Started by Michael S. Miller, April 15, 2012, 04:29:56 AM

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Michael S. Miller


This thread will contain the text of the game itself. If you want to discuss the game, feel free to open another thread to do so. Apologies for the requirement, but the game must be formatted as a series of forum posts here on The Forge. You'll see why.

In <meta>forum</post> you portray role-playing game enthusiast active on The Forge from 2000 to 2012. The game must be played online, in a series of forum posts on The Forge. It ought to be played in the last two weeks of May 2012, just before the shutdown.

NOTE: I have not coordinated with Ron or Vincent about whether this sort of play-by-post would actually be allowed, or whether the random thread generator will remain functioning. It is very possible that it would not, and therefore this game can never be played as written. If you feel this violates the contest requirements, then you may disqualify it.

This game is an entry in the 2012 Game Chef: Last Chance. The word count is 2,346. For judging purposes, the ingredients used are four threads from The Forge, generated randomly. The threads, and what the game takes from each, are:

Thread # 8281
[Devout] Core reworking of system
October 8, 2003
The game's Notions are based heavily on the tenets of faith discussed in this thread.

Thread # 8553
Diceless Binary Randomizer
November 3, 2003
The bit-based randomizer used in several places in the game comes from this thread.

Thread # 21651
Magic Backpack
September 29, 2006
The Accomplishments that a character may earn and use are based heavily on the props found within the Magic Backpack discussed in this thread.

Thread # 26523
Design Philosophy: Success & Failure
July 25, 2008
This thread assumes that success and failure are all that matters in a resolution system. This game takes issue with that assumption. Plus, the probability curve of this game takes issue with the opinion expressed in this thread that 50/50 odds have little to add to a game.

I cannot begin to thank all those who have made up The Forge community, and have helped foster my own game design goals. For this game, I must specifically thank Darla Shockley for the link to random.org, Paul Czege for encouragement, and Luke Crane for terminology.

Michael S. Miller

<meta>forum</post> is a game where you portray role-playing game enthusiasts active on The Forge from 2000 to 2012. The game must be played online, in a series of forum posts on The Forge. Four players is best. It ought to be played in the last two weeks of May, 2012, just before the shutdown.

About the Randomizer
<meta>forum</post> uses a randomizer called a bit. A bit is either a zero or a one. Often, you will need a series of these zeroes and ones. The amount of zeroes or ones you need is expressed as X-bit. So, the rules might instruct you to "generate a 4-bit." That means you must generate four digits, where each digit has a 50% chance of being a zero or a one.

To generate a series of bits, go to random.org and use the following settings, where X is the amount of bits you need:
  • Generate X random integers (maximum 10,000).
  • Each integer should have a value between 0 and 1 (both inclusive; limits ±1,000,000,000).
  • Format in X column(s).
Character Creation
You will be playing a role-playing game enthusiast who is active in the online discussion forum known as The Forge. At the start of play, make a single post that encompasses all the areas below. Be aware that there is certain character information that must not be posted!
Choose a display name. This is the name that will display on the forums whenever you post. You are strongly encouraged to use your real name, but this is not a requirement.
Choose goals. Why did your enthusiast come to The Forge? What were you looking for that you could not find elsewhere? There are four possible goals in the game. All characters are driven by all four of these goals, but to differing degrees. Prioritize these goals from 1 (most important to me) to 4 (least important to me). Do not post the priority rank or share it with the other players in any way.
  • Technique: Understanding how games work.
  • Profits: Gaining commercial success through publishing games.
  • Vision: Expressing an aesthetic vision through the medium of games.
  • Rep: Gaining social standing among other game enthusiasts.
Choose Notions. Notions are ideas about games, genre, and life in general. They represent a point of view, an opinion, a belief, or a method of addressing problems. Everyone has Notions, but not everyone has fully thought through their ramifications. Your character will have four Notions. Some of them you must write yourself, and some of them will be generated randomly. Decide how many you want to write and how many you want to assign randomly. You must have at least one of each type. To assign a Notion randomly, generate a 4-bit on the table below:
  • 0000 - The rules of the game are the physics of the game world.
  • 0001 - The GM can fudge any rule for any reason.
  • 0010 - Games are about fun, the system doesn't matter.
  • 0011 - The setting is all that's important, the system doesn't matter.
  • 0100 - Fun for one is no fun at all.
  • 0101 - Every game requires a Strength stat.
  • 0110 - Games must be about action heroes in exciting, exotic settings.
  • 0111 - People play games to win, or to tell stories. That's it.
  • 1000 - If you say it at the game table, it happens in the game world.
  • 1001 - Games without dice aren't really games at all.
  • 1010 - The best game is the most realistic game.
  • 1011 - "Role"-playing is better than "Roll"-playing.
  • 1100 - Only gamers can really understand other gamers.
  • 1101 - Talking about how the game works can only ruin the fun.
  • 1110 - The only thing that matters in the game is what we say at the table.
  • 1111 - The GM controls the story, while the players control the main characters.
Choose Accomplishments. Characters start with two Accomplishments, but may gain more as the game progresses. Write one Accomplishment yourself, and generate a 4-bit on the table below to determine the other:
  • 0000 - Posts frequently
  • 0001 - Has created a web page
  • 0010 - Has designed a game
  • 0011 - Has published a game
  • 0100 - Went to GenCon as an attendee
  • 0101 - Went to GenCon as an exhibitor
  • 0110 - Organized indie games at a local convention
  • 0111 - Has played indie games regularly
  • 1000 - Has produced a podcast
  • 1001 - Blogs regularly
  • 1010 - Has written game reviews
  • 1011 - Has participated in a design contest
  • 1100 - Has run a design contest
  • 1101 - Has had traumatic experience during play
  • 1110 - Has lost friends through play
  • 1111 - Has made friends through play

Michael S. Miller

    How to play
    Once everyone has posted their characters, play may begin.

    The game is played in four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. During each Season, The Forge faces certain major events. How the characters react to these events, and how these events affect the characters, are the crux of gameplay. The seasons and events are detailed in the last section of the game, below.
    Each event has a link to the thread where it originated. Each event also has a Central Question that the community must face. Read the linked thread and make a post that summarizes how your character responds to the Central Question. Look at your character's current Notions, and consider the Central Question. Then, write a Notion that expresses your character's instinctive opinion of the Central Question. Once all players have posted their initial responses, move on to the next step.

    The Forge is a community. More than just your own opinion matters. Generate four random Forge threads by clicking this link. Read the threads. For each thread, write a Notion that expresses a way of addressing the Central Question, informed by something you found in that thread.

    In addition to writing a Notion for each thread, also assign two different goals (Technique, Profits, Vision, or Rep) to each thread. Assign each goal to two different threads.

    After the Notions and goals are set, generate a 2-bit for each thread, and read it on the following table:
    • 11 - Epiphany! Score a point for both goals. You also must replace one of your existing Notions with the Notion written for this thread.
    • 10 or 01 Deeper understanding - Score a point for one of the two goals. You may replace one of your existing Notions with the Notion written for this thread.
    • 00 - Unintended wisdom - Score no points. However, your posts have sparked some insight in a colleague. Choose two of your fellow players. You may not choose the same two players you chose last time you generated a 00. Each scores one point for one of the two goals. The receiving player chooses which goal. They must replace one of their existing Notions with either the Notion written for this thread or the Notion you wrote for your initial reaction to this event.
    Using Accomplishments: You may describe how one of your Accomplishments helps you to address the Central Question. If you do, you may flip a single bit assigned to any single one of your threads to the opposite value. That is, you can turn a zero into a one or change a one into a zero. Each Accomplishment can only be used to flip a bit only once per game.

    For the above steps, each player should make a single long post with the following:[/list]
    • Links to the four random threads
    • Clear listings of each thread's Notion and Goals
    • Each thread's original 2-bit
    • Any Accomplishments that were used to flip bits
    • Any Notions that were replaced due to Epiphany or Deeper Understanding
    • Any goal points that are assigned to other players
    After all players have made this post, any players that score points due to the Unintended Wisdom of other players must post all Notions that they replaced. In this post, players must also post their current scores in their four Goals.

    Reordering Priorities
    For any Event, after you have post your initial reaction, you may disengage from the community, as follows:

    Generate a 2-bit to determine how you disengage:
    • 00 - Get angry at the content moderator, call him names, and leave in a huff.
    • 01 - Dig your heels in, repeating your own Notions over and over, ignoring the input of others.
    • 10 - Get overwhelmed by issues outside The Forge and lose track of the pace of discussion.
    • 11 - Take a thoughtful step back and reconsider your love of games and how it fits into your life.
    Do not generate random threads, Notions or Goals. Instead, re-order the priority of your four Goals. This is the only way you can change the priority of your Goals.

    Any Unintended Wisdom directed to you from another player during this Event is lost.

    You may replace one of your Notions with one of other player's initial reactions to this Event. If you do, also give yourself another Accomplishment.

    You may not disengage in Winter.

    Wait until all the other players have posted their random threads, etc. before making a post that describes your disengagement.

    Michael S. Miller

    End of Season

    At the end of a Season, if any other player chose to replace one of their own Notions with one of your initial reactions (rather than one of your thread-based Notions), you may score one point to the goal of your choice.

    Post a general overview of how you interacted with the community during that Season. You may score one of the two goals associated with that Season.

    Choose a new Accomplishment, or write your own.

    Post your current score in all four goals.

    After all players have summarized the Season, move on to the next Season.

    Final scoring and Epilogues
    When Winter has ended, the game is over. Score final points as follows:
    • +2 points for each Accomplishment (whether it has been used to flip a bit or not)
    • +1 point for each Notion that is not one of your original Notions.
    • There is a multiplier for each of the goals, depending on the priority it is currently assigned:
    • Priority 1 (highest): x 4
    • Priority 2: x 2.5
    • Priority 3: x 1
    • Priority 4 (lowest): x 0.5
    All players post their goal priorities and final scores.

    The player with the highest overall score posts first to describe what their gaming life holds for them after The Forge closes down. Each player follows suit, from highest total points to lowest. You may not contradict anything posted by a previous player.

    This post must incorporate whichever of the following was the player's highest priority:
    • Technique: Game design principles named for your handle; Links to your articles/essays/blog posts.
    • Profits: Sales numbers; A growing game line
    • Vision: Games that have incorporated your innovations; Players whose perspectives have changed because of your games
    • Rep: Prestigious awards won; Number of social media/blog followers

    Michael S. Miller

    The Seasons and Events

    Spring: 2000-2004
    Goals: <Vision> <Technique>
    • System Does Matter
    • Central Question: What is the purpose of designing a game, and how can game design be improved?

    • The Infamous Five
    • Central Question: How does the activity of The Forge fit into the larger culture?
    Summer: 2004-2006
    Goals: <Rep> <Technique>
    Autumn: 2006-2010
    Goals: <Profits> <Rep>
    Winter: 2010-2012
    Goals: <Profits> <Vision>