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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 32 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Limbo between prep and play (split from Poison'd thread)  (Read 1462 times)
Paolo D.
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« on: February 27, 2011, 09:44:46 AM »

Hi guys,

I'm following this thread and I'm very interested. I'm writing because I have a question:


3. And finally, to reference the older Color-First threads yet again, one of my main points there was that game design itself as well as character creation were acts of "setting the starting game board" for Currency. I wanted to investigate the diversity between fixing this setup prior to player choices vs. due to player choices, and to see whether apparent player choice was illustory in some games. Another was that many games left a crucial step of that process in a sort of limbo between prep and play, and I wanted to see which were productive limbos and which weren't.


Bold is mine.

I'm very interested in this topic: what do you mean exactly with the bolded sentence?

Best,
Paolo

edited to change the thread title for purposes of the split - RE
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 07:34:55 AM by Ron Edwards » Logged
stefoid
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2011, 05:41:26 PM »

I have a concrete example of what I think Ron means.  I playtested my game for the first time last month and it fell horribly flat.  I assumed just because I knew how I wanted people to play it, that was enough.  I hadnt stressed the importance of any particular aspect of character creation.  In particular I had some thing called 'motivations' which were supposed to drive explicit goal setting, which is what the game revolves around.  So people made some characters, paying scant regard to motivations and it was just really flat.  I was leaving character creation to the players, and then saying 'Ok, now start playing', and they went 'uh, how?'  I mean, not specifically they said that, they have roleplayed before so they had a crack at it, but it just wasnt working right.

So I went away and said THIS PART IS REALLY IMPORTANT and we played again last week and it went much, much better.  But still not so good because some players picked useful motivations and some people picked not very useful ones, so the ones with useful motivations ran with the ball for much of the time.  So again, a disconnect.  Im saying to the players 'its important to have motivations!!!'   but Im not telling them how to choose a good one from a bad one so the end result was random.

Ive gone back to the document and underlined what makes a good motivation, and why.  hopefully that will reduce the 'limbo'.

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2011, 07:36:42 AM »

The two posts above were split from [Poison'd] Trying to understand Currency and Reward Systems.

I'm getting burned out on too many threads at the moment so I'll leave this to others' discussion at the moment, and will try to join in again later.

Best, Ron
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Alfryd
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2011, 09:11:07 AM »

ve gone back to the document and underlined what makes a good motivation, and why.  hopefully that will reduce the 'limbo'.
What did you consider to be examples of bad motivations?  Not that I disagree with their importance, but what were you aiming for, specifically?
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stefoid
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2011, 12:43:20 PM »

One that is irrelevant or weak.

Irrelevant to the premise of the game.  I dont mean the ethical capital P premise of nar themes, but the 'mission statement' of what the characters will be doing in the game.  i.e.  the premise of D&D is "the players aim to get treasure by exploring dungeons and killing monsters'

A character whose motivation is write love poetry has a bad motivation for this premise.

The primary purpose of motivations in my game is to drive (self motivate) the character, or complicate their lives, so a weak motivation is something that doesnt do either of those things (for my game). 
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stefoid
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2011, 02:22:57 PM »

I added the reformatted setup section of my game to my sig.  Hopefully it explains exactly what Im talking about!!   

does it?

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stefoid
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2011, 02:28:31 PM »

err, no I didnt because google docs links are so long I dont have enough space in my sig to do that, so here is the link

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B5W32IfgIIkrOWYxNjg2MDEtZWQ0OS00YmIxLTk5ZTYtNDVmZjY0NWMyYjY3&hl=en&authkey=CLaJ4P4J
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Alfryd
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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2011, 02:37:43 PM »

I added the reformatted setup section of my game to my sig.  Hopefully it explains exactly what Im talking about!!
I downloaded the .pdf, and I'll definitely give it a look over.  Cheers.

If you're having trouble with big links, you can always try tinyurl. :)
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stefoid
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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2011, 03:51:42 PM »

Obviously the premise of D&D is 'the characters aim too..."  not "the players aim to..."

I suppose thats the difference in the two premises - nar premise is the aims of the players, while the premise Im talking about involves the aims of the characters.
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Alfryd
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« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2011, 07:01:27 AM »

Obviously the premise of D&D is 'the characters aim too..."  not "the players aim to..."
I would argue that in a lot of Hard Core Gamist play, which D&D can lean toward, the distinction is really wafer thin.  Treasure and XP accrued, among other variables, basically becomes a kind of scoring system between the players.  Which can be perfectly fun.

Also, I would argue that Nar play, while hardly exclusively reliant on Actor stance, does need to maintain some degree of respect for character motivations.  Hence, well, all the emphasis on Motives in your game.

But I understand what you mean by premise in this context, and how it needs to be tailored for the setting/situation in question.  Thanks for the info.
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stefoid
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« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2011, 03:31:07 PM »

Obviously the premise of D&D is 'the characters aim too..."  not "the players aim to..."
I would argue that in a lot of Hard Core Gamist play, which D&D can lean toward, the distinction is really wafer thin.  Treasure and XP accrued, among other variables, basically becomes a kind of scoring system between the players.  Which can be perfectly fun.

Also, I would argue that Nar play, while hardly exclusively reliant on Actor stance, does need to maintain some degree of respect for character motivations.  Hence, well, all the emphasis on Motives in your game.

But I understand what you mean by premise in this context, and how it needs to be tailored for the setting/situation in question.  Thanks for the info.

Whether or not you get nar play as defined by Ron out of my game will depend mostly on the agenda of the group playing it.  Its not one of those games where a theme is built into the mechanics and situation the game presents, right out of the box.  At best you could say that the game offers mechanics that are mildly supportive of nar play, but I dont think a group that isnt into nar will spontaneously generate heaps of theme addressing -- more like occasionally as a by product of fun play, whatever label you want to attach that play is fine with me, as long as its fun and functional.
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