mysterium title

Not Another Word: Silence as a Game Mechanic

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5 Responses

  1. Mike Sell says:

    Great idea for a critical focus–and I appreciate the survey you provide. It got me thinking about the broader issue of limiting talk.

    The Quiet Year came to mind. It doesn’t use silence per se, but does impose strict rules on how players speak to each other. This governs the formal process of group discussion (during which players can say 1-3 sentences, then must be quiet and let the next player contribute). And it governs the informal moments; for example, when other players’ add a drawing to the group’s collective map and the emerging narrative it describes. Ultimately, the rule limits “lawyering,” affirms the theme of collective cooperating and creativity, and helps keep the game in “yes and” mode.

    • Jordyn Lukomski says:

      Thank you! I haven’t played the Quiet Year but it sounds really interesting. I’ll have to give it a try. It also sounds like a passively tense game if that makes sense. I can imagine playing with my friends and it being hard for each of us not to speak up if the narrative took an unwanted shift! But at the same time we all love telling stories – I guess we’ll just have to try and see, sounds both creative, unique, and fun.

  2. Ted says:

    The “Boards” have it. Good to see the games, including boards” being evaluated. Thanks.

  3. Artur says:

    One major problem with silence in Codename is that it removes players from the game. Not only is the player allowed to say only one word, so his thinking is undisclosed, but also the other players are expected not to talk to much, so as not to communicate with the boss. Personally I find it problematic for a party game, where interaction seems crucial.

    • Jordyn Lukomski says:

      That’s a good point. I definitely think that each game implements silence with varying degrees of success. However, I think it also depends a bit on preferred played style by the players and the situation. I know people that find Codenames really boring. The people I play with really like it. We usually either play it while doing homework (the person saying one word thinks about what to say while the others do homework then when the one word is given the roles switch). But most of the time we play at board game nights and there is still a lot of interaction and talking going on. Its slightly against the rules but the two “word-givers” often talk to each other while hiding their faces since they can see each others cards and making sure the other two players can’t hear. The other two players are usually talking to each other, sometimes playing hand held devices sometimes still trying to figure out a previous word while discussing their thoughts with each other. I like the game but I can clearly see why people would find it boring/problematic etc…

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