Designing ARROWGAMÉ

Concept:
The concept for ARROWGAMÉ goes back to June of 2006. My original idea was to create a game that could exist entirely on the surface of an index card. The inspiration for this concept came from the Surrealist game Exquisite Corpse I wanted the game to be extremely minimalist, but I also wanted the waste of the game to be worthwhile as an art object with its own aesthetic sensibility.

Design:
The pre-printed lines on an index card have always suggested to me that the two players -each using his side of the folded card - should draw 10 arrows for each round. In its earliest stages, the game would play out in a series of rounds, with each having the players fold the index card in a separate place, depending on who won the last round. The problem with this setup was each round was based entirely on luck; there was no way to strategize. I later observed that the strategy of the game could come in later rounds, if those later rounds were based on the results of earlier rounds.

For this reason, I decided ARROWGAMÉ players would only fold the index card in one place, and they would re-fold the card there every round. Arrows left over from previous turns would be part of the strategy, making the game increasingly complicated as time went on. The layering method of gameplay meant the role certain arrows played - attacking, feinting, reinforcing - would change depending on the arrows around them; an attacking arrow could be reinforcing, for instance, if an arrow from one round earlier in the same row was also attacking.

The rules of this more complicated form of ARROWGAMÉ were logical enough to me, but they were incredibly complicated to explain. Indeed, the biggest challenge in developing such a minimalist game was the complete lack of minimalism in the rules.

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