What Defines a Strategy Game?
Skill-based games are a dime-a-dozen, and players who succeed at them have mastered the art of strategic gameplay. There are numerous examples of strategy games that require a plan of action, namely Chess, Poker, World of Warcraft, Titanfall 2, Doom and Uncharted 4.
The degree of skill or strategy required to play a game is wholly dependent on the type of game in question. If you’re playing a game like Path of Exile or Diablo, you may find yourself clicking your way through to higher levels of the game. From that perspective, these are not strategic games. The components of a game dictate the way it must be played. Shooter video games are point-and-click, although there is a degree of character development that needs to take place to ascend to higher levels in the game. Strategy is a broad term to define an approach towards a future-oriented outcome.
Is Critical Thinking Necessary in Gaming?
Once again, the nature of the game in question will determine whether critical thinking is necessary. The second part of the answer rests in the question itself: What is critical thinking? If critical thinking is a reference to the gameplay and the narrative, then we need to look at individual games to determine precisely how they qualify. Games like Warcraft, Path of Exile, Diablo and Torchlight do not require much critical thinking at all. Players simply need to click their way through the games and kill the enemy in the process. There are certain aspects of these games that require a level of thought, such as the timing of the kill shots.
You may find yourself running and gunning, or planning an attack. If you’re playing an RPG (Real Player Game) or an MMO RPG (Massive Multiplayer Game), you will always have to pay attention to the on-screen dialogue and narrative. Shooter games are popular attractions, but there is so much more going on that needs to be considered. Games like Grand Theft Auto require players to think before they act. This is the nature of strategy-based games. Following on screen dialogue is critical to your success in strategy-based games. Games intentionally direct players to accomplish specific mission objectives. This requires thought processes and strategic gameplay.
The Psychology of Skill-Based Card Games
Psychology is an integral component of strategy-based card games like poker. Without psychology, it’s impossible to get a ‘read’ on your opponents. This invariably means that you will lose poker games if you don’t understand how to interpret or recognize bluffs, tells, playing styles and the like. In-depth studies have been conducted over the years which confirm that people are more likely to attempt manipulative behaviour when the lights have been dimmed. This works well for poker players who are looking to bluff and their opponents.
If you’re looking to gain the psychological edge over your opponents, and your style of play is loose-aggressive, you may wish to keep the lights bright, and force other players to play a tight game. Poker players leave nothing to chance, even the ambient music is factored into the equation. If other players are busy listening to the music, they are focusing less on their game, and on strategic players. If you can successfully divert someone’s attention in poker, you’re already in the pound seats.
Another important aspect of poker is bluffing. This is impossible to do in other games like Warcraft and Diablo, but it is essential in games of poker. Psychology is an intractable component of high-level poker play. You simply cannot succeed at tournament level if your mind is not attuned to the players at your table, the cards in your hand, and the probabilities of winning. Poker psychology is all about the mindset you’re in when you’re playing. As always, impaired judgment leads to loss of critical thinking. Avoid alcohol and other stimulants as these will break your focus and cause you to feel your way around blindly, as opposed to having a laser-sharp focus on the action. Poker is a game of skill, with and strategy and all your faculties need to be sharp for you to succeed.