I am almost certain of it, especially from the games that appeared in combinatorial game theory contexts, where they were invented primarily for research into mathematical contexts but never given a serious study to create the wealth of knowledge we have for other games.
In fact, one can argue that the Pai Sho fan reconstructed variants could have this quality to society as a whole, left as very niche games without much time in the wider sun.
Of course, I’ve had a minor musing in other spaces about games being interesting decision spaces, and interesting decision spaces having similar qualities to mathematical chaos:
- high sensitivity to small perturbations (via tactical possibilities)
- a “mixing” of these results such that different pathways can end up with similar seeming results (analogous to topological transitivity)
- the ability to find many “locally maximal” strategies that one can study and perfect without knowing if it’s truly a “best” strategy with any sureness (vaguely analogous to dense periodic orbits)
I hope any mathematicians reading this can spare me from the violence they may have in their heads upon reading this brazen analogy.
But the idea is that this vague chaotic-ness creates a sense in which one doesn’t simply follow a singular mechanism forward into further and further victory, as it becomes very hard to predict outcomes far into the future.
And like mathematical chaos, the creation of these situations doesn’t depend upon complex structuring rules, as there are likely many chaotic formulae that are relatively “simple”. So if this analogy holds, one might expect that to be true in the arena of games.
Plus of course there are culturally inspired ways of defining “simple”, where familiarity with concepts can turn complicated concepts into ones that are easily grasped intuitively, expanding the scope of “easy to learn” games.
Tack onto that the vast number of people who have ever lived and thought about games, even if a small fraction have thought about inventing them, surely only a small fraction of that went onto complete making them, a fraction of those games even surviving, a fraction of the variants of those games surviving from there, and there could be many, many games that were once invented in someone’s head with these properties and we can never discover that this happened