I wrote this as a response in a different thread and think it came out quite well. I am attempting to define Game B such that it is functionally meaningful and not just another self-terminating cult of personality.
From first principles:
A goal is an intent to generate an imagined reality.
A purpose is a series of goals.
To be an agent is to have purposes.
A pursuit is a recurring goal or set of goals.
A good pursuit is one whose goal, or goals, correlate with their purpose.
When goals correlate with their purpose it means the subsequent goals become easier to achieve, or are directly achieved.
The meaning of a pursuit is the description of the relationship between the goals and the purpose, in other words why they correlate. So the meaning of a pursuit is the reason an agent engages in the pursuit.
Goals can have multiple purposes.
A pursuit that becomes trivial is called a fixed action pattern, and no longer requires an agent.
Optimisation for a pursuit is the process of converting focused intent into fixed action patterns, achieving the same goals more often, and more efficiently.
Optimisation increases agency for the purpose by reducing agency for the parts.
A goal of one agent may contradict the goal of another.
Within a pursuit, if the goal of one agent contradicts that of another, we call this zero-sum.
A goal of one agent may serve the purposes of another.
Within a pursuit, if the goal of one agent serves the purposes of another, we call this positive-sum.
A competition is a pursuit in which the success of agents is determined relative to each other.
The goals of multiple agents may be independent, in conflict, in alignment, or in congruence. The purposes of multiple agents can be, at different times, independent, in conflict, in alignment or in congruence.
A game is a pursuit engaged by agents without regard to the correlation between the goal and its purpose, as in a goal pursued for its own sake. In other words, or in common parlance, to “game the system” is to pursue the goal at the expense of the sustainability or rubustness of the system.
An agent in a game is a player.
A good game is one which remains robust regardless of the strategies employed by players. (Nash Equilibria).
Since an agent can have multiple purposes, but can only attend to one goal at a time, a player may go in and out of a game repeatedly, by changing their focus.
If a goal serves the purposes of an agent outside the game we say that the agent is interested in the game.
Games that other agents are interested in are difficult* and verifiable*.
If the goal of a game is not difficult it is trivial, and thus becomes a fixed action pattern. Agency is not required to implement a fixed action pattern, and thus the game loses its agent.
If the goal of a game is not verifiable the meaning is unknown, and thus the game loses its purpose.
Other agents are interested in games as selection proxies for players, to demonstrate fitness for fulfilling the purposes of the observers.
For a game to be a useful selection proxy it must be universal* and independent*.
If the game is not universal it is excluding potential players for reasons unrelated to the goals of the game and the purposes of the selectors, and thus players and selectors will choose a different, more universal game if it is available.
If the game is not independent it means success is partially or wholy determined or influenced by a third-party agent, who can have their own implicit purposes which may or may not be in congruence or alignment with the purposes of players and selectors.
The extent that games fulfill these constraints – difficulty, verifiability, universality and independence – is the extent that they are stable, retain their meaning.
A crisis of meaning happens when the games used by agents to fulfill their purposes lose their meaning.
We call these constraints meta rules because both players and game designers can contribute to a crisis of meaning, to disorder and chaos, to the extent that they act within these constraints.
An agent does not contribute to the entropy of a game when they work hard and sacrifice (difficulty), don’t lie or cheat (verifiability), do not exclude anyone for reasons unrelated to the goals of the game (universality), and take responsibility (independence).
A game designer generates negentropy when they generate the rules and constraints of the game such that the goal is difficult, verifiable, universal and independent.
Rules are descriptions of constraints that prevent entropic strategies being employed in a game, which sanction some agents to prevent the use of these strategies with force.
Good rules are a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles constraining the conduct or procedure within a game which are in accordance with the meta rules.
Bad rules are a set of explicit or understood regulations or principles constraining the conduct or procedure within a game which are in discordance with the meta rules.
Governance is the process of setting the rules by which a set of games are played.
Good governance is the process of setting the rules by which a set of games are played such that the game tends towards order, meaning in accordance with the meta rules.
Bad governance is the process of setting the rules by which a set of games are played such that the game tends towards disorder, meaning in discordance with the meta rules.
Games mediate the relationships between agents, allowing them to achieve goals more efficiently, without having to attend to the goals and broader purposes simultaneously.
Where goals are in conflict, but purposes are in alignment, a mechanism emerges to resolve the conflict such that both parties continue in their purpose as efficiently as possible. This is called a rivalrous game, and it determines whose goal takes priority.
Like any other game, a rivalrous game can be good or bad. Rivalry itself is not the cause of self-termination. Rivalry is a mechanism for continuing a game even when players are in conflict, and the value of that mechanism is determined by its correspondence to the meta rules.
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