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Author Topic: [Theory] Let's have a good look at Colour, again  (Read 12321 times)
Christoph Boeckle
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Posts: 545

Yverdon, Switzerland


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« Reply #45 on: November 05, 2009, 04:35:41 PM »

Hey Troy

What's with the lecturing? There's three pages of context to the discussion, which I'm pretty sure Fred read at least in part, since what he says makes sense in this light. Sure, the wording isn't quite what it says in the "textbook", but he is precisely discussing the topic I raised, while you just arrived here in a quite imposing manner. At least make the effort to connect with the thread's discussion and show that you understood what we're talking about. I don't want my thread to derail, please.


Fred,

Colour is detail about the other four elements (check my posts to Lior and Marshal just up there). What you're saying nicely flows into the latest point made by Lior in this thread: that Colour inspires people to create more. It goes a long way to solving the point I raised in the first post. The Colour in the AP snippet you're referencing (purely System at first, since it's a word we chose out of the blue, as per the game text, to start the session) spread and made little babies all over the Exploration picture.

I refute your allegation that this thread is going into the dangerous zone you're describing. All that I'm taking out of this thread is a little insight about what Colour really is and does and that's good enough for me.

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Regards,
Christoph
chance.thirteen
Member

Posts: 211


« Reply #46 on: November 05, 2009, 05:33:57 PM »

Troy, having read your article I like the terminology of essential and casual color. However, your essential color affects situation and character it seems. Unless I misunderstand what way "affect" is used in this model.

EG if it it important to understand the nature of a dwarven priest in specific , then that is either character, or perhaps situation? Balding is obviously a casual detail (unless that too is somehow an important detail revealing something deeply unusual or specific about the individual like they are devoted to a certain practice or are deathly ill etc). So wouldn't all color as described by the Forge be Casual detail?

I keep bringing up "an award" or "in print" because someone mentioned a question about what criteria applied to winning Ronnies in reference to color. Or so I had thought.

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Ashlin_Evenstar
Member

Posts: 6


« Reply #47 on: November 06, 2009, 03:21:00 AM »

Troy, having read your article I like the terminology of essential and casual color. However, your essential color affects situation and character it seems. Unless I misunderstand what way "affect" is used in this model.

EG if it it important to understand the nature of a dwarven priest in specific , then that is either character, or perhaps situation? Balding is obviously a casual detail (unless that too is somehow an important detail revealing something deeply unusual or specific about the individual like they are devoted to a certain practice or are deathly ill etc). So wouldn't all color as described by the Forge be Casual detail?

Good question!  Actually, the answer is just the opposite.  Almost all color discussed here at the Forge falls under the Essential Category.  Very little of what is discussed could be called Casual.  I think the hangup might be where Color and Mechanics start to blend.

It’s been said that Color does not mechanically affect the game, it just details all the other areas of Exploration.  This is true.  However, (and this is the really important part) mechanics can be assigned to Color.  For instance:

Plate Armor is Color.  +5 AC is the mechanic assigned to that Color.
Cleric is Color.  Has access portions of Magic in the PHB is the mechanic assigned to it.
Fireball is Color.  5d6 dmg to a 10’ radius is the mechanic assigned to that Color.
Cloudy Night is Color.  –2 to Perception checks is the mechanic given to that Color.

Mechanics, resolution, values, and other fiddly bits of the game do not flow from Color to other parts of the SIS.  Color is what makes those and other parts of the SIS real.  An object does not first exist in Color and then move to one of the other areas in the SIS.  The object has always introduced in the other areas with its Color.

Imagine a stone in real life.  Say that stone had no coloration, and by that I mean absolutely no visual properties at all.  Would it be real?  Would it be useful?  I wouldn’t think so.  The colors, the hardness of the stone, its shape, its beauty, its monetary value are what makes the stone interesting or useful.  Such is the same with items in the SIS and Color.  Characters cannot exist without Color. Setting does not exist without Color.  Neither do System or Situation. 

Am I clearing this up or just muddying the waters even more? :)

Peace,

-Troy
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Troy_Costisick
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« Reply #48 on: November 06, 2009, 03:25:39 AM »

Ugh, sorry.  My laptop was logged on under a different name.  That was me above.  I've tripped up on this before and have fixed it now.  My appologies, Ron.
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Troy_Costisick
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« Reply #49 on: November 08, 2009, 05:05:27 AM »

Troy, having read your article I like the terminology of essential and casual color. However, your essential color affects situation and character it seems. Unless I misunderstand what way "affect" is used in this model.

EG if it it important to understand the nature of a dwarven priest in specific , then that is either character, or perhaps situation? Balding is obviously a casual detail (unless that too is somehow an important detail revealing something deeply unusual or specific about the individual like they are devoted to a certain practice or are deathly ill etc). So wouldn't all color as described by the Forge be Casual detail?

Good question!  Actually, the answer is just the opposite.  Almost all color discussed here at the Forge falls under the Essential Category.  Very little of what is discussed could be called Casual.  I think the hangup might be where Color and Mechanics start to blend.

It’s been said that Color does not mechanically affect the game, it just details all the other areas of Exploration.  This is true.  However, (and this is the really important part) mechanics can be assigned to Color.  For instance:

Plate Armor is Color.  +5 AC is the mechanic assigned to that Color.
Cleric is Color.  Has access portions of Magic in the PHB is the mechanic assigned to it.
Fireball is Color.  5d6 dmg to a 10’ radius is the mechanic assigned to that Color.
Cloudy Night is Color.  –2 to Perception checks is the mechanic given to that Color.

Mechanics, resolution, values, and other fiddly bits of the game do not flow from Color to other parts of the SIS.  Color is what makes those and other parts of the SIS real.  An object does not first exist in Color and then move to one of the other areas in the SIS.  The object has always introduced in the other areas with its Color.

Imagine a stone in real life.  Say that stone had no coloration, and by that I mean absolutely no visual properties at all.  Would it be real?  Would it be useful?  I wouldn’t think so.  The colors, the hardness of the stone, its shape, its beauty, its monetary value are what makes the stone interesting or useful.  Such is the same with items in the SIS and Color.  Characters cannot exist without Color. Setting does not exist without Color.  Neither do System or Situation. 

Am I clearing this up or just muddying the waters even more? :)

Peace,

-Troy
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FredGarber
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Posts: 95


« Reply #50 on: November 09, 2009, 10:39:45 AM »

So, Troy, in the Standard Relationship (C*Sy*Si (Se+Ch)) of areas of Exploration, Color isn't really one thing called "Color."  It's "Essential Color" AND "Casual Color."  Both look identical to the outside observer, but sometimes System/Sitation/Setting/Character is tied to Color (eg, I wear "Plate armor" instead of "Cloth Robes", and the System changes.) and that's Essential Color, but sometimes I'm just Bald, and that's Casual Color.

For example, my character could walk into a tavern, and hear that it is well-lit and cheery.  Casual color? 
Until the moment when my character wants to extinguish those lights.  Now the GM has to determine what part of the System I have to use (water?  blankets?  magic?) in order to put out these lights, and now the light is Essential Color?
Or was it always Essential Color, but no one Explored the Color until my character thought about putting out the lights?

Is it the Design that provides the Principles by which non-ruleset Decisions (instead of Ad-Hoc) are made as to whether a snippet of Color is Essential or Casual?  How is a player to know before he tries to Explore it if the Color was Casual or Essential?

-Fred
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HeTeleports
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Posts: 66

The name's Youssef.


« Reply #51 on: November 09, 2009, 11:55:31 AM »

Mechanics, resolution, values, and other fiddly bits of the game do not flow from Color to other parts of the SIS.  Color is what makes those and other parts of the SIS real.  An object does not first exist in Color and then move to one of the other areas in the SIS.  The object has always introduced in the other areas with its Color.

Hey there Troy,
Sorry to weigh in so late in the discussion, but I've been avidly reading this along with the "Look at System again."

In the blogpost you linked, you did an excellent job categorizing two different types of color, which again adds definition - something I think the original poster was looking for.

The line of text that started Christoph's discussion in the first place was this:
"Some things Ron said back in the November results for the Ronnies stuck in my head ever since.I have been trying to make sense of them. Specifically, I'd like to pick out this fragment;
Quote
Quote from: Ron Edwards
If I can see the bigger reward system, grasp the Currency, and get bug-eyed to transform the Color into System through play (think about that one!), then the hard work is over, and it's all playtesting and refinement from here.
This one got me thinking about what Colour could really achieve in play."

I'm about to plug your two categories of color into that line. Hopefully, the Christmas lights will turn on. If they don't, I might have a loose bulb somewhere on the string.

It was the "transform Color into System" that got Christoph excited, and it's what most of the first two pages of this discussion have been wrestling with.
Your two categories for color (Casual and Effective) refer to color that hasn't been or has been transformed.
Look at the bald dwarf cleric example you make in your blogpost.
The character itself is all color, but the "cleric" and the "dwarf" definitely add to the system in tangible, measurable ways. The things the dwarf does professionally, how well the cleric will survive a cave-in, etc. Those two items are "effective" color.
I posit that those two items are pieces of color that have been "transformed into system." Because of what you and I are imagining with this character, it's going to affect the rules of how we play..
... and then the baldness.
As a victim of male-pattern baldness, I sympathize with your dwarfy cleric. A blank pate isn't going to affect my dungeon-going adventures. Meaning, at this point, the "bald" piece of color is "Casual."

Until our GM introduces an element where the baldness becomes part of the system.
Our bald, cleric dwarf needs to woo a chick. Cleric gives him some positives and negatives (some girls like a guy who's celibate); Dwarf gives him some positives and negatives (maybe the chick's short, maybe she dislikes dwarven food);... but when the GM gives our character a -3 penalty on attempting to woo this chick because the character is bald, then he has transformed the color into system.
Said another way, "inspired by the Casual color, the GM has turned that piece into Effective color."
Again: "A player at the table has taken one element of the shared imagination and established some system because of it."

I use the "GM introduces element" line because that's how DnD's system works. In other systems, the players provide similar elements; sometimes the player alone provides the color that gets harvested into system. The dynamic seems to be clearly present in the games Christoph described earlier. I like the sextant example best, though "the head in his hands" character is also inspiring.
Although role-players have been doing some form of that transformation since the beginning of the hobby (whatever game used), a good design makes that transformation easier for players to do and is a regular feature of gameplay.
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HeTeleports
Member

Posts: 66

The name's Youssef.


« Reply #52 on: November 09, 2009, 12:34:07 PM »

....aaaaand, I posted without the following postscript. I'm way to quick with the Post button.

While my post is addressed to Troy, I realize he was there and posting when Ron made the comment Christoph was thinking on.

If my post rings of "He had to say it himself to understand it," that is half-true. I've been explaining it to people in my small circles for a while now.
On one hand, I wouldn’t pretend to educate on the Forge pages. But, on the other, no one has said the “transform color into system” as baldly as I hope I have.
(accidental pun there.)

-Youssef
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Troy_Costisick
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« Reply #53 on: November 09, 2009, 04:22:34 PM »

Heya,

Fred, those are some excellent questions.  I’ll try to answer them as best I can. 

First, let’s tackle that equation.  The way Ron actually wrote it in the Big Model is Color*(System * Situation = (Setting + Character)).  For now, ignore the enigmatic part where Situation equals Setting plus Character.  If you want to talk about that, lets start a new thread.  I’m going to go back to our old Algebra classes and use the Distributive property on that equation and let C equal Color.  If we do that, the SIS actually looks like this: (CSystem * CSituation = (CSetting + CCharacter)).  To me, that’s a much more clear picture of the relationship between Color and the other elements of Exploration.

You cannot really separate Color from the other elements.  It’s always right there with them.  In fact, I submit that System, Setting, Character, and Situation do not exist without Color being firmly and inextricably attached to them.  I have yet to read an Actual Play where they did.

With that in mind, I think we can tackle a lot of your questions at once.  Let’s take your well-lit tavern example.  By the way, that was an excellent choice for an example.  You’re right to say that the light wasn’t essential to understanding the Setting until your character made it important by wanting to extinguish the lights.  The GM could have just said the building was a “tavern” and that probably would have been enough Color for everyone at the table.  So you’re good there.

The small area of contention I would have with you in your example is where you say, “…but no one Explored the Color until my character though about putting out the light?”  Yes, the light is Color but the lights are also Setting.  So a better way to phrase that question would probably be “…but no one Explored that part of the Setting Color until my character thought about putting out the lights?”  Color is not existing on its own there, it’s an integral part of the Setting.  So to answer the question you were really asking, if we’re going to use my design terminology (Essential and Casual Color) then yes, in this instance the lighting moved from Casual Color to Essential Color.  Or better yet, it moved form Casual Setting Color to Essential Setting Color.  Does that make sense? :)

Next, lets answer this question, “Is it the Design that provides the Principles by which non-ruleset Decisions (instead of Ad-Hoc) are made as to whether a snippet of Color is Essential or Casual?”  It is System not Design where decisions both rule set and non-rule set are made, and where an object can move from Casual to Essential Color.  A game’s design (i.e. rules) can set up procedures for making decisions, but it is the System (in the lumpley principal sense) where those decisions happen.  I might be misunderstanding your question, so if I am, please tell me so.

Finally, you ask “How is a player to know before he tries to Explore it if the Color was Casual or Essential?”  My first reply would probably be, “When would that matter?”  Isn’t that part of the fun of exploration?  My second reply would be to reference my article.  I defined Essential Color as Color that the players have to know in order to properly understand how to interact with a given Character/Setting/System/Situation.  That should be an adequate guide, if I’m understanding your question correctly.

Peace,

-Troy

PS: Youssef, I will get to your post as well.  I think you raise a very important issue that should be addressed. 
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chance.thirteen
Member

Posts: 211


« Reply #54 on: November 09, 2009, 07:51:48 PM »

Troy: You were clear enough the first time.

My point is that if you accept the definition of color is that is has no mechanical effects, then anything that has a mechanical effect isn't color. I can't tell if you wish to overthrow the current definition of color, or are trying to explore something else.

To me color starts with language. Anything isn't "this alters your chances of doing something" probably has color to it, because we want to assign importance to certain details of our play. Otherwise it would read like this:

"There is."

"I do something"

"Things change."

"I do something else"

Beyond that we want to know what we are doing, why that is the approach to use, what we bring to the table that gives us power to affect the situation like that, and what the consequences are. The answers to these questions are what game design seems to be about in general.

So in some games, fighting is the best way to achieve goals, and it's focused on equipment, or special abilities. In others it's about internal personal development, and posing gnarly choices for the character is the way to achieve this. And so we design cause and effect realities for each of these setups, which carry the flavor of our focus. That may or may not be called color, depending on how youwant to define the term, but I still think it will always be on a slippery slope of language.
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Troy_Costisick
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« Reply #55 on: November 10, 2009, 07:28:19 AM »

Heya,

The line of text that started Christoph's discussion in the first place was this:
"Some things Ron said back in the November results for the Ronnies stuck in my head ever since.I have been trying to make sense of them. Specifically, I'd like to pick out this fragment;
Quote
Quote from: Ron Edwards
If I can see the bigger reward system, grasp the Currency, and get bug-eyed to transform the Color into System through play (think about that one!), then the hard work is over, and it's all playtesting and refinement from here.
This one got me thinking about what Colour could really achieve in play."

Okay, there is one super-duper important thing I want to cover before going any further.  This is something I trip up on all the time. The Big Model is a model of play- that is, people sitting around a table actually and actively playing a game.  Ron’s comments in that Ronny’s quote were about design.  Design and Play are two very different things.  For better or worse, they share a lot of the same vocabulary.  But to take Ron’s comments about Designs and try to apply them to Play is just going to cause confusion.  The Color he spoke of was referring to details within the printed text of a game.  The Color most often talked about in Actual Play, especially when referring to Exploration/SIS, is details in the narration among the players.

Ron, please jump in if I’m putting words in your mouth.  The transforming Color into System he spoke of was taking the details of a game’s rules and then turning them into “…the means by which the group agrees to imagined events during play.” aka the lumpley principal.  He isn’t talking about some aspect of the SIS that exists exclusively as Color and transforming it into something that exists exclusively in System.  He’s talking about turning Design into Play (Rule Color into Play System).  It’s like he’s saying, “I can’t wait to play a dwarven cleric when 4E comes out.”

Let’s talk the –3 penalty applied to dwarven baldness.  I don’t think you have any trouble recognizing that there should be modifiers with cleric or dwarf because those are widely recognized aspects of Character and System.  But with baldness you seem to draw a line and say that’s just Color.  And you know, I can totally get that.  The amount of textual rules associated with dwarf is likely humongous, while baldness might have very few rules associated with it or be left entirely up to System as you describe in your example.  Regardless, though, baldness is no different from cleric or dwarf as far as Color is concerned.  They’re all aspects of a Character.

The difference is, from what I can tell, baldness had not had any mechanics associated with it prior to the incident with the chick-wooing.  It went from non-mechanical Character Color to mechanical Character Color. 

Over the last few posts there’s been a tendency to ascribe my Design terms of Essential and Casual Color to Play.  I hadn’t ever considered that before and perhaps my reply above to Fred suffers from crossing the line between Design and Play with terminology.  But if you are interested in trying to apply my Design terminology to Play, that’s something we can maybe explore together.  I don’t know how it will turn out. 

So, using my terminology, in the instance of Play your mentioned above, the Casual Character Color of baldness is shifted into Essential Character Color of baldness when the GM assigns it a –3 penalty and the group decides through its System that –3 is fair and appropriate.  Color, therefore, could theoretically shift from Casual to Essential and back through the System.  But it must be clear that Color does not transform into System during play.  Instead, the System merely assigns mechanics to Color as needed.

So let’s deal with the sextant.  From what I can tell, Christoph believes that because Color does not affect action or resolution it’s unimportant.  Color is absolutely key to enjoying a game.  Color is on even footing with System and Situation in Exploration when it comes to facilitating play.  I sure wouldn’t want to play anything without it.  The sextant he describes is Character Color.  Later the System incorperates that Character Color and uses the meaning that has been attached to it to resolve the Situation. 

So that’s Color being used in resolution, right?  No.  Christoph said it best, “So far, sextant or no sextant, I could have done this narration however I wished, it has strictly no effect in the essential evolution of the situation.”  The fact that it was a sextant doesn’t matter at all.  It could have been a globe, a severed head, a longsword, a compass, or any other object.  It didn’t matter to the resolution mechanics.  However, the meaning that was attached to the sextant by the players through the System is what mattered.  And it was that meaning that resolved the Situation- not the physical properties of the object.  The detail of the object was irrelevant.  The Situation would have eventually worked out in some way or fashion even if the object had been called, “Item #3.”

But regardless, the Color was always part of the Character and maybe Setting.  It was never separate by itself.  It was never detached from anything and then attached to System.  The System used it, but just like dwarf, cleric, darkness, and uneven terrain, the Color remained where it was.  Christoph is confusing Design language with Play language.

From my reading, the quote Christoph used from Ron talking in “Colour and Reward” is all about Ron’s book, not about an instance of actual play.  Again, that’s conflating Design with Play.  Especially pay attention to where Ron said, “but without Color that rivets one's attention on those before they are experienced in full, then they'll never get into action.”  This is all prior to Play.  Christoph’s sextant was created during play.  In my mind, that makes it a wholly separate topic from what Ron was talking about.

Youssef, are those distinctions making sense?

Chance, I am not in any way at all overthrowing the accepted definition of Color.  Mechanics are not Color.  However, mechanics can be assigned to Color.  Do you see that difference?  Longsword is System Color.  1d8 damage is System Mechanics.  1d8 damage is boring.  Longsword is interesting.  Calling 1d8 damage longsword makes the 1d8 damage mechanic real for the players.  The fact that it’s a longsword is irrelevant to the resolution system.  It could be a club, a mace, a baseball bat, or it could be called Item #3.  The resolution system doesn’t care.  It only cares about the 1d8 damage.  It’s the players that care about the longsword.  Does that help?

Peace,

-Troy
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HeTeleports
Member

Posts: 66

The name's Youssef.


« Reply #56 on: November 11, 2009, 11:33:50 AM »

Wow, I think I do see the distinction. It's not particularly revolutionary, distinguishing between the Design of the game and the Play of the game, but it really does discount almost all of the material in this four-page thread.

For Christoph's purposes, how does this distinction affect a revised definition of Color?

For mine, I'm trying to understand a distinction between Design and Play when talking about the very place where they actually meet. (I don't mean to suggest the distinction isn't here. I'm just trying to see it.)
The Design of the game - the text that all the players are working from - will obviously affect the Play, via the Lumpley principle. It's not the only thing that affects play, but if a rules set gives a GM the authority to set a bald dwarf at a disadvantage in a chick-wooing contest, then all the players use that text to agree to it.
As I had been reading the thread before, the thing that got Christoph excited about "Color" (undefined; what he was talking about in the last line your quoted section) was the idea that a rules set would encourage (or provoke) players to choose a piece of Color from Play and incorporate it into the System (the agreement by which the players imagine). Using that view, Christoph's quote of Ron's sounds esoteric: can I make a design that drives players to alter their game's world based on the Color the players themselves bring to it?

However, if I understand the distinction between Design Color and Play Color, Troy, the line "get bug-eyed to transform the Color into System through play" merely means "I wanna try out this game." ... ... Which is what you said, "It's like he's saying, "I can't wait to play a dwarven cleric when 4E comes out." In which case, the entire line itself (not just the bug-eyed phrase) is about clarity of Design writing. If he understands the game's rewards and currency and gets excited to play it, then the hard work is over...

If the second view is correct, then it's like discovering Samson's Hairbrush has no power. This big pursuit for four pages culminates in "Explain it well and get me to want to try it." Naturally, the subjectivity was stated plain in the contest, so it seems like a natural answer.
But by plugging in the Design vocabulary into Play discussion, Christoph fired off more than a couple of sparks in my own head (not to mention the thread's participants.) I've got half a mind to pull a Marshwiggle/Quixote: I'm going to hold with the first view (even if misconceived) because it portrays a goal I'd actually like to get to.
(Not that winning prize money is a bad idea... Hmm.)

Thanks, Troy,
-Youssef
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Christoph Boeckle
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« Reply #57 on: November 11, 2009, 03:05:44 PM »

Hi guys

This is going nowhere, as far as I'm concerned. I thank Youssef for trying to get back to my point, but it's no wonder you're finding my points esoteric, seeing which angle you chose.

Let's not care what Ron really meant. He might come around and clear that point up. Or he might not. In a certain way, right now, I don't care what he meant. What I care is that I was dissatisfied by the definitions of Colour I have found all over the place. I gave actual play examples to show why. I've shown that some things which at one point in play where just Colour (about a Character, about a Setting), were later fundamental to how the game actually ended and how it felt rewarding to me as a player. If Colour is just details that don't change action or resolution, then it doesn't describe what I reported. I'm not saying that definition is necessarily wrong, just incomplete. So I went off to say that Colour transforms into System, perhaps (Ben gave some good ideas here). Or maybe it's more that there is some other thing at work which we should describe to really get the full picture. I don't really care and I said that I would need time to reflect on all the things people said.
Then the thread was kicked off again, and Lior came and said: "Christoph, you're just saying that Colour is details which inspire." And yes, he probably captured the most significant point I was trying to isolate (and it does flow in to what was said earlier in the thread). Nobody has said that before, as far as I'm aware of. Get that. Troy's notion of Essential Colour just categorizes what is important to know in a reactive way. It doesn't say anything about how we create using it as a starting point. Plus, it's totally impossible to decide in play if Colour is Essential or Casual, this decision can only be made in retrospect (as my APs show).
So, if Colour is more than details, if Colour inspires players in making choices down the road, then yes, I can start making sense out of my observations (in this sense, the sextant gave us another ending than a washing machine would have). I'm not sure I quite grasp that thing about Colour ending as a central point of the sessions' Reward, but for the while being, I want to play some more before I make big declarations (maybe that is just a coincidence!)

See how we don't even need to reference Ron's citation any more? My point is here, regardless of Ron's point of view. See how I don't need any additional theory nitpicking? See how the Play/Design distinction is not helpful at all? If you don't care for my point of view, that's fine. I'm very happy Lior came along, I'm very happy about some other points made before, about how Colour allows us to make ad-hoc decisions. I want the thread to end here, definitely. Take your points to new threads, by all means. I'm sure good things can come out of them, but this thread needs to rest.

Thanks
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Regards,
Christoph
Troy_Costisick
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« Reply #58 on: November 11, 2009, 03:50:44 PM »

Wow, I think I do see the distinction. It's not particularly revolutionary, distinguishing between the Design of the game and the Play of the game, but it really does discount almost all of the material in this four-page thread.

-Actually, yeah, I think it does.  I don’t want to discount the fun that was produced by those Actual Play accounts.  That’s as real as real can get.  But I do believe the initial premise of the thread was based on an easy-to-make misreading of a post that was made four years ago.

For Christoph's purposes, how does this distinction affect a revised definition of Color?

-If Christoph wants to know, I’ll let him ask that.

For mine, I'm trying to understand a distinction between Design and Play when talking about the very place where they actually meet. (I don't mean to suggest the distinction isn't here. I'm just trying to see it.)
The Design of the game - the text that all the players are working from - will obviously affect the Play, via the Lumpley principle. It's not the only thing that affects play, but if a rules set gives a GM the authority to set a bald dwarf at a disadvantage in a chick-wooing contest, then all the players use that text to agree to it.

-Everything you said I agree with, except maybe that the penalty for baldness can also be something the players make up on the fly.  But I think you’re cool with that; it’s a minor point.

As I had been reading the thread before, the thing that got Christoph excited about "Color" (undefined; what he was talking about in the last line your quoted section) was the idea that a rules set would encourage (or provoke) players to choose a piece of Color from Play and incorporate it into the System (the agreement by which the players imagine). Using that view, Christoph's quote of Ron's sounds esoteric: can I make a design that drives players to alter their game's world based on the Color the players themselves bring to it?

-Yes you (or anyone) can!  And that sounds like it would be an awesome game.  You’re talking about taking an innocuous object on a character and turning it into the crux of the game?  Absolutely!  “The stone that was rejected becomes the cornerstone…” is a time honored premise and something that would make an excellent start for a game.

However, if I understand the distinction between Design Color and Play Color, Troy, the line "get bug-eyed to transform the Color into System through play" merely means "I wanna try out this game." ... ... Which is what you said, "It's like he's saying, "I can't wait to play a dwarven cleric when 4E comes out." In which case, the entire line itself (not just the bug-eyed phrase) is about clarity of Design writing. If he understands the game's rewards and currency and gets excited to play it, then the hard work is over...

-That’s exactly what he’s saying as I understood it in 2005 and how I understand it now.  However, I don’t want to put words in Ron’s mouth, so I’m totally willing to be corrected if he feels it’s necessary.

If the second view is correct, then it's like discovering Samson's Hairbrush has no power. This big pursuit for four pages culminates in "Explain it well and get me to want to try it."

-You nailed it.

But by plugging in the Design vocabulary into Play discussion, Christoph fired off more than a couple of sparks in my own head (not to mention the thread's participants.) I've got half a mind to pull a Marshwiggle/Quixote: I'm going to hold with the first view (even if misconceived) because it portrays a goal I'd actually like to get to.
(Not that winning prize money is a bad idea... Hmm.)

Thanks, Troy,
-Youssef

-All our endeavors here are Quixotic.  So you’re on the right path :)

Peace,

-Troy
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Troy_Costisick
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« Reply #59 on: November 11, 2009, 03:54:04 PM »

Christoph,

I didn't see your post before adding mine.  So I appologize if you wanted the thread to end prior to my response to Youssef.  Please feel free to ignore eveything I said.

Peace

-Troy
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