Started by Ron Edwards, October 28, 2008, 07:43:08 PM
Quote(4) Ron, this 'positioning' stuff is so crucial I can't believe it does not appear in every other thread here (but in retrospect, maybe it does, under the cover of other stuff). It's also a bit frustrating for me: I seem to be close to grasp something new, but I'm also sure I'm not quite there yet. I *think* I understood positioning in general terms; but in my head, the new concepts perfectly 'lock-in' with my original questions, to the point of reinforcing them. Specifically, you said:QuoteIn this game, there are many detailed features of a character, in addition to the basic attributes and skills: Clan identity, Advantages, Disadvantages, and a list of 20 questions. My point is that most of them are very easily identifiable as Positioning, but that I am also choosing to regard all of them as Positioning, even indirectly.On casual or raw inspection, that particular advantage is Effectiveness, but I have chosen to regard Effectiveness and Resources as expressions and reinforcements of Positioning - I took pains to make Positioning central even though the various rules of L5R are a bit of a mess in helping to focus on it, and, if I really had to pin it down numerically, tend toward Effectiveness as where most of character-building effort lies.
QuoteIn this game, there are many detailed features of a character, in addition to the basic attributes and skills: Clan identity, Advantages, Disadvantages, and a list of 20 questions. My point is that most of them are very easily identifiable as Positioning, but that I am also choosing to regard all of them as Positioning, even indirectly.
QuoteIn my understanding, you (and, very importantly, all the people playing with you) had a clear creative agenda in mind, and according to this, you used whatever tool the system gave you to make it happen, even if the tool itself wasn't probably the best to do that, and even if the tool turned a simple thing into a complex one. Yes, you can eat a pork chop with a spoon, if you want. Which makes me wonder, isn't this an exemplary case of system drift?Now, if the above is true, one alternative way of describe what you did could perhaps be the following. You read the L5R rulebook, which was your sole medium through which you could learn what this game was. The text was completely silent in how to support your crateive agenda, but you saw how that system could be used toward that end nonetheless. And now the crucial point that's giving me hedaches: in my opinion, even if you then played L5R completely by-the-book (re: the system mechanics), you *added* a meaning that wasn't originally there, by functionally drifting the system. So, in my current way of seeing things, you didn't play *the* L5R game; the text vagueness renders it impossible to state whether the way you played is the one that its author envisioned, or not.Now, I'm finding strong analogies between what you described for L5R and what you suggested I should consider for ThePool. I can see the merit of your suggestions, and they'll help me a lot in my future sessions. But, given the reasoning above, did't you basically suggested me something very close to drifting the system? I mean, with ThePool it's a way more subtle and small drift wrt that you needed to do with L5R, but isn't it system drifting nonetheless? I ask this because I still cannot tell how my way of communicating/playing ThePool was less "by the book" than yours (prior to my "patch"); BUT, I can see that mine was a *much less functional* drift given my Story Now CA.What was the specific system portion drifted? The traits rules. Why? Because The Pool, I literally mean the written text, leaves me in the dark re: how to use this technique in my games. I was in a position in which I *needed* to add something to the system; and that something I added was probably not the best solution. Now I can see it.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on October 28, 2008, 07:45:48 PM But for whatever reason, in the history of that dialogue, no one had trouble instantly identifying Traits as a Positioning device, perhaps not central to the thematic potential of play, but at least not disruptive to it.
QuoteQuote"Positioning: A Character Component. Behavioral, social, and contextual statements about a character. Formerly (and confusingly) called Metagame. See also Currency."So are you saying that you understood traits as statements about the character, but not how traits should be written to support what the players want from the game?
Quote"Positioning: A Character Component. Behavioral, social, and contextual statements about a character. Formerly (and confusingly) called Metagame. See also Currency."
QuoteTo address the issue a little more, especially your final note, would you say that all (most?) successful play requires a period of "settling in" to a system, working out how to use the game, if not "as intended" (which I agree is a red herring) then in a way that works for that group? Most game rules give you quite a bit of scope for how particular mechanics are employed, and, especially in groups that play the same game a lot, idiosyncratic play styles develop. I would argue that some of the best games facilitate this process rather than fight it.
QuoteI guess what I'm asking is, is there ever not Drift, in the sense of using a set of rules to achieve a goal? That's obviously a useless way to define Drift, because it's everywhere, all the time. But could you call Drift the amount of work you have to do to get to the kind of play you want from the rules as written?
QuoteThe idea of how much you, as a designer, should make explicit the goals of the game in terms of how it should be played is really interesting to me in that respect. Should a good game obviate the need for such an explicit statement? Given that the author's intent is irrelevant, why make that clear in the game at all?
Quote from: Ron Edwards on October 28, 2008, 07:45:48 PMThe game author's intent is actually irrelevant. You will find in general that "intentions" play no role in the Big Model at all, or more accurately, intentions are never invoked as a unique causal factor. Drift refers to what the play-group is doing, with no reference to the game author whatsoever.
QuoteIs Drift always about a change in CA? Is houseruling your game to make it "more realistic" or faster or so that Katanas are more awesome an example of Drift? Is Drift something that is either present or not, or is it a matter of degree? ... What is the concept of Drift useful for? Are we using it to identify when a group is going "off the reservation" with a game, such that normal successful practices for playing that game may not be successful for them? Are we using it to more successfully describe techniques for changing CA within a given rules set? What's the most useful definition of Drift?
QuoteWhat about the intentions of the author of that drift? The one person who (successfully) directs that drift? (that includes whether they know it or not that they directed it)I'm not sure it detaches from the game authors intention when it's just a matter of someone at the table taking over the authorship position (probably the GM/person who owns the book).
QuoteMind you, I'm skeptical how creative agenda apparently just kinda...forms out of social contract, in the big model. I rather think creative agenda is decided outside of social contract by one individual (ie, the big arrow starts earlier than the social contract). ...
QuoteAny social mechanisms by which CA forms are actually acknowledged in the model
QuoteMy understanding of the forge term drift was that it occured in your point #2, because the text/rules didn't really push any particular kind of fun. I'd taken drift to mean that with the one text, I'd think it was gamist, while the guy over there takes it in a sim or nar direction. Drift was more like a description of how some people or whole groups can use the same text yet be so far away in terms of play - they got there by drifting there. It explaned alot to me about why people at the same table could be on such different wavelengths. On reflection I think I just invented this meaning for drift.
QuoteHere's probably one of those annoying questions: Why did you all take a supposedly strong gamist text like 3E and go nar with it? Why take a wrench and use it like a hammer? To further complicate that question, I'm not sure 3E actually is a strong gamist text. Everyone goes 'Oh, of course it is' and leaves it at that...but where's any actual evidence or critical method for determining that? Perhaps as a text its still in much in the same position as #1? That's my second annoying question, sadly.
QuoteIf I remember correctly, the concept of drift arose out of a need to describe one aspect of functional and dysfunctional play. This necessarily implicates Creative Agenda, which is a core concept of functional play. Specifically, Drift has always been about shifting from one CA to another as a function of actual play. Any misuse of the term to mean simply changing the rules of a game (without changing CA) is a red herring insofar as arriving at an working definition is concerned. In other words, it is very possible to change the rules of a game without shifting its CA. This isn't Drift, it's just an expression of preference within a given CA.
QuoteThe question of what a group Drifts from is an interesting one. I have always taken it to mean, "Drift from the objective CA of a game as defined by what the text encourages." This is not a reflection of author intent, much in the same way that the theme of a book or movie has nothing to do with the author's intent. It is defined only by what appears in the finished product.
QuoteI think Drift is also strong enough to encompass the shift from the CA that a group begins playing with to another CA during play. In other words, you have to pick a starting point, but that starting point isn't as important as the shift itself -- at least not for purposes of defining Drift.
QuoteQuote- arriving at CA by putting rules into practice (your "adapting") to get System and presumably a functioning CAThis is certainly not Drift as I've defined it. Learning a game is learning a game. You can't Drift if you don't have a CA to Drift from. To me, this is an entirely different phenomenon.
Quote- arriving at CA by putting rules into practice (your "adapting") to get System and presumably a functioning CA
Quote... But I suspect it's something closer to this: We tried to learn the game. That didn't work. So we had to change things to make it work.But is it really drift if there isn't an effective starting point? The game text doesn't support one CA or another. The group didn't start out with a coherent CA. Therefore, intellectually, I tend to say "No Drift," even as I am aware that I've used to term to mean just that.
QuoteWhat I would add to the list of questions is this scenario: Each player begins the game with a different CA in mind. In play, we see each player attempt to push his own ideas about CA (dysfunctional play). But then as the game proceeds, the group arrives at a common CA. This may or may not involve rule changes. Is that Drift?