Day 13 - Lens 110: The Lens of Transformation
Games create experiences, and experiences change people. To make sure only the best changes happen to your players, ask yourself these questions:
How can my game change players for the better?
The most abstract mechanical themes of the game are about the difficulty and unpredictability of conflict with other humans. How that is almost always detrimental to everyone, how even clear victories often don't ensure or even contribute to 'winning'. If that message seeps into players then my intentions to better them will have been served.
On a metaphorical level the game is about the fall of hegemony and how chaos can be just as bad. It's a game about grappling with the consequences of war. If that theme is perceived then again my intentions are served.
Of course I want to do all of that and still have the players think it's a fun game! So, just easy stuff...
How can my game change players for the worse?
Given the heavy themes and mechanics it's possible for players to miss those meanings and see the game as actually being about how fun conflict is... I think I avoid that with the letter to the winner at the end, but that's a pretty heavy handed thing to do and I'm still looking for a way to say things more clearly in the game its self.