely right when creative endeavors are common enough. The Bacon Number is lowly decreasing to irrelevency because so many people have either a 2 or at worst a 3.

Ride the short bus? (2, Funny)

Mr.Oreo (149017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14657929)

The entire industry could ride a school bus to work every day.

In a similar vein (2, Interesting)

strider44 (650833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658029)

One of my maths lecturers talked about how they graphed a degrees of seperation of maths papers, where connections in the graph would be where the people collaborated on a paper. He was split from Albert Einstein by 3 degrees as I remember.

Re:In a similar vein (3, Interesting)

HoneyBunchesOfGoats (619017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14658070)

That would be the Erdos number [] .

Am I missing something here? (2, Informative)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 8 years ago | (#14659191)

The chart is interesting but it seems to focus on a pretty specific subset or group of subsets of the table-top gaming genre. This would be akin to talking about fantasy writing and then just mentioning people who worked on Forgotten Realms books.

Much to my chagrin, Settlers of Catan is mentioned in the summary, but not actually charted. TFA doesn't even mention that game or Klaus Teuber. Ravensburger publishes some of the best games I've ever played. The problem is only a very small fraction of them ever makes it to the US. For those who like easy-to-pick up games that are never the same twice, may I recommend The Amazeing Labyrinth [] which is sort of a treasure hunt game where the board changes every round.

Re:Am I missing something here? (2, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14660501)

Interesting that you mention Teuber and Ravensburger but not Teuber's publisher, Kosmos.

Also, I'd suggest Puerto Rico as a great title from Ravensburger, it takes a bit to learn it but after that it's a great game with very little luck involved.

Re:Am I missing something here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14660662)

I agree. This article isn't representative of the entire industry. It seems that games with collaborative development are here and excludes some great games such as the GIPF project, the original Carcassonne, any of the Settlers games, or Tsuro, just to name a small handful of recent board games.

Re:Am I missing something here? (2, Informative)

ShannonA (704748) | more than 8 years ago | (#14663501)

Germans seem to have a much lower incidence of game design collaboration than either Americans or French, and so they're much more poorly represented on the chart. Klaus Teuber, the designer of Settlers of Catan, has only one pseudo-collaboration. He did work with others on a mixed set of Settlers supplements called _Atlantis_, but that branch ends immediately because all of the people he worked with are new designers who have done zero or one games of their own, with no additional collaborations. If any of them become successful, we may be able to link Teuber in in a year or two.
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