If we say that Transformation Games is a practice to facilitate an experience, what is the experience itself? Though Transformation Games comply with a lot of elements that other Games hold (they are structured forms of playing), in other sense they are anti-games: there is no competition amongst participants, no winner or loser, or a higher ideological agenda beyond itself. So what is experienced within the Magic Circle of Transformation Games then?
In my reading, this experience is both an artistic (aesthetic) and a socio-political experience.
This is where the second term comes in: The Ludic Society
A Ludic Society (Ludic coming from Latin origin, meaning playful) is a temporary autonomous, self-transforming society, that has play and playfulness at its creative heart.
Meaning that it’s a society created and operated through a practice of playing. Transformation Games are such practices. In the following paragraphs, I’d like to dissect the terms used to describe the Ludic Society
Temporary: Ludic Societies are not made to last forever. They have their clear beginning and an end (an entrance into and an exit from). They are by nature transitional (liminal) Societies, that are meant to exist only for a set duration. This is because their effect blooms not within themselves, but in posterior (when returning to the ‘real world’). The pretext of this is the presence of the facility, that provides the frame, the entrance, and the exit. The facility constitutes the physical borders, the facilitators and the Social Contract of the Ludic Society.
Autonomous: The pretext of autonomy is based on the Social Contract. It is unalterable and non-negotiable in its terms. It is the law of physics, the rule of the game – the Magic Circle in anthropology. The Social Contract (as all others in the Facility) is a Support Structure, enabling (and not limiting) agency by providing a safe space to return to. Furthermore, it creates inside and outside. Everything that is within (the Magic Circle) is it, and everything without is not it. In Ludic Societies, the Contract is not readymade, but established and accepted by all participants each time, during the Society's foundational moments.
Self-Transforming: Ludic societies are created through acts of self-transformation, such as role-playing, costume playing, neologism, alternative and altered modes of communication. While inputs from the ‘outside’ might enter the Ludic Society, they are implemented after screening, translation, and assimilation within the ‘natural laws’ of the Contract. Same way the legitimacy of these tactics ceases to exist with the disbandment of the Contract.