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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 29 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [DitV] Play by Post Game?  (Read 2442 times)
Michael Pfaff
Member

Posts: 24


« on: May 29, 2009, 05:36:42 AM »

Hiya. I've just recently discovered this amazing game called Dogs in the Vineyard and I'm quite entranced by the game. I found this forum and I've been even further enamored by the stories about actual gameplay.

I must say, I'm so interested in giving this game a shot (my group is currently invested in two ongoing D&D campaigns and I doubt they'd be interested in abandoning a session for a new untested game). Are there any Play by Post forums that might be hosting a DitV game I could find?

Thanks.

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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2009, 05:52:46 AM »

I don't know of any myself, but I'm pretty sure there are some. Somebody help us out?

-Vincent
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Rustin
Member

Posts: 95


« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2009, 09:04:17 AM »

I would recommend Snailspace.

I seem to recall a DitV game going on there at one point.

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Michael Pfaff
Member

Posts: 24


« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2009, 12:10:50 PM »

Hey! Thanks for the hasty replies. I've already applied for membership at Snails Pace. I'll post something as soon as I get approved. :)
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Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 547


« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2009, 03:11:17 PM »

For people who speak Italian, the forum www.gentechegioca.it has a section for play-by-post games. At this moment there is a DitV game (I am the GM), and others games of Spione, Don't Rest Your Head, In A Wicked Age, and the Solar System
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 771

roll-player


« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2009, 07:24:16 AM »

DitV is not very well suited for PBF play as it is and I wouldn't expect it to produce even remotely similar gaming experience when played that way. However, if you can't find players locally, you might want to consider VT play with some VoiP application (e.g. Skype + Vassal Engine combo).
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Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 547


« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2009, 09:49:40 AM »

Seeing the results of these play by forum, I wouldn't consider DitV the worst game to play by forum: the slow pace give it even a more "hard" edge, giving people a lot of time to think very nasty raises. I am very satisfied with the PbF I am GMing now (where the mother of a pregnant 15-years old abused girl gave a potion that cause abortion to a Dog and said to him "I can't choose between damning my soul or saving my child's future. But you can kill without sin. YOU make her drink this!"). The only problem it's that it's slooooow...  several months for a single city... My advice is to play with no more than two players.

A game that instead we discovered work very, very well in play-by-forum is Spione. And the interesting thing is that work differently than played tabletop, it's a very different face of a very good game.

P.S.: the links I posted above don't work. These are the right ones:
The forum: www.gentechegioca.it
The play-by-forum section: www.gentechegioca.it/vanilla/?CategoryID=7
Games in progress at this time:
Dogs in the Vineyard
Spione:
Solar System
In a Wicked Age
Don't Rest Your Head:
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 771

roll-player


« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2009, 10:22:16 AM »

Moreno,

In any of those games you're thinking about, did you use the system as is? Because I can't imagine how this system could be used in PBF environment without some serious modifications of play procedures, formal or not. The scope of difference is even greater than with larping.

It seems to me you must have been playing an entirely different game, even if DitV's setting and premise were used to the letter. It's not about whether those PBF gaming experiences of yours were successful in themselves or not, but whether they constituted accurate DitV (as designed) play. I can't imagine how the game as is could be played in PBF environment more than I can imagine some PC game's DVDs used to play that game on Playstation.

The medium is plain not compatible with the system as designed. Surely, cool kids can hack a game for different medium that produces equivalent gaming experience, but that's not what I'm talking about when I say the game is not very well suited for PBF play.
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Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 547


« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2009, 11:44:36 AM »

Moreno,

In any of those games you're thinking about, did you use the system as is?

Exactly as is. The game manual is the absolute authority on any rules discussion. Maybe with some hacking it would be possible to solve the slowness problem, but seeing that the play-by-forum was started as a sort of tutorial for people who didn't understand how to play DitV at the table, I wanted to play with the same exact rules.

The fact that it's possibile to play DitV without any rules modification is one of the things that make it suited to play-by-forum  (if you are not disturbed by the slowness). Not many rpgs can be played that way without some house rule.

In Spione's case, the way it's played allowed a very fast playing time with a little house rule: during the Maneuver phase, there is a time limit and then the following player can post his/her move without waiting

Quote
Because I can't imagine how this system could be used in PBF environment without some serious modifications of play procedures, formal or not. The scope of difference is even greater than with larping.

It seems to me you must have been playing an entirely different game, even if DitV's setting and premise were used to the letter. It's not about whether those PBF gaming experiences of yours were successful in themselves or not, but whether they constituted accurate DitV (as designed) play. I can't imagine how the game as is could be played in PBF environment more than I can imagine some PC game's DVDs used to play that game on Playstation.

Can you give an example of a DitV play procedure that you think it would impossible to play by forum?
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Michael Pfaff
Member

Posts: 24


« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2009, 11:15:11 PM »

Seems like DitV is perfect for PbP.

Just for your edification, I did wind up convincing a friend and my wife to play a session. My wife and I loved it, and I think my friend was impressed.
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Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 771

roll-player


« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2009, 01:32:58 AM »

Moreno,

Quote
Can you give an example of a DitV play procedure that you think it would impossible to play by forum?

Just about any rule that relies on real-time interruptions won't work in asynchronous communication, unless you apply it retroactively (which completely changes the flow of communication, and therefore turns the entirety of system structures built on this foundation upside down). This inlcudes play procedures like kibitzing, veto, say yes or roll the dice and so on. All the processes that normally linger at the back of player's head waiting for a trigger are delayed. The delay messes up the default communicative arrangement of the system.

If the given session used long blocks of text per post (most of PBFs I've seen so far did), applying such communication interrupt rules would potentially require the players to rewrite a lot. Adds to the workload and possibly produces confusion and/or frustration. If the game used mainly short exchanges (as some D&D PBFs I've seen), there would be a lot of pausing to make sure a given unit of information doesn't trigger a lingering process, insanely prolonging things. But I find it hard to imagine anyone playing in such a manner effectively.

Either way, even if you somehow manage to maintain the communication discipline needed to accurately apply the entire system as is, at this point it's not simply PBF slow. It's slow by frickin' Cthulhoid standards :)

Furthermore, I believe the text environment involves some factors that might prompt the players to loosen their mechanical discipline (unless you introduce some measures to discourage such behaviours, consciously or not, which alters the system by adding an additional layer of structures). E.g. I can easily imagine players driven to produce large blocks of fluff-rich text defensively, in hope the others, not wanting to force a fellow player to rewrite a piece of well-written narration, would be less likely to veto stuff or initiate conflicts. Weak mechanical discipline = weak session of Dogs.

So, on a very fundamental level, that's an entirely different system. Therefore, it's an effectively different game, and consequently a completely different (if superficially similar) gaming experience.
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Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 547


« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2009, 06:59:11 AM »

Moreno,

Quote
Can you give an example of a DitV play procedure that you think it would impossible to play by forum?

Just about any rule that relies on real-time interruptions won't work in asynchronous communication, unless you apply it retroactively (which completely changes the flow of communication, and therefore turns the entirety of system structures built on this foundation upside down).

I have observed that, in practice, the use of these rules is always retroactive, even when you play tabletop. The veto is never given interrupting someone: you let him finish, then you ask questions, then if you are not convinced you use the veto.  The same with blocking a raise: you let per player who raise finish the description of what he want to do before saying "you don't get to do it"

This is a rather general thing: synchronous communication in tabletop role-playing is a mith. To get something of the sort we should forcefully stop the other players from talking every time we want to stop their action (so, to stop the sword trust someone described, I would not describe my parry afterwards, I would punch him in the face to stop him from completing the word "hit"), so, synchronous communication at the table would no communication at all, only chaos. 

Actions applied retroactively, extensive rewrite of what's happening until the round is completed, edition of what was said or done, is normal in every sort of tabletop roleplaying, so I really don't see any difference here with play-by-forum.

Quote
This inlcudes play procedures like kibitzing, veto, say yes or roll the dice and so on. All the processes that normally linger at the back of player's head waiting for a trigger are delayed. The delay messes up the default communicative arrangement of the system.

There is a slowness problem, as I said. What at the table would require less than a second can take a week to sort in a forum communication. But even if this change my SUBJECTIVE experience (I am writing on a board, not talking with a person, how could the experience not be different), the game is still the same, the same way Chess is always chess, if you play on a table or by e-mail, the same game. The creative "button" it push, the kind of satisfaction and reward, are the same. What change it's the social environment OUTSIDE the game.

It's like playing DitV with you best friends in the world, or playing it with someone you never met before: your subjective experience change because there are changes in the social environment and in your behavior, but would you say that I am playing with a different system? What about playing with an empty stomach or after having eaten too much? After having a glass of water or after having three bourbon?

Quote
If the given session used long blocks of text per post (most of PBFs I've seen so far did), applying such communication interrupt rules would potentially require the players to rewrite a lot.

Why we should write a lot of text in a game like DitV? Most raises are a single sentence. The only longer blocks of texts are from my NPCs when they "reveal the city" narrating everything that happened before.

You call look it up yourself, I did write the link upthread. Even if you can't read Italian, the dialog of the characters is in red ink, all he rest are description of the setting and spaces, game rule explanations (it's a teaching play-by-forum, as I said), and out-of-character kibitzing (to better show how these games work, I consciously did choose to not use a different thread for out-of-character discussions. I even go off-topic talking about what happened to me the evening before, sometimes. I WANT to show that during these games people should talk to each other and not "be silent when your character is not in the scene".

Yes, it's slow. I said it in my first post. But slowness don't bother me. It's even a help for the busy players:  a slow game can be played even when you free time is rather limited, because all you need is some free minutes every few days.

Most PBF I have seen don't really use any formal game system, it's for this reason that they turn into epistolary novels. All you need to do is use a formal game system.
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
lumpley
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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2009, 07:04:40 AM »

P1nback, I dunno about these two, but I'M glad you had a good time playing.

-Vincent
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Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 771

roll-player


« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2009, 06:23:13 AM »

Moreno,

Quote
Actions applied retroactively, extensive rewrite of what's happening until the round is completed, edition of what was said or done, is normal in every sort of tabletop roleplaying, so I really don't see any difference here with play-by-forum.

The difference is scale. This is not the normal tabletop scale, where all that occurs within mere seconds. The environment messes up time factors (and psychological factors as well, I'm sure).

Quote
But even if this change my SUBJECTIVE experience (I am writing on a board, not talking with a person, how could the experience not be different), the game is still the same, the same way Chess is always chess, if you play on a table or by e-mail, the same game. The creative "button" it push, the kind of satisfaction and reward, are the same.

Of course it isn't the same game, exactly for that reason. Games tend to be designed to produce a gaming experience in a specific range, and experience can only be subjective.

The "slowness" you mention in your every post is this change. It isn't discussed a lot, but tabletop games are affected by various time-related factors. Here, for example, this creates additional time to think up your Raises. You don't have a lot of time to think about your Raise normally - that's why they tend to be spontaneous, and even if the narration is rough, this lends itself well to a strong emotional impact. I noticed that whenever people deliberate about their Raises/Sees for more than a few seconds (eyeing their Traits lists and so on), their Raises/Sees tend towards crap. In PBF, you always narrate from a position similar to a novelist. This automatically creates a certain detachment from immediate circumstances that wouldn't be there in normal play.

Chess (this one I did try in PBF environment) plays the same way only as long as we aren't considering the use and impact of Chess clocks. Chess, however, is a clinical game. I'd say a game like Quake would be a better comparison. If you slow the game down to a snail's pace, you're no longer playing Quake as designed, and the subjective experience the game produces is entirely different. The slowness means your reflexes are not tested the same way - if anything, it becomes an excercise in precision. Dogs does not rely on your reflexes, but it does rely on creativity and communication in a similar manner. The slowness of PBF environment disturbs the arrangement.

Likewise, the kind of satisfaction and reward are not the same - the part that relies on real-time interaction with other people is totally not the same. It strongly depends on the players' ability (and willingness) to accurately express their emotions in writing. Another thing is, the same person can be writing several subsequent messages in entirely different emotional states, depending on the time of writing and the surrounding factors that one never sees from the other side of the screen. PBF play does not occur in a single "ritual space" where the emotional experience is fluid and uninterrupted. You dive in and out repeatedly.

You experience the game in chunks that it wasn't designed to handle the same way (i.e. no structures for mitigating the impact of the above factors are provided).
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Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 547


« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2009, 08:40:22 AM »

Hi Filip.

It seems that we are stuck in a loop, repeating again and again the same things. And as Vincent reminded us, we are occupying P1NBACK's thread, so this is not the place for this discussion.

I am rather firm in my opinion on DitV by PbF, so I see no sense in continuing this discussion elsewhere if it stay limited to this game, but if you are interested in discussing play by forum asking for actual play experiences from other people with other games (enlarging both the scope and the number of participants in the discussion), you could post a thread in the Actual Play subforum and we could continue there.
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
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