Started by Joe Murphy (Broin), January 23, 2008, 07:38:20 AM
QuoteIt's even quite possible for no character at all to become a protagonist, and indeed, there are spy novels like that. Admittedly, rather cold and bitter ones, but they do exist.*snip*I saw exactly what you're talking about, or what's implied by your description, during playtesting - people with role-playing backgrounds had to get over their notion that this character we made up before play is automatically going to be the protagonist of the story. The good news is that, like so many other assumptions we've exploded here at the Forge, it seems insurmountable until you do it, and then you say, "Huh! Why was I so stuck on that?" afterwards.
Quote from: Valamir on January 24, 2008, 06:04:42 PMLet's say its the climactic scene of the whole sordid tale. This is the scene which decides who lives, who dies, whether the principle's family gets out alive, all of it. My card is the King.Here's the deal...no Kings. What's my ability as the player to impact this flashpoint?...pretty much nothing.
Quote from: Valamir on January 25, 2008, 12:18:34 PMMy point was, and remains simply this: As a player you have absolutely no means to tactically influence how much of an impact you will or won't have during the flashpoint...over whatever issue is involved. You as a player are powerless to affect that. The random draw of cards determines that.
Quote from: Reithan on January 25, 2008, 03:11:06 PMWhere can I find more information on this game? It sounds like a really good source of material, inspiration, or just a good play in general (provided the mentioned problems get resolved...or turn out to not be problems.)
Quote from: Ron Edwards on January 26, 2008, 11:16:26 AMHi Gordon,I appreciate your post and think feedback of this kind is wonderful as a designer - it's a door to understanding the game, a sharing of a willingness to try my game, an even more important willingness to say "can our minds meet" about it. At the individual level, you and me, it's what I want.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on January 26, 2008, 11:16:26 AMI see no way out at that level. I fear the damage is done and that Spione is now a target for detractors and a write-off for anyone who'd be interested. I also fear forlornly saying to less and less people over time, "But some people really liked it when they played too ..." Does it matter that successful and provocative actual play is described at other sites? I don't know.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on January 26, 2008, 11:16:26 AMWhat that means is, I'm struggling with how to illustrate here what the book says that clearly did not get communicated for this particular group. It's frustrating to imagine responses that say, "Oh, well, see, Ron doesn't explain things in his books and has to talk about them on-line," which is a standard riff, when all I'm going to do here is repeat stuff that's in there. So Gordon, please let me know whether any of the following makes any sense. 1. There is no purpose whatever to the Maneuvers phase except to put the two principal characters into the Cold. Playing Spione without this being explicit is like playing poker and forgetting to mention to the group that you will be betting with real money.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on January 26, 2008, 11:16:26 AM2. The game is intended to be relevant at a personal/political level, which is hard to explain since it's not about being preachy (the default hearing of the word "political" today). It's a matter of bringing in elements with resonance, or also of finding something at least interesting or revelatory in the background information. Moreno, you have an intense personal history regarding fascism, the CIA, and Italian politics. Did you share that with the group? Did any such issues arise in the story? If not, then I'm not sure what to say or do.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on January 26, 2008, 11:16:26 AM3. The "Spy vs. Guy" genre is almost totally alien to gaming culture, although not necessarily to individuals within it. The very word "spies," in the context of RPGs to date, means action, skill, coolness, training, disguise, and ultimately, unthinking patriotism. It can be campy and rapid-fire, like Bond, or all grim and moody, like 24 - they are the same, i.e., they are Thrillers. Spy vs. Guy is not Thriller. None of what "spies" means in Thrillers applies at all. It may interest people to know that Richard Helms, arguably the most politically significant CIA chief in history because he was subtle, despised The Spy Who Came in from the Cold with every fiber of his being. He rightly diagnosed it as a threat to the secret culture of intelligence and to the U.S. version of the Cold War itself, which he considered holy. To turn it around to my way of thinking, as I consider Helms to have been basically a reptile in human form, the Thriller borders on literary evil. I don't ultimately despise every example of it, and can find many of them fun, but as a whole the genre is pure propaganda in the negative sense, with concrete and terrible effects in reality, as manifested again and again, e.g. From Russia With Love (John F. Kennedy's favorite book) and most recently 24 (each season of which is eagerly perused by guards and interrogators in Guantánamo for ideas).Unless the group is at least interested in the Spy vs. Guy concept, which goes well beyond the notion of "a guy in trouble! can he trust his masters?" into the realm of nearly-surreal political horror, then again, I guess I don't know what to say. Points #1-3 are so tightly intertwined that they are really a single concept.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on January 26, 2008, 11:16:26 AM4. The piecemeal, small-unit, unpredictable construction of scenes, actions, and conflicts is not a new way to do things, but a formalized version of what really happens without being acknowledged in many groups. All I can do is to ask you to accept, provisionally, that it can work, and to considering shifting to expectations of play that differ from "where this scene is going" and "what I want to see happen." I tried to articulate that a little bit in my earlier post, on the first page, using PTA as the explicit contrast, so I'm interested in your responses to that. I'd like to hold off on discussions of group size and other procedural features until we talk about it.Thanks again for posting, and again, for playing.Best, RonP.S. Oh yeah! There is a diagram of play available on the site, using little pictures and circles and arrows. I don't know whether you used it, nor do I think it's a perfect blueprint for play that will perfectly educate anyone about everything. So check it out and see what you think.