Teale introduces his concept of relative numbers which are “any number where there aren’t specific absolute values that determine outcomes.” Auction mechanics and victory point race-style rules are common examples.
Mike says: Seems like a really basic concept. Comparing numeric between game elements is foundational to game design. It’s more common than “absolute” numbers. Consider this: the X and Y positions of various things in the 2D space modeled by a game are relative numbers–so that means the core mechanic of movement in 2D action games, platformers, and strategy games is all about relative numbers.
I’m not a fan of the name of the concept. “Relative” to me conjures “+1” or “half”, not the mere fact that two numbers are related to one another by some third rule.