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Players Making Decisions: Game Design Essentials and the Art of Understanding Your Players by Zack Hiwiller

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14. Milieu

It’s not the game that’s sacred,It’s the people who are playing.

—BERNIE DE KOVEN

Mechanics are defined by the creators of the game, but the dynamics and aesthetic reactions are defined by the players. This leads to a problem: If the individual player can react to the mechanics in a number of ways, then mechanics do not deterministically lead to dynamics. If dynamics are generated specifically from the mechanics, then the dynamics should be the same if the mechanics are the same. But you often see differences in how the same game is played by different players. Some other factor must influence the game. I call this factor milieu.

What Is Milieu?

Milieu is the set of personal, social, and cultural assumptions that players bring to ...

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