The Conceptual Relationship Model - Understanding patterns and mechanics in game design
Paper i proceeding, 2014

Rooted in the complexity of purposeful design, this paper embraces a phenomenological perspective of design as both a process and artifact. We use this perspective to interpret why the conceptualization and realization of design intentions can be difficult to achieve and why design is often perceived as a so called ‘wicked problem’. This paper revisits the concepts of game design patterns and game mechanics, arguing that refactoring these concepts is needed to clarify their relationships and motivations. We outline the separation of concerns between them and suggest that an additional contextualizing layer should be added to the discourse. Using this, we define and reflect upon what we refer to as the conceptual relationship model.


Game mechanics

Design patterns




Carl Magnus Olsson

Staffan Björk

Göteborgs universitet

Steve Dahlskog

Proceedings of DiGRA 2014 (DIGITAL GAMES RESEARCH ASSOCIATION). August 3-6, 2014, Snowbird, Utah, USA


Människa-datorinteraktion (interaktionsdesign)