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In this article, I’m going to seek to elucidate a theory of how players’ actions operate in the context of strategy games – mostly, in a competitive setting, though I think it also applies to single player or co-op as well. Specifically, I’m looking at how games’ rules direct player action into one of 4 interrelated categories of action, which I’m calling “Preparatory” actions, “Anticipatory” actions, “Direct” actions, and “Reactionary” actions.

‘ll take a look at each category separately, using examples across a range of games, and then talk about how these relate to one another, and where I feel existing game design could do a better job of providing a more rewarding experience.

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