In order to facilitate the concise discussion of concepts on blog posts, I’ll make references to common concepts here instead of explaining them in line in the posts every time.

Table of Contents

Game Skills

Axis of Play

States of Success



Game Skills

Abilities or learned habits that are often tested by games.

Navigation – The ability to understand large spaces.

Dexterity – The ability to understand the movement of one’s own body or tools.

Timing – The ability to make things happen at the right time.

Programming – The ability to make things happen in the right order.

Appraisal – The ability to accurately judge the usefulness of a mechanic or commodity.

Reasoning – The ability to eliminate possibilities from consideration.

Deception – The ability to cause other players to make incorrect judgments.

Empathy – The ability to glean information from the actions of other players.

Dedication – The ability to continue doing something over a long period of time.

Memory – The ability to accurately record then recall information.

Axis of Play

A distinct single way a move can matter within the context of winning a game.

States of Success

The degree to which a play can be suboptimal.

Boolean States of Success

A system in which the player either succeeds or fails entirely with no middle ground.

Intermediate States of Success

A system in which the player can succeed without entirely succeeding at every measure of performance.


Describes the limit of a behavior or effect with respect to an attribute.

Additive (Linear) Scaling

Behavior = base + (coefficient * attribute)

Relatively slow scaling. Commonly found by adding more instances of an object that performs a behavior.

Multiplicative Scaling

Behavior = base * attribute

Categorically faster than additive scaling, usually found as the win state of build optimization.

Exponential Scaling

Behavior = base^attribute

This scaling is so fast it’s rarely seen outside of exp requirement curves.


Players can only keep so much in mind at a time. Bandwidth is an abstraction of this capacity: games that require too much bandwidth are unwieldy and players may miss out on mechanics.