Many games are easier to win if players have information about how the actions and events work, even though it is not necessarily required to be able to play. When this information is usable for all game sessions of the same game, the information is Strategic Knowledge about the game.
Example: The locations of power-ups and pick-ups in first-person shooter deathmatches are essential knowledge for players to successfully compete against each other.
Example: The knowledge of long sequences of combos in fighting games such as the Tekken or Dead or Alive series are Strategic Knowledge to players, even if they may not have the skill to successfully perform them.
Providing players with Strategic Knowledge about rules are necessary in Self-Facilitated Games but can be used to create Smooth Learning Curves in other games. Besides rules, Strategic Knowledge can be about the configuration of the Game World, the value of different goals, how to perform certain actions, and the likelihood of different actions and events to take place in a game.
Knowledge about the Game World consists of knowing where Strategic Locations are, for example Shared Resources or Power-Ups, and can help Game World Navigation and winning Races. The knowledge about the correct values of goals consists mainly of knowing the Tradeoff values between various Resources, Rewards, and Penalties. This can be used to influence choices in Selectable Sets of Goals and Hierarchies of Goals, and knowing when to strive for Transfer of Control or what areas to try and achieve Area Control over. In cases of Unknown Goals, knowing what Predefined Goals exist is Strategic Knowledge in itself. Examples of Strategic Knowledge related to information about actions are how to perform Combos, what Achilles' Heels enemies have, and what places are most important to Guard. Knowing the likelihood of events and actions mainly consists of knowing all the possible Predictable Consequences in games or the probabilities of Dice and other randomizers in games with high degrees of Randomness. The easiest knowledge in these cases are predetermined Ultra-Powerful Events such as Moveable Tiles or Shrinking Game Worlds. Knowledge of the exact effects of Damage or Delayed Effects, and the Tradeoffs between Risk/Reward choices (especially in Betting) are also part of these types of Strategic Knowledge.
A typical way of letting players acquire Strategic Knowledge is through Game State Overviews, Cut Scenes, Experimenting, or being Spectators to games played by others. This becomes easier when the information presented is Perfect Information and, in the case of Spectators, requires that the information is Public Information.
Strategic Knowledge about a game gives players Empowerment, and if it can successfully be applied to actions performed, it can provide an opportunity for Game Mastery. It encourages Stimulated Planning both during gameplay and before gameplay begins. The possibility to have Strategic Knowledge about a game allows Extra-Game Actions specifically for extracting and Memorizing that knowledge, and communicating the knowledge between players makes it into Extra-Game Information if done through Storytelling within the game or Trans-Game Information if done by other means outside the game. The possibility also gives an incentive for Replayability in the game to learn and make use of the Strategic Knowledge, for example, in Tournaments.
Strategic Knowledge affects players' Illusion of Influence depending on whether players actually have any influence. It typically removes players' ability to feel that they have Luck in the game but can be used to create knowledge-based Meta Games.
Instantiated by: Game World Navigation, Meta Games, Spectators, Hierarchy of Goals, Tournaments, Moveable Tiles, Power-Ups, Dice, Strategic Locations, Ultra-Powerful Events, Shrinking Game World, Transfer of Control, Rewards, Penalties, Area Control, Delayed Effects, Randomness, Tradeoffs, Combos, Achilles' Heels, Resources, Experimenting, Cut Scenes, Trans-Game Information, Game State Overview, Predefined Goals, Extra-Game Information, Selectable Sets of Goals
Potentially conflicting with: Luck
(C) Æliens 04/09/2009You may not copy or print any of this material without explicit permission of the author or the publisher. In case of other copyright issues, contact the author.