Thauma is a word derived from Greek, meaning a wonder or marvel, and thaumaturgy, the magic of miracles. Games are the world’s thaumatic art form.
All games pull players into worlds with their own rules, and players have the capacity to believe that that world has some kind of tangible existence outside of themselves. It seems like a real place, and the player is more than just himself manipulating levers for fun. He develops a sense of meaning, that the place has an identity and a feeling that matters for some reason.
A game is thaumatic when it manages to do that successfully, and is why games are indisputably an art. Thaumatic games affect players just as deeply as poetry or paintings, and are just as meaningful as great movies or albums.
The tools of achieving thauma are dynamics, numina, storysense, synergy, flow, elegance, theme, enchantment, fascination, immersion, fairness, empowerment, voice and wins. Though not necessarily all at once.