Soren Johnson on Theme in Games

While I don’t agree with Soren Johnson’s (he’s the lead designer of Civ IV and the AI designer of Civ III and Civ IV) philosophy on AI in games, these two articles demonstrate that not only is he intimately familiar with boardgames and the design innovations they present, Soren Johnson is an incisive mind on the fraught and fuzzily-debated issues of theme and mechanics in games.

To boil the articles down, Johnson argues that the setting of a game (frequently called “theme” in the boardgame world) is fairly superficial, and it’s really what the mechanics allow and encourage that give a game its meaning. Excellent stuff.

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