Game Design is a Matter of Perspective

I have been using dice to teach my son about numbers and math… and slowly get him used to the idea of games so I have someone to play games with, I mean, teaching him about numbers and math.

Dice Game

The little game that I invented for us to play has two rules:

  1. Roll a D6 – a 6-sided die
  2. Yell out the results
A Dice Perspective — Me: 4! My Son: 5!

The new game that I just invented collapsed. On the very first die roll, I yelled out, “4!” and George yelled out, “5!”. This is why game design is so hard. You can create a game with two rules and it breaks down under the slightest pressure. Imagine trying to make any game work with pages of rules.


When I ask myself what is the result of a die roll, I interpret that to mean what symbol is on the top face of the die. This is a convention that I learned and I assume it to be true. Board game rules don’t have to say it, this is just known by everyone. Or, is it? My son hasn’t learned this convention. To him, the result is one of the sides facing him… that he can see.


No matter what we do, no matter what we read, we have to pass it through our own understanding of the world. Our understanding of the world is our set of conventions layered on top of experiences and opinions. I am starting to appreciate that things can be true to individuals. My perspective can produce something that I believe to be true, but it does not mean that it is truth. Even with the most basic of games, it’s impossible to have absolute shared understanding. Now, imagine this with billions of people, laws of physics, laws of physics we don’t know about, politics, human nature, climate, etc. What is truth? Is it what’s true from your perspective?

This is Truth?

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