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Is Chess an Abstract Game? Is Go?

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Author Topic: Is Chess an Abstract Game? Is Go?  (Read 403 times)
Calandale
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« on: July 10, 2014, 02:57:05 pm »

Both have a rooting in military representation. They're certainly not simulations
(and thus not wargames), but they seem to be games about war. Checkers, Cards,
and Backgammon are true abstracts - but general convention is that Chess and
Go are as well.

If so, isn't a euro so disassociated with its subject also an abstract? I'm thinking something
like Tigris & Euphrates here.
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2014, 04:25:33 pm »

Tigris and Euphrates is an abstract with added bling.
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« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2014, 09:12:48 am »

well of course chess is a wargame, palin and simple
chess represents how wars were fought during the medieval periods, with the slow marching pawns as foot soldiers and the queen representing the best armored cavalry.  the pieces move in a manner very similar to the actual movement rates of medieval military units and the whole point of the game is exactly what the whole point of war was (and is) namely the capitulation of the enemy king.

simply because modern wargames do a far better job of representing movement rates than chess does doeesn't mean that chess is not a war
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Calandale
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« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2014, 10:34:13 am »

well of course chess is a wargame, palin and simple


The term wargame, in the context of the hobby, does not mean all games with a war theme.


But this is the crux. Almost everyone considers Chess an abstract - but it's at least
as non-abstract as most euros are.
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2014, 05:45:23 pm »

Hey everyone!

If you are willing to accept that everything lies on a spectrum rather than being black and white (not implying anyone is saying this), then all games are abstractions of something. Euros just abstract everything. Theme is simply a veneer to create what Greg Pettit calls "theme as metaphor". And what we call "pure abstracts" forego even that. Ameritrash games use "theme as narrative", but even then often do not apply the mechanics to the subject matter.
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2014, 06:07:33 pm »

Hey everyone!

If you are willing to accept that everything lies on a spectrum rather than being black and white (not implying anyone is saying this), then all games are abstractions of something. Euros just abstract everything. Theme is simply a veneer to create what Greg Pettit calls "theme as metaphor". And what we call "pure abstracts" forego even that. Ameritrash games use "theme as narrative", but even then often do not apply the mechanics to the subject matter.

Sure, but a pure abstract doesn't relate. So Chess (and Go) aren't pure. Yet they are sort of the poster children
for what an abstract game is. Chess, Backgammon, Parcheesi, and Mancala are far better examples, IMO. One
could  overlay meaning to even these though. There's some point in the spectrum where something is
more abstract than representational. It certainly is over that line when something doesn't have a formal
topic at all - but what if (like Chess & Go) there is a topic? How are these different from what I'd call
purely thematic games - wherein there is nothing to the subject really represented in a believable manner
within the game?
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2014, 06:40:14 pm »

When I play a game, I sometimes try to decide how much of my thinking process matches what "the real person who I am replacing" would think. Am I in their shoes at all? Even in Twilight Struggle--a very abstract game--I find this to be very substantial. I feel the brinksmanship at every moment, even though the game doesn't simulate the unknown passage of historical events at all really. It puts me in the state of mind that meshes with my impression of the subject matter.

When I play Go or Chess or Shogi, I am just using intuition and calculation to execute moves and placements to capture, kill, surround, etc. It doesn't feel like a "battle" for me in the sense of war (even though those words sound warlike), just an intellectual challenge against the human across from me.
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Calandale
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« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2014, 06:51:38 pm »



When I play Go or Chess or Shogi, I am just using intuition and calculation to execute moves and placements to capture, kill, surround, etc. It doesn't feel like a "battle" for me in the sense of war (even though those words sound warlike), just an intellectual challenge against the human across from me.

So, I'd say the same about COIN games, which obviously seem well linked,
but just not for me. In fact, I get more of a "I'm in command" feel in Go.
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2014, 07:40:58 pm »

I think euros are abstract games but deserve a separate classification due to their emphasis on family or group play. This is apparent because most 2 player focused euros are more on the abstract side.

Because of this focus, a theme is needed because it is easier and more fun to get involved socially with a theme. Its more fun to table talk over your buddies farmer taking all the wood than it is over your buddies black stone being placed on c16.
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2014, 08:20:58 pm »

I think euros are abstract games but deserve a separate classification due to their emphasis on family or group play. This is apparent because most 2 player focused euros are more on the abstract side.


What about Chinese Checkers? Parchisi type games?

Hell, Monopoly is heavily abstracted (and or wrong) for what it portrays, but it does seem
'about' the topic in a manner that most euros do.
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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2014, 08:51:51 pm »

I think euros are abstract games but deserve a separate classification due to their emphasis on family or group play. This is apparent because most 2 player focused euros are more on the abstract side.


What about Chinese Checkers? Parchisi type games?

Hell, Monopoly is heavily abstracted (and or wrong) for what it portrays, but it does seem
'about' the topic in a manner that most euros do.

Well, first off (from wikipedia): "Created in India perhaps as early as 500 AD, Pachisi is subtitled Royal Game of India because royalty played by using servants of the royal household adorned in colored-costumes as game pieces on large outdoor boards." Which is just freakin awesome.

Secondly, if Monopoly were released today, it would be classified as a euro.

Something that often goes overlooked in this discussions is aesthetic. Eurogames have a certain aesthetic as do abstract games. So do wargames for that matter. Which is actually part of the reason I don't mind answers to "What is a wargame?" to be "I know one when I see one." I'll take that quite literally.

I do think chess is the original eurogame. So I agree that it has about as much connection to the subject as your average euro.

Again, I don't think these categorizations are exclusive. An "All euros are abstracts, but not all abstracts are euros" kinda thing.

To get to the chinese checkers thing, I bet chinese checkers and parchisi were the family games of their time, and I bet at some point they did have a theme.

I think euros need to have theme to engage people, to encourage table talk and social interactions, and to give players a sense of direction and objective. If I can say 'You are a Duke/Duchess in the Lorraine Valley in the 15th century and your goal is to use your wealth to develop your land into a thriving and prestigious holding by attracting merchants, farmers, scientists, traders, workers and all the rest,' and even if the mechanisms have zero connection to the subject (rolling dice, picking up and placing tiles), just having that theme and being able to give the players some kind of direction, a seed to let their imaginations take over, is better for a lot of players than not.

In conclusion, I have no idea what I'm talking about.
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« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2014, 09:05:06 pm »

Quote
To get to the chinese checkers thing, I bet chinese checkers and parchisi were the family games of their time, and I bet at some point they did have a theme.

Family games yes, but I doubt much in the way of theme. Sorry never had a theme.
Does Mah Jong? Poker?
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« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2014, 09:10:24 pm »

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To get to the chinese checkers thing, I bet chinese checkers and parchisi were the family games of their time, and I bet at some point they did have a theme.

Family games yes, but I doubt much in the way of theme. Sorry never had a theme.
Does Mah Jong? Poker?

Never played Mah Jong, but I wouldn't call poker an abstract game. Its in another category as far as I am concerned. Betting game? Gambling game? Not an abstract though because its not abstracting anything.

We could get all philosophical about why we even need/want these categorizations at all. I'll save that for another time, but I think that would be a good discussion to have.
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Calandale
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« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2014, 09:13:49 pm »

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To get to the chinese checkers thing, I bet chinese checkers and parchisi were the family games of their time, and I bet at some point they did have a theme.

Family games yes, but I doubt much in the way of theme. Sorry never had a theme.
Does Mah Jong? Poker?

Never played Mah Jong, but I wouldn't call poker an abstract game. Its in another category as far as I am concerned. Betting game? Gambling game? Not an abstract though because its not abstracting anything.

So, 'not abstracting anything' is pretty much what I mean by a purely abstract game.

Is that not what abstract gamers mean? Because if so, ALL we're were ekted was - all games are abstractions
that aren't these 'pure' games that I consider the epitome of abstract. If so, we'll move chess into military games
(where I think it belongs anyway, even if not a wargame), and change the title of this section to
Games without Subject, or some such.
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« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2014, 09:18:01 pm »

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To get to the chinese checkers thing, I bet chinese checkers and parchisi were the family games of their time, and I bet at some point they did have a theme.

Family games yes, but I doubt much in the way of theme. Sorry never had a theme.
Does Mah Jong? Poker?

Never played Mah Jong, but I wouldn't call poker an abstract game. Its in another category as far as I am concerned. Betting game? Gambling game? Not an abstract though because its not abstracting anything.

So, 'not abstracting anything' is pretty much what I mean by a purely abstract game.

Is that not what abstract gamers mean? Because if so, ALL we're were ekted was - all games are abstractions
that aren't these 'pure' games that I consider the epitome of abstract. If so, we'll move chess into military games
(where I think it belongs anyway, even if not a wargame), and change the title of this section to
Games without Subject, or some such.

I find this interesting considering you are a big proponent of defining a "wargame" by what it means within the hobby of wargaming.

Within the hobby of boardgaming, chess is considered an abstract game.

Games without Subject, for games like poker, might be a good idea but nobody would post there.
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