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Chris Crawford on Game Design by Chris Crawford

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Economies

Another idea that dominated my thinking at this time was the notion of economies. In my thinking, an economy was any system of related quantities whose values could change in response to character actions. The most obvious economy is an object economy, consisting of various items that can be found, taken, carried, transferred to other characters, or used to carry out tasks. But there is also an economy of relationships: affection, trust, fear, and so forth.

There is also an economy of information: Facts known to some players that can be shared with other players—under the right conditions. I was certain that a single-economy game would be boring; what I wanted was a game with at least three economies. The relationships among those economies ...

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