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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 174 - most online ever: 660 (January 18, 2023, 03:22:41 PM)
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Author Topic: Toy Quality  (Read 16522 times)
LordSmerf
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Posts: 864


« Reply #30 on: January 26, 2005, 01:57:20 PM »

Quote from: M. J. Young
In my first years as a DM I had this crazy idea. I happened to have a lot of sheets of three inch by eleven inch paper. As I created scrolls as part of treasure lots, I would take a sheet of paper, write at the top who could read it (e.g., "Requires Read Magic", "Can be read by anyone", "Curse takes effect on opening"), write the name of the spell or scroll in the middle, and then roll it up and tape it. I kept these in a Dr. Scholl's sandals shoebox (the box slid into the cover like a drawer), and would hand the real scrolls to the players when they found them in the dungeon. I would put a note on the outside of the scroll indicating where it was or would be found, so I could identify them without breaking the tape.

It very quickly proved unmanageable. I had to pack up all the scrolls at the end of the session, which meant I had to figure out which were whose when we returned. Also, I had to search through the box for each scroll when it was discovered. I don't know how much it added to the fun for the players (they never said anything about it), but I'm not sure the complications were worth the benefits.

Sometimes toy factor has to be balanced against other issues, I think.

--M. J. Young


I'm not sure if this was in response to my statement:
Quote from: LordSmerf
That said, I think that since Toy Quality is a different kind of good it should be included wherever possible. That is, if you can give your game higher amounts of Toy Quality without sacrificing it's RPG-ness then you should. The game will be better for it in every case.

but if so, that's exactly what I'm getting at.  The RPG-ness (or rather some aspect of it, Handling Time maybe?) was sacrificed for cool props.  The degree of sacrifice was not outweighed by the coolness of the props in the case of your group.  One thing I consider to be very interesting is the degree to which RPG-ness loss will be tolerated for increased Toy Quality (or not) by different groups.

Thomas
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C. Edwards
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Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2005, 01:59:21 PM »

My main issue with the examples of Toy Quality so far is that many of them use "toys", the physical objects being utilized, to demonstrate Toy Quality in an rpg. It's kind of circular because toys by definition would automatically possess Toy Quality. Other examples discuss the interactions and permutations of certain rpg mechanics as possessing Toy Quality.

So, we need to either discuss the physical props or we need to discuss the rules that are being used to manipulate the props. The props are toys and the mechanics possess Toy Quality. I think this whole concept will stay hoplessly muddled until that distinction is made.

edit: The examples that illustrate the toyness of props seem to show a coupling of raw play and aesthetic appreciation. While the mechanics examples show a relation, I think their appreciation is also dependent upon manipulation of (relatively) complex variables. The manipulation of a Transformer or Rubix Cube could be seen as comparable to the mechanics manipulation that is being termed Toy Quality.

-Chris
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Callan S.
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« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2005, 03:12:02 PM »

Rich: Great post and great examples! :)


Everyone: Oooh jeez...do we have to go on the definition go round? By a group looking at the examples, you get a fair idea of which hold this entertainment type, and then we can work on duplicating this. Once you know how to duplicate something, you can pick apart that process to define parts of it. But right now it's as if we want to name/define a newly discovered animal without having studied it first.


Thomas: If I had to, I'd say this toy quality is closest to simulationism. If you think about it in those terms, it's not a 'What am I giving up?' situation, it's 'What am I focusing on'. I mean, if your focusing on one CA, it's because you decided too, so your not worried about giving up another CA type to get there. If you wanna do gamism, you don't worry about how you've 'lost' narrativism.

In terms of M.J's example, I've had similar problems with props. I've also had problems the first time I've tried some (vanilla, I think) narrativism it didn't work out well...indeed, there often seem to be speed bumps. With time those bumps are smoothing out. I'm not sure a 'The first time I tried this' story is indicitive of effect on play.

But in general, I think what you have is that playing with the toy is a primary goal. Cow boys and indians roleplay starts with something like "I shoot you!". Kids who are playing with a transformer will usually play with it first, then declare it shoots someone elses toy. Adults might do some SIS first, but I think focus on TQ means its comes first in a similar way to kid with the transformer.
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Philosopher Gamer
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LordSmerf
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Posts: 864


« Reply #33 on: January 26, 2005, 03:48:14 PM »

Quote from: Noon
Thomas: If I had to, I'd say this toy quality is closest to simulationism. If you think about it in those terms, it's not a 'What am I giving up?' situation, it's 'What am I focusing on'. I mean, if your focusing on one CA, it's because you decided too, so your not worried about giving up another CA type to get there. If you wanna do gamism, you don't worry about how you've 'lost' narrativism.


I'm not sure that I agree with you here, Callan.  Partially because, when I do game design, I do think about CA's and "giving them up" as it were.

Let's say that I want to design a game that's primarily about some theme.  I whip up this great little Narrativist facilitating system.  But, I also like the competition that Gamism provides, and if possible I'd like to see that in my game too.  This serves a dual prupose: 1. It makes the game fun for multiple reasons, some days I may enjoy playing for the competition, some days for the Theme.  2. It (possibly) allows for functional play involving Gamist and Narrativist players.

However, certain elements that I add for Gamist support purposes may weaken the game's support for Narrativistic play.  If my primary purpose is to facilitate Narrativism, then that secondary purpose of facilitating Gamism is going to have to take some hits.

On the other hand, I may develop a great mechanic to support Gamist play that has little or no effect on the game's ability to support Narrativist play.  If this is the case then you bet I'm going to include it.  It accomplishes a secondary goal without inhibiting the primary goal.

One of the important things to note here is that each designer (and each game under design for that matter) will have some threshhold to gauge what consitutes "too much" loss of the Primary focus.

And all of that is strictly within the realm of a game's RPG-ness.  I'm suggesting that Toy Quality is a totally seperate quality, and that adding it does not impact the balance of RPG-ness in the same way.  I'm sure there has to be some sort of impact, but I'm not yet sure what that looks like.

Thomas
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C. Edwards
Member

Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #34 on: January 26, 2005, 04:48:28 PM »

Hey Callan,

Quote from: Noon
But right now it's as if we want to name/define a newly discovered animal without having studied it first.


It looks to me like two related types of animals are being studied as if they were one type of animal.

As far as duplication, I think this thing Ben is calling Toy Quality gets duplicated all the time quite intentionally. The desire to capture it is probably the base impetus behind most non-rpg game design.

-Chris
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Callan S.
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Posts: 3588


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« Reply #35 on: January 27, 2005, 03:56:36 PM »

Thomas: I understand you a bit better now. But it's a bit of a deep end question...it's hard to find out how gamism and nar might clash until you got some concrete rule examples to look at, even though many people here are quite familiar with GNS. Right now I think were not to familiar with TQ, and were looking at adlibbed goes at it, without much structure. I'd look into making a structure which gives TQ, then once it roughly works, pulling back and thinking 'Okay, what does this structure do to play? Would all other structures with its goal do the same?'

C. Edwards: Fair enough. It's just my manifesto is to get practical results first and work on theory latter, as the former supports the later. So if we can duplicate TQ formally (even though we don't understand it to well), we can look at how we duplicated it to work out theory. And that theory is just to help more practical results, so it's good to start with them. Anyway, that's my pitch said about twice now so I'll stop. :)
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Philosopher Gamer
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