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Archive => RPG Theory => Topic started by: Callan S. on September 09, 2005, 11:53:43 PM



Title: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Callan S. on September 09, 2005, 11:53:43 PM
Just a quick question or three: What is the take of people here on RPG's which ask for users to assign mechanical resources without system guidance? Say, like a game which has some combat rules and stuff but some guy, usually the GM, is to draw up a dungeon for it (a dungeon, or whatever material suits the setting and angle of the game).

Do you see these as complete games? And so I'm not starting an opinion poll, what's the reasoning behind your answer?

If you picked up one of these games and had a fun time playing, would you attribute that result to the game? What are the reasons for your answer?

Also, what do you think about the resource structures of games and what sort of effects newly added resources have on system (and how it matters)?


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: TonyLB on September 10, 2005, 05:37:34 AM
I don't know what you mean by "complete as games," which makes it hard to answer.

If you asked me, without further context, "Is freeform RPG, with no rules whatsoever, a game?" I'd say "Yeah, of course... you can see people playing it, in ways that are strongly reminiscent of all sorts of other games, like Truth or Dare."

If, on the other hand, you asked me "Is D&D a mathematically closed system, such that the behaviors of the system itself can be understood in logistical terms without reference to black boxes from which unpredictable numbers arise seemingly at random?" I'd have to ask "Are people faithfully running pre-published scenarios, or are they making up their own dungeons and monsters?"

But "complete game"?  Does my first answer mean that freeform RPGs are complete games?  Does my second answer mean that D&D isn't?  I don't know how you want to use the term, and I don't want to leap in to saying something that can easily be read as an indictment of one type of system.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Callan S. on September 10, 2005, 02:10:27 PM
Good clarification questions! Freeform is a complete game, I agree.

By complete I should have indicated written RPG's (in whatever format/paper/PDF/etc) which specify that they are complete and portable. As in the rules are written out and another group could follow them to successfully play the game as intended by the designer, rather than some/all of the rules being in certain peoples heads and you'd need to play with them if you want to play the game.

Also, complete refers to the designers insistance that it is indeed complete. In that the game has no footnote indicating that the game is actually incomplete or a draft.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: TonyLB on September 10, 2005, 04:13:48 PM
Okay then, by that definition, the game is complete if there is no footnote saying it's not complete.  My opinion doesn't have any bearing.

It feels like you're fishing around, hoping to find somebody who will argue that such games aren't complete... and using such a vague definition that the person who bites at your bait will have to clarify what "complete" means, in order to make a thesis that they can argue.

Honestly, I'd much rather hear whether you think that such games are complete.  What's your opinion?


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Shreyas Sampat on September 10, 2005, 06:02:39 PM
By complete I should have indicated written RPG's (in whatever format/paper/PDF/etc) which specify that they are complete and portable. As in the rules are written out and another group could follow them to successfully play the game as intended by the designer, rather than some/all of the rules being in certain peoples heads and you'd need to play with them if you want to play the game.
These are not quite the same thing...

I read portable to mean that the rules are such that, when following the rules, it is not possible to fail to play the game as the designer intended, whereas your clarificatory sentence suggests that it's possible to use the rules to play the game as the designer intended, which is a much more permissive requirement.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Callan S. on September 10, 2005, 08:40:16 PM
Tony, I'd like to say my opinion but let's give non bias one more shot. The clarification isn't a definition, it's an example of 'written RPG's which specify that they are complete and portable'. The games text itself says that as an assertion (it's not me making a definition, I'm just paraphrasing what these texts suggest). Feel free to debate this assertion in any answer you give.

Shreyas, I'm not sure why your making the distinction there (I can see a distinction, but can't see why it matters). Are you saying something along the lines that "it is not possible to fail to play the game as the designer intended" just isn't possible in a design (to which I agree)? And further you might be saying that the more permissive requirement is thus inclusive of play that has the GM doing alot of unguided resource assignment? If I'm well off, can I get some more info from you about it?


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Shreyas Sampat on September 10, 2005, 09:46:04 PM
I'm suggesting that the more permissive requirement is so permissive that it's close to meaningless for the purposes of this discussion.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Gordon C. Landis on September 10, 2005, 11:20:46 PM
Callan,

OK, let me break this down: we've got a game that consists of "combat system etc." and then requires GM (or someone) effort to build a MECHANICAL (meaning just exactly what, here?) resource-containing environment for play.  But there is no "system guidance" for doing so.  Is that a complete game?

The main place I'll look is at that "system guidance" question.  What does that mean?  If the game text says something off-hand about not killing characters in the first room, is that "system guidance"?  I think the answer is yes, and thus, I guess as long as there's something like that, the game is "complete".  So I think an incomplete game is an excedingly rare thing - the "NO system guidance" qualifier basically never happens.  But a more interesting question is how much guidance, and in what form, works best to reliably produce enjoyable play? (I think we get many different answers, based on the tastes and CA's of those involved)

That's where I think you'd have to look as far as attributing the fun, too.  To what degree was that explicit and/or implicit guidance an important part of facilitating the fun?  A lot?  Then lots of attribution to the game.  A little?  Then some more attribution to the players than to the game.  It'll pretty much always be a mix, just a question of the portions involved in the mixing.

Resource structures?  Actual play always ends up being about this, in both obvious and inobvious ways.  Newly added resources can totally screw a previously-working system, or they can be a cool and fun-enhancing addition - the factors involved seem, off-hand, incredibly varied and tied to particular systems and circumstances.

As to the effect upon HOW system matters - I'm not seeing anything there.  Resource matters to system generally, and system matters to play generally, though in neither case is the first the whole of what matters to the second.  Nothing immediately occurs to me as unique about newly-added resources.  I mean, if less thought is put into the newly added stuff, then maybe you're more likely to create problems, but again that's a general truism, not a particular problem with newly addd resources.

Hope that's the kind of response you're looking for, and I join Tony in saying "hey, tell us what YOU think!"


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: TonyLB on September 11, 2005, 04:52:50 AM
Tony, I'd like to say my opinion but let's give non bias one more shot.
Why do you think you'll get a more productive discussion by not putting your own opinion into the mix?  Let us know what you think, in a way that makes it clear that you also want to know what other people think even when they disagree with you.  As it is, your very successful nods toward non-bias have also created a topic which has non-meaning.

Anyway, here's my take on something near what I think your subject is, but not using any of your terms (because I don't know what they mean):

Roleplaying has a long historical connection with a kitbashing mentality.  Many early games (and even some modern games) are built in such a way that they cannot be played as written... the rules themselves need to be interpreted and drifted before they can be used.  Because of this, very few roleplayers believe that they can have complete artistic freedom simply by using the rules as their tools.  They are accustomed to the idea that if they're going to do something really creative, they'll have to do it outside the rules as written.  That's a much subtler kind of kit-bashing... the idea of bringing in things that the rules allow, but in no way support.

Many games that can be played as written assume this mode of contribution:  a lack of rules in some area is often trumpeted as a virtue because of the increased flexibility it provides.  I think that's true and false:  If the designer found herself unable to create a good set of rules that would facilitate a particular area of design then they did the players a favor by not giving any rules at all.  But it would clearly (to my mind) have been better to provide a set of rules that supplemented and refined the original creativity of the players in that area.

So, Worst:  Rules that are actively bad.  Better:  No rules at all, rely on player creativity and judgment.  Best:  Rules that do a better job than unaided player creativity and judgment.

My problem with the term "complete" is that it isn't anything relative like "better."  It's absolute, like "good enough."  I don't know whether such games are good enough to be considered complete.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Kynn on September 11, 2005, 09:04:51 AM
This seems like a leading question.

Why are you asking it?  Why does it matter?

I'm confused.



Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Sean on September 11, 2005, 06:27:13 PM
I'll also mention, just for the record, that D&D is actually better than most games of this type, because of the random encounter tables. There are fairly concrete guidelines.

But this topic is actually way way more complicated than I thought a few months ago, so I'll shut up now.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Callan S. on September 11, 2005, 08:39:45 PM
Okay, the reason I haven't stated my own opinions is because I already wrote a rant in word about this. Then I looked at it and realised I was only explaining one side (a negative side) and not asking for discussion on it. This negtive side I proposed in the rant, was a 'emporers new clothes' type illusion. However, trying to burst the illusion with a post wouldn't help me understand it any better/learn how to burst it more effectively. You can't examine an illusion at the same time your shredding it apart in a thread.

That didn't work out. So as asked for, my opinion is that despite the authors assertions, these are NOT complete games. However, the authors strong assertion that they are grants an illusion for players that thier own mechanical input (adding numbers and items) is part of the game. It's an illusion along the same lines as genuine 'my guy' sydrome, where the player isn't using that to conciously manipulate the game but instead really see's his characters actions as something not of his own making.

I'll give some room for right of reply to my opinion, before responding to posts given so far.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: LordSmerf on September 11, 2005, 09:08:04 PM
Callan,

At the moment I'm still having trouble understanding your initial question.  You say you're talking about games that require players to assign mechanical resources without guidance.  You then say you're talking about games that are, either directly or by omission, claimed to be "complete" or "portable" (which strike me as two radically different concepts).

Clarification questions:  Dogs in the Vineyard requires the GM to assign values to NPCs and provides a section on how to do this.  Is that assigning mechanical resources with guidance?  D&D 3.5 requires the DM to come up with adventures/dungeons and populate them with obstacles.  It includes Challenge Ratings and level-loot tables and the like.  Is that assigning mechanical resources with guidance?  So, perhaps an example of what you're talking about would help since I'm still not entirely sure what you mean.

You later clarify "complete" by saying that you're talking about games that self-identify as complete.  Is this in addition to providing no guidance for mechanical assignment?  It seems that you might be saying that you don't consider any roleplaying game to be complete.  I don't think so, but it might be what you're saying.

Also, "portable" and "complete" seem to be radically different concepts to me.  Are you making them synonymous here?  Are you intending that claims of "completeness" be claims of "portability" for the purposes of this discussion?

Thomas


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Josh Roby on September 12, 2005, 09:21:10 AM
So as asked for, my opinion is that despite the authors assertions, these are NOT complete games.

No book is a complete game.  The game is the people sitting around a table playing.  The book may provide guidelines for the game, but it will never provide a set of rules which entirely describes the social interactions going on between the players.

I don't know if you've completed one of your own games and seen it played by others, Callan, but I can tell you, as a game designer the one thing you are never doing is writing instructions for other people to follow.  The published material is not and will never be "the game" -- at best you'll inspire the game.  The players are an intrinsic part of the game, and unless you're writing for a very specific, very small audience that you personally know, you can't predict who is playing the game, what will be important to their play style, what rules they will decide to gloss over, what rituals and procedures they'll import into "your" game from elsewhere.

I think what you're seeing is the difference between books that are more or less open to this inevitability, and more or less rely on it.  The spectrum stretches from Dogs to Risus, but no matter how specific the book is, it will never be "complete" to the point where the players don't contribute something to the game.  After all, if the players didn't contribute anything, why would they play?


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Callan S. on September 12, 2005, 10:00:57 PM
Mechanical resources
A healing potion is described as having a deep blue hue, with strange swirling shapes. At a purely mechanical resource level it recovers 1D8+1 HP.

Complete and portable
Here's an example: Someone writes a recipe for almond cake, which lists the ingredients, the measures involved and the way to cook it. They hand someone else that recipe and that other person follows the recipe and makes another almond cake. I'd call that recipe complete and portable. Now, if another guy writes up an almond cake recipe but skips writing down half the ingredients before handing it on. I'm not sure someone else would end up making almond cake, even with a picture to work from. I'd call that recipe incomplete and given the differing results, not portable from one individual to another.

Quote from: Gordon
But a more interesting question is how much guidance, and in what form, works best to reliably produce enjoyable play? (I think we get many different answers, based on the tastes and CA's of those involved)
You used the word reliable, I used the word portable (as in, if it produces a certain type of (fun) play in one group, can it produce that in another group? Is it portable?). I think were saying the same thing, just differently.

System guidance
An example of system guided resource allocation "There are six stats and you have twenty points to spread amongst them as you see fit"

Quote from: LS
You later clarify "complete" by saying that you're talking about games that self-identify as complete. Is this in addition to providing no guidance for mechanical assignment?
Yes.


Hi Joshua,

Take the almond cake example from above. That is a fixed set of instructions for someone to follow. Yet it doesn't control how they taste the eventual cake, or what tastes they like, or how they talk about what they like, or how they use the almond cake to cement a special occasion.

The completeness of the recipe doesn't eliminate this player input. Further, what do you think would happen to this input if the recipe was only half written up?


All,

I don't have a great grasp of Capes mechanics, but from what I understand and from reading actual play I believe it complete and portable. So I'm going to give an example where I take that quality and break it.

Imagine if in capes, there was some way to 'find' story points in game and it was one players job to hide them in various spots, at his discretion (though imagine there's a section that gives a lot of talk on how to do that fairly or some such).

A question for everybody; How many story points would it take before the story point economy of Capes pales in significance compared to the input of this player, in his placing of this resource?

It's best if you answer it for yourself, rather than a theoretical answer. Because what will be important is that what amount is important to you will not match with everyone else's opinion. That's the key to the portability issue.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Vaxalon on September 13, 2005, 03:08:51 AM
Now that you've designed your terms, I can provide answers to your question.

Quote
What is the take of people here on RPG's which ask for users to assign mechanical resources without system guidance? Say, like a game which has some combat rules and stuff but some guy, usually the GM, is to draw up a dungeon for it (a dungeon, or whatever material suits the setting and angle of the game).

I like 'em.

Quote
Do you see these as complete games? And so I'm not starting an opinion poll, what's the reasoning behind your answer?

They're as complete as any other roleplaying game.  My reasoning is that resources are only one of many things that participants bring to a game.  Some games ask for more of one thing, some games ask more of another.  You always have to contribute something to an RPG.

Quote
If you picked up one of these games and had a fun time playing, would you attribute that result to the game? What are the reasons for your answer?

Yes, as well as to the participants.  Causality is funny that way.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Josh Roby on September 13, 2005, 10:01:53 AM
Callan, I don't believe I have followed a cooking recipe exactly since I was ten.  My wife is also a pastry chef, and so she tells me all sorts of things about different ovens' heat distribution, the size and shape of pans and how they affect how things bake, the effects of altitude and humidity on yeast (there's a reason San Fransisco has good sourdough), and the ten thousand different kinds of flour, sugar, and salt that we 'amateurs' use interchangably as if they were all the same thing.  You can't reproduce the same cake by using the same recipe.  It doesn't work that way in cooking, and it doesn't work that way in gaming.  The players will always be bringing different things to the table, and they will ignore the published rules in favor of their way of doing things.

Additionally, to extend your analogy to the breaking point, I don't want to enjoy eating the cake, I want to enjoy making the cake -- roleplaying is not just a product to be appreciated but an activity that all the players take part in.  It's the doing that is the fun part, not sitting back and enjoying what already happened.

But I think the main thrust of your topic concerns games that offer something like 'currency budgets' for the players, to delimit how much in-game 'oomph' they can throw at a situation and to what extent they frame conflicts.  Players get so many skill points, the GM gets so many monster points.  That way the GM doesn't overpower the players.  Yes, that's simplistic, but it can be expanded outward, to include sources from which players and GM can draw their material, techniques that they can use to affect the game in the ways they like, and so on.  A clear, explicit, and public outline of player and GM powers, rights, and responsibilities.

I'm writing a lot of this sort of thing into FLFS, but I'm writing it with the patent expectation that vast reams of it will be totally ignored.  Playing 'by the rules' the entire playgroup sits down and discusses what kind of game they want to play before they even choose who will be the Game Master -- like that is going to happen in 90% of the playgroups out there in the gaming world!  In fact I am pretty conflicted about including so many pages of material that will not find its way into a given customer's actual play that I've adopted a few dodges and tricks.  I list out options that can be taken rather than make dictates that will not be followed anyway (Troupe Play, Round Robin GMing, Bluebooking, etc).  I provide more than one way to scale the same mountain (credibility is explicitly transferred, but players have some strong control over it once it's in their hands).  And lastly, everything on how the game is setup and run is (supposedly) discussed and agreed upon by the players in the First Session.  That clear, explicit, public outline of player powers is created by the players, not dictated by the book.

But then, I don't think that it will ever happen any other way -- every playgroup comes to some sort of agreement, either implicitly or explicitly, when they sit down and start playing.  Maybe they play 'by the book', maybe they agree to do that thing that they liked from the last game, maybe they 'just use the system, but not the setting' or vice-versa.  Thing is, the players will always decide this.  The game designer never will.  This is the piece that makes the game 'complete' and it is not a piece that the game designer can ever include.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Callan S. on September 14, 2005, 01:41:55 AM
Hi again, Joshua,

I think the cake analogy's been overextended until it broke. Instead, take the card game 'Lunch Money'. Actualy play accounts can be incredibly varied and different from one another, all as a result of player input while using the system. However, despite the variety of play, they are all manipulating resources in exactly the same way - under the guidance of just one system. The players didn't need to add resources without system guidance, to get varied and interesting play.

Is unguided resource assignment by GM or player the only way for players to give input?

Hi Vaxalon,
Quote
They're as complete as any other roleplaying game.  My reasoning is that resources are only one of many things that participants bring to a game.  Some games ask for more of one thing, some games ask more of another.  You always have to contribute something to an RPG.
Emphasis mine.

Although only one of the things participants bring to a game, why are resources (brought in without system guidance) important?


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Vaxalon on September 14, 2005, 02:47:16 AM
They're important in the same way that "Community Chest" cards are important to a game of Monopoly.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Josh Roby on September 14, 2005, 08:46:34 AM
The players didn't need to add resources without system guidance, to get varied and interesting play.

emphasis mine

If you're trying for "game is potentially complete if you gamer monkeys don't muck with it" the question hangs on who determines that "need".  The players?  The designers?  Different groups will have different standards of what they consider "acceptable and needs no mucking with." Perhaps we might define 'incomplete' as "directing players to allocate resources without providing explicit rules for doing so"?


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: RPGnut on September 14, 2005, 02:40:04 PM
Just a quick question or three: What is the take of people here on RPG's which ask for users to assign mechanical resources without system guidance? Say, like a game which has some combat rules and stuff but some guy, usually the GM, is to draw up a dungeon for it (a dungeon, or whatever material suits the setting and angle of the game).

Do you see these as complete games? And so I'm not starting an opinion poll, what's the reasoning behind your answer?

If you picked up one of these games and had a fun time playing, would you attribute that result to the game? What are the reasons for your answer?

Also, what do you think about the resource structures of games and what sort of effects newly added resources have on system (and how it matters)?

If your asking what I think your asking...is a rule set without setting information a complete game....correct me if I'm wrong.

I would have to answer that although a game can be played that way I think that it requres alot of input from the players of the game to decide on settings and environments.  Thus why D&D supplements sell so well, I consider D&D (perhaps I should say d20) to be a rule set and by itself although functional would not be as muh fun without an environment to play in.  Where as I find Palladium's RIFTS to be a complete game with just the core book because it has rules set and and environment that is easy (IMO) to understand.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Callan S. on September 14, 2005, 08:00:27 PM
Joshua,
Quote
If you're trying for "game is potentially complete if you gamer monkeys don't muck with it" the question hangs on who determines that "need". The players? The designers? Different groups will have different standards of what they consider "acceptable and needs no mucking with."
Let's skip this issue. If as I designer I make a wrench but an end user decides to change it into a hammer, that's no fuss to me. But I AM interested in helping the people who want to use the tool as I the designer intended.

Quote
Perhaps we might define 'incomplete' as "directing players to allocate resources without providing explicit rules for doing so"?
Yes, absolutely!

Do you think these unguided resources have an effect on how the game rules work? And do you think these resources which the game directed the players to allocate, are part of the game? As in how the game designer intended play to occur?


RPGnut: Hi, welcome to the forge!

Sadly no. I'm not talking about setting, unless by setting you mean stuff like 'Your physical strength stat is 3D6 totaled".

Rather than setting stuff like "the animated tree's in the woods are dangerous" setting fluff text, what about where the GM reads that, and decides they do 2D6 damage per round to those adjacent them? Would you say that is part of how play should work out, given the fluff text the author gave?


Vaxalon: In that community chests do what for you in play?

Tell me if I'm wrong, but I think your looking at this from the entire end users perspective. It's like looking at a little girl who hugs and cuddles and has tea with her dolly. From your perspective of the overall experience, the dolly is only part of it (next to the hugging, the affection show, the tea ritual, etc). However, the dolls designer can only impart a doll to someone. The doll is the entirety of the designers contribution. The importance of the doll could easily be discounted given that it's only one thing amongst a whole bunch of other interesting stuff stuff (the cuddling, the having tea, etc). How much are you focusing on the overall experience?


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Vaxalon on September 15, 2005, 03:17:50 AM
Vaxalon: In that community chests do what for you in play?

In that being part of the game, they're required to play it.  You can't play monopoly without Community Chest cards, and you can't play DnD without someone, somewhere, sticking monsters in rooms (or analogues thereof).

Quote
Tell me if I'm wrong, but I think your looking at this from the entire end users perspective. It's like looking at a little girl who hugs and cuddles and has tea with her dolly. From your perspective of the overall experience, the dolly is only part of it (next to the hugging, the affection show, the tea ritual, etc). However, the dolls designer can only impart a doll to someone. The doll is the entirety of the designers contribution. The importance of the doll could easily be discounted given that it's only one thing amongst a whole bunch of other interesting stuff stuff (the cuddling, the having tea, etc). How much are you focusing on the overall experience?

You asked me why resource allocation is important.  I told you why resource allocation is important.  Now you're accusing me of not talking about resource allocation, but the game as a whole?  I don't understand.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: John Kim on September 15, 2005, 08:22:02 AM

Do you think these unguided resources have an effect on how the game rules work? And do you think these resources which the game directed the players to allocate, are part of the game? As in how the game designer intended play to occur?

Well, if we're talking about stocking a dungeon in D&D or creating supervillains in Champions -- I don't think that's "unguided".  The rules have advice about how to create something which will challenge but not overwhelm the PCs.  D&D has pretty explicit guidelines, even, on the mix of CRs to give.  In Champions, supervillains are made on a point scale comparable to PCs which makes it clear. 

On the other hand, in virtually all games with a GM it is pretty trivial to "beat" the players if you are trying.  This is just as true of Dogs in the Vineyard as it is of D&D.  Though I have only a given set of stats, I can throw in extra people for +2d6 per stat or just have the six stat blocks work efficiently to beat the players.  So even though I have a limited budget in a sense, it doesn't really change the dynamic of the game. 

If we're talking about completeness of games here, I think it may help to look outside of RPGs for a moment.  Let's compare, say, Star Fleet Battles with Starfarers of Catan.  Star Fleet Battles has a set of resolution rules for weapons, shields, and transporters.  However, it doesn't specify a particular scenario.  You can use a predesigned scenario or you can try your own matchup of different ships and conditions.  Is it therefore a less complete game than Starfarers of Catan which locks down the board and forces? 

I think in a sense, SFB without premade scenarios is less complete as a game.  However, I think it's also important not to attach value to that.  It is more of a "toy" -- in the sense that Greg Costikyan suggests in his article I Have No Words & I Must Design (http://www.costik.com/nowords.html)...
Quote
According to Will Wright, his Sim City is not a game at all, but a toy. Wright offers a ball as an illuminating comparison: It offers many interesting behaviors, which you may explore. You can bounce it, twirl it, throw it, dribble it. And, if you wish, you may use it in a game: soccer, or basketball, or whatever. But the game is not intrinsic in the toy; it is a set of player-defined objectives overlaid on the toy.

Just so Sim City. Like many computer games, it creates a world which the player may manipulate, but unlike a real game, it provides no objective. Oh, you may choose one: to see if you can build a city without slums, perhaps. But Sim City itself has no victory conditions, no goals; it is a software toy.

A toy is interactive. But a game has goals.

So having defined goals / victory conditions and starting setup make something more game-like.  However, RPGs are often more toy-like than game-like.  It's certainly part of the designer intent for both Sim City and D&D that they have toy-like qualities -- where the player will try different things to explore rather than proceeding towards game-like goals. 



Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Callan S. on September 16, 2005, 12:55:25 AM
Hi John,

Just looking at your comments about toys, the pennies drop aplenty (thanks so much for introducing this!). Earlier in the thread I was trying to think of an analogy to describe what I meant. Ron's "Ouija-board" analogy came to mind. Then I read that part of the nar essay again and realised that he'd described almost exactly what I was trying to get at. I'll introduce it now and quote the nar essay.

Quote
Ouija-board role-playing

Here's another outcome for the faulty Simulationist-makes-Narrativism approach. Actually, it's the same phenomenon as Simulationism-makes-Gamism, which I discussed in "Gamism: Step On Up" (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/21/) as "the bitterest role-player in the world." I consider the Narrativist version to be the "most deluded role-player in the world."

How do Ouija boards work? People sit around a board with letters and numbers on it, all touching a legged planchette that can slide around on the board. They pretend that spectral forces are moving the planchette around to spell messages. What's happening is that, at any given moment, someone is guiding the planchette, and the point is to make sure that the planchette always appears to everyone else to be moving under its own power.

Taking this idea to role-playing, the deluded notion is that Simulationist play will yield Story Now play without any specific attention on anyone's part to do so. The primary issue is to maintain the facade that "No one guides the planchette!" The participants must be devoted to the notion that stories don't need authors; they emerge from some ineffable confluence of Exploration per se. It's kind of a weird Illusionism perpetrated on one another, with everyone putting enormous value on maintaining the Black Curtain between them and everyone else. Typically, groups who play this way have been together for a very long time.

Take that and replace "No one guides the planchette!" with "No one but system guides the planchette!". In that with an Ouija board, people think spirits are moving the board when really it's someone's fingers. Here, someone thinks the system is moving the game, but again it's some player in control. Some player, even if that player isn't aware of it because the black curtain is being enforced. This curtain isn't about stories not needing authors, this one is about…well, I'll get to that in a second.
 
The toy idea fits that wonderfully. Imagine that ball again, and a group of people walk up to it. One of them decides to kick it a bit. Then another guy intercepts that and kicks it in return, trying to hit a tree with it. But someone else decides to just get in the way of that person to sass him a little. Then another guy joins the kicker because he thinks they can team up to get that ball past the smart arse. But someone else joins the smart arse and so on and so on. Basically they invent a lot of game goals and pursue them, all generated from the initial toy play.

Now take roleplay games, which as you say are more toylike - a mix of toy and game rules. When it's like this, can you distinguish between the goals the game presents and the goals you've invented from toy play? Where does one end and the other begin? Any uncertainty and inability to distinguish that allows a black curtain to be created. That's exactly how the ouija board works "Did Jim just move the planchette then? I can't be sure and because of that *shiver* perhaps it really was a spirit!!". And in the same way "Did Jim just decide to spring those Ogres on us? He's using an awful lot of dice rolls and such and because of that *shiver* perhaps it's system in action!".

Thoughts? I reckon there will be a few…just don't call me a pushy bastard or power gamer, eh! ;)


Extra bit: Sort of talking to myself here, ignore this if it's too much on top of everything else. I think I've just cottoned on to a feedback issue I was wrestling with. Where players excitement creates the game goals and drives play. But they attribute it to system. So next time they gather to play, they don't think the onus is on them to push game goals, since they assumed 'system does that'. This means they bring less excitement/game goals to the table. This leads to less exciting play, which means their less excited for the next time they play. Repeat this a few times and eventually excitement/game goal contributions drop so low you hit "Bitterest gamer in the world" or "Most deluded gamer in the world" levels.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: John Kim on September 16, 2005, 11:11:58 AM

Now take roleplay games, which as you say are more toylike - a mix of toy and game rules. When it's like this, can you distinguish between the goals the game presents and the goals you've invented from toy play? Where does one end and the other begin? Any uncertainty and inability to distinguish that allows a black curtain to be created. That's exactly how the ouija board works "Did Jim just move the planchette then? I can't be sure and because of that *shiver* perhaps it really was a spirit!!". And in the same way "Did Jim just decide to spring those Ogres on us? He's using an awful lot of dice rolls and such and because of that *shiver* perhaps it's system in action!".

You're implying a sort of delusion here which isn't necessary.  If I'm playing D&D and the DM is not using a published module, then I know that it was his decision to put those ogres in the dungeon.  There's no confusion or delusion about that.  Conversely, if he is using an (unmodified) published dungeon, then I know that it was not his decision.  Now, it is certainly possible that in cases the group will be confused about what each other are doing -- but that isn't inherent in the system.  The game can still be fun even if I know what the DM is doing. 

I could generalize a little.  Being more game-like is a more specified process.  It's more capable of play with random strangers -- people you might not otherwise enjoy spending time with.  However, being more toy-like can be fun to play with friends or by yourself. 

Where players excitement creates the game goals and drives play. But they attribute it to system. So next time they gather to play, they don't think the onus is on them to push game goals, since they assumed 'system does that'. This means they bring less excitement/game goals to the table. This leads to less exciting play, which means their less excited for the next time they play. Repeat this a few times and eventually excitement/game goal contributions drop so low you hit "Bitterest gamer in the world" or "Most deluded gamer in the world" levels.

Again, this is presuming a sort of delusion about what goes on.  While there are perhaps some people like this (i.e. "I like Deadlands regardless of who's GMing or what the other players do"), I think that in general role-players accept that the GM and fellow players and what they bring to the game are an important part of the experience.  Indeed, a few come to the opposite (and unfortunate) conclusion that "System doesn't matter".  However, I think that most fall in between and accept that both the system and the other players are important to an RPG. 



Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Josh Roby on September 16, 2005, 11:47:35 AM
Do you think these unguided resources have an effect on how the game rules work? And do you think these resources which the game directed the players to allocate, are part of the game? As in how the game designer intended play to occur?

Yes, the resource allocation has an effect on the game.  Yes, the resouces thus alloted are part of the game.  Two pretty obvious statements.  Whether or not those resources and their allocation are incorporated into the game as the designer intended... now we're getting into some shady territory.

First off, your couching the question in terms of 'complete' and 'incomplete' immediately puts a perjorative tone to games which are deemed 'incomplete'.  Note that this includes a whole ton of games that have been commercially successful and enjoyed by many many people, and have created functional play.  So we have to understand from the outset the 'incomplete' is not necessarily a bad thing, that it leaves open more options, some of which may be highly entertaining.  For this reason, I think 'complete' is probably a poor choice.  'Guided' might be more accurate.

Secondly, writing out those resource allocation rules is really really difficult.  Try it sometime.  You simply can not provide guidelines for every possible thing that your consumers will want to use the game for.  It can be done, but it creates a narrowly-focused game.  Around here, that's not a bad thing.  Laser-focus on one issue can, it has been repeatedly shown, create some awesome game experiences.  But that laser-focus does come at a price of inflexibility.  Additionally, it's really easy to cripple the game with poor rules for resource-allocation.  Especially if the game currency is at all complex, players exploiting breakpoints might easily triumph over every single 'by the rules' antagonist.

Lastly, I see traces of an assumption that the game designer knows better than the players how to create an enjoyable experience.  That you can play a game 'right' and you can play the game 'wrong'.  Playing Pendragon with space aliens, for instance, is so totally outside of the game designer's intention that it's no longer "really Pendragon" or something similar.  But I, for one, am pretty disinterested in playing a game exactly as some game designer intended it to be played.  I want to take the neat tools and toys that he designed and play with them myself, creating what I want to create with them.  Now, certainly I can disregard those resource-allocation rules, but building an entire game that is founded on a delicate balance of such things really turns me off (I have played d20 exactly once, for instance).

In the end, these complete/guided games are the equivalent of a classically-trained cordon bleu chef.  They can do profoundly amazing things, things that will dazzle their audiences, and create a memorable experience.  That's good if you want some roast goose with raspberry sauce over exotic greens.  If you want a grilled cheese sandwich, however, with Kraft Singles thankyouverymuch, that chef is going to have to break some of the rules that they were taught.  I think that's one of the reasons that a lot of these laser-focused games are picking up Endgames, to prevent the players from wandering outside of the game's purview.  One game ends, and you can start another laser-focused game with a different focus.  And really, that's great.  It's just a different paradign to play under.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Callan S. on September 16, 2005, 02:20:19 PM
Hi again John,

Quote
Well, if we're talking about stocking a dungeon in D&D or creating supervillains in Champions -- I don't think that's "unguided". The rules have advice about how to create something which will challenge but not overwhelm the PCs. D&D has pretty explicit guidelines, even, on the mix of CRs to give. In Champions, supervillains are made on a point scale comparable to PCs which makes it clear.
For D&D: But where does the focus on challenging the players come from? (like giving them a PL +3 challenge rating monster to fight.)

PL +3 is well within the range outlined. It's supported by reams and reams of book text. But where's the actual rule that says 'You now fight these monsters, it's one of the games goals'.

Of course, it's the players who invent it as a goal. That's easy to see. Or is it?

Because in the heat of the moment, what actually ensures they all invent the same goal?

Hmm, perhaps I'll explicitly shift ground here as my thoughts do: Perhaps the illusion isn't so much that system moves the planchette. But with all the advice and challenge ratings and points and guidelines, the illusion is that other people will invent goals that match yours. Particularly as GM, that after you've done your prep/invented your goals outside of play, in play players will invent their own goals that match yours. For example, say the GM thinks a series of  PL+4 challenges are great, but the players would prefer numerous PL +2, except for one player on the right who would prefer PL + 0.

Discussion might seem a cure all. But it's either not possible in the heat of the moment. Or it makes play bland/group play pointless: "Oh, how much would you like me to challenge you and push you slightly out of your comfort zone?". That will just get an answer from the player which is inside the players comfort zone, or outside the players comfort zone but the player pushed himself to that extent. The former is pointless, the latter wasn't influenced by group play (so you aren't really interacting as a group).
 
What is needed are pre-existing rules which let one player interact with another, by using the rules to push the other player a little outside their comfort zone. Toy play or discussion just don't provide that.

I think my stab at "Only system moves the planchette" design is a stab out how these sorts of rules just aren't provided, while all the advice, guidelines and numbers try and make it appear they somehow fill in for the absent rules.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Josh Roby on September 16, 2005, 02:31:05 PM
Ah ha!  I think I'm seeing what you're getting at -- how is level of challenge determined?  Are you interested in this question, Callan, or the slightly-larger question of determining a game's scope, which includes level of challenge as well as what questions the game can address and how far outside player comfort zones the game can go?

Level of challenge can be dictated by the game design, although I think any hard-and-fast rule will quickly be ignored or turned into a guideline.  I don't know how much of the rest you can really determine in game design without any recourse to the social contract of the actual players.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: John Kim on September 16, 2005, 02:56:17 PM

Perhaps the illusion isn't so much that system moves the planchette. But with all the advice and challenge ratings and points and guidelines, the illusion is that other people will invent goals that match yours. Particularly as GM, that after you've done your prep/invented your goals outside of play, in play players will invent their own goals that match yours.  For example, say the GM thinks a series of  PL+4 challenges are great, but the players would prefer numerous PL +2, except for one player on the right who would prefer PL + 0.
This is mostly a side note, but the DMG give very explicit advice regarding the mix of encounter levels.  I forget offhand what it was, but it is broken down something like 25% PL-1, 50% PL, 15% PL+1, or whatnot. 

What is needed are pre-existing rules which let one player interact with another, by using the rules to push the other player a little outside their comfort zone. Toy play or discussion just don't provide that.

I think my stab at "Only system moves the planchette" design is a stab out how these sorts of rules just aren't provided, while all the advice, guidelines and numbers try and make it appear they somehow fill in for the absent rules.

Well, hold on.  I'm all for trying out different types of designs.  However, they aren't "needed".  What you're effectively saying is that "Playing with toys isn't fun unless there are written instructions telling you what goals to try for".  I think this is blatantly untrue.  People can and do have fun playing with toys without written instructions on what their goal is supposed to be.  This was a discovery of many video games such as "Sim City" -- that given a game, players will often enjoy taking the game and playing for whatever goals strike their fancy. 

This sort of play is exploratory, and I think it very well has the potential of pushing players outside of their comfort zone depending on the social dynamic.  I certainly have experienced many times that play with others will push boundaries given players who enjoy that.  As I said, it's certainly true that toy-like design is less specific and depends more on the group.  So if you want dependability and regularity of experience, then more game-like specificity is warranted.  But you should be aware that many people enjoy toys which don't tell them how to play with them, which they can try out different goals with. 



Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Callan S. on September 16, 2005, 05:21:34 PM
I was having a very deep think about what I, myself, wanted when I wrote that. Ironically what I didn't add is "What is needed for me is". When your chasing what you want dearly for yourself, you forget to leave signposts for others to show your doing that.

Quote
This sort of play is exploratory, and I think it very well has the potential of pushing players outside of their comfort zone depending on the social dynamic.  I certainly have experienced many times that play with others will push boundaries given players who enjoy that.  As I said, it's certainly true that toy-like design is less specific and depends more on the group.  So if you want dependability and regularity of experience, then more game-like specificity is warranted.  But you should be aware that many people enjoy toys which don't tell them how to play with them, which they can try out different goals with. 

Emphasis mine.

Again, in context with my own needs, the bolded text does not work out that way. Without agreement prior to play, you can't push someone outside their comfort zone. It's like a social contract rule that says no mobile phones at the table...but then you take a call. That isn't zone pushing, it's just breaking a rule. Unless you agree prior to play that it's okay to take important calls, the rule can not be flexed. An agreed rule has to be also agreed to be flexible, if someone is to be legitimately taken out of their comfort zone by it's flexing.

Toy play just can NOT anticipate what SC game rules will need to be flexible, in order to zone push. You just don't know what sort of game goals your going to come up with. Players might decide mid toy play, that their PC's prospering gold wise is a great game goal. What happens if the GM has theives steal from them?

The players might agree a certain amount is okay to steal and an SC rule is made. But the GM can't push them beyond that, to see how they cope with just a bit more taken. That'd just break SC rules. But the players aren't happy, because they just got exactly what they want (kind of a let down to just get it) and the GM isn't happy because he didn't get to push their limits. There was no flexiblity in the SC rule, thus no one could get what they really wanted; to push or be pushed slightly out of their comfort zone.

I'm also skeptical about negotiating flexibility when a game goal and it's SC rules get invented. It's the same problem, players  become 'shy' of inventing game goals because they realise these will get tested. The old example is of players who used to invent loved ones for their PC but stopped once the GM used that to push them out of their zone. Even players who know the GM wont abuse it, still shy away from a GM who they can trust. Genuinely being pushed out of your zone feels like a penalty to avoid, even though it's almost always pleasurable once you've been pushed. These types of freeform negotiations will reflect that, in that the players will run from such a thing even though it will almost always turn out to be the heart of a great game (Well, it can also turn out to be the heart of a really appalling, abusive game as well).



Side note: On D&D Challenge Ratings, your right, it does give a fixed distribution. It was a bit of a poor example from me, because what I was getting at is that those players would want different CR because of different intervening conditions. For example, you can do PL +3 repeatedly if your party can rest for any number of days after each encounter. Who's in charge of whether they can rest? The GM. What does this do to the CR distribution chart? Renders it pretty meaningless in comparison to the GM's input. Who's the most effected by not having rest? That'll be effected by the GM's choice too.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Callan S. on September 17, 2005, 01:21:42 PM
I'll put myself on the line a bit more by outlining a quick and dirty design (with gamism in mind).


1. The GM attaches a challenge point (CP) to various introduced resources. If the players take or use that resource, the GM gets the CP. For example, he might say "In the newly opened locker you find an ammo clip. But it's got a CP attached! Do you take it?"

If the players choose not to take it, they are to invent the game world reasons why "Oh, the clip was old and rusted and would have done more damage to our weapons than to the enemy!"

Each CP is worth a D6 to the GM. You'll see how the dice work in step 2.

Psychology note: This relies on the GM not attaching CP to every single resource introduced. That'd be pretty lame. The motivator I imagine to stop this is no one would admire his skill at luring the players into giving him a point. Attaching a CP to everything would ensure he get's CP, but I'm banking on the human feedback/appreciation is worth more than that. However, if at some point the CP he can get will produce some even stronger human feedback, this psychological limiter will go down the crapper. Though possibly players could simply turtle until they bore the GM into changing. Or at certain points of play, the players might even like the danger of everything having an attached CP cost.


2. Play continues as normal. If a player feels a challenge placed on him is too much, he calls a challenge number (CN). This number can be as high as the player likes.

Each CP the game master has is worth 1D6. The GM now chooses how many dice to apply to the challenge number, or may choose to apply none. Sixes are exploding (roll a six = add on six, roll again and add that on. Repeat for every six rolled). Each die that rolls a 1, removes one CP from the GM's score. These dice are rolled in front of everybody of course. May as well skip these rules if you don't.

If the roll beats the players CN, then the challenge stays. If the roll fails, the challenge is removed. The player can call another CN if he feels the challenge wasn't removed adequately.

For example, he called a CN on falling down a rather deep pit because of the damage of the fall. The damage is removed (a previous, dead victim broke his fall), but the GM gleefully reminds him it's a snake pit full of the most venomous vipers. The player calls another CN on falling at all, because he feels this challenge is too much, he shouldn't have to check for traps when walking in the front door of the local bar! Side note: However, the player hopes the trap isn't narrated away…he'd like to catch some of those vipers…great poison! Extra side note: The GM will probably get blindsided by that, but if he's sharp he'll attach a CP cost to an obtained viper!

Psychology note: This relies on the player not calling a CN to every vaguely interesting challenge introduced. That would be pretty lame though and again, peer feedback would be more valuable. Also, it's a trust building exercise. No doubt after awhile, they would let the GM get one CP. They'd then notice nothing that bad happens. They might let him get two, and start to see how many CP they can let him have, while still toughing it out "I had a GM with 10 CP and my PC survived!" "Mine had 12 and I survived! Beat that!".


Overall notes: I'm not sure how far this would get you toward pushing players out of their comfort zones (or even GM's out of their comfort zones). As a player it would still be possible to monitor your comfort zone and juggle the numbers to keep you there. However, there are more opportunities to make mistakes tracking just what your comfort zone is and also in juggling the numbers to keep you there. Mistakes which will get you into delightfully horrible situations! It's the sort of thing I do in the PS2 game, Mercenaries ( http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=14575 ). Sort of just drive/fly around the landscape, shooting at stuff, making more and more little mistakes until the odds caught up with me and thunk! I got thrown into quite the fun little pickle.


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: LordSmerf on September 18, 2005, 03:17:59 AM
Callan,

I'm a bit confused.  Are you saying that your little design sketch is (basically) a complete game?  Sure it would have to be fleshed out, but would you say that what you have here is a game that (basically) completely guides resource allocation?

Thomas


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Callan S. on September 18, 2005, 08:17:13 PM
No, it's not complete.

I started to shift ground on the first page:
Quote
Hmm, perhaps I'll explicitly shift ground here as my thoughts do: Perhaps the illusion isn't so much that system moves the planchette. But with all the advice and challenge ratings and points and guidelines, the illusion is that other people will invent goals that match yours. Particularly as GM, that after you've done your prep/invented your goals outside of play, in play players will invent their own goals that match yours.

After that point I started to realise the reason I wanted a complete game was to have a solid social contract agreement. The completeness of the game would ensure that the player would know what it involved and by playing, was agreeing to it. Thus, I could push someone out of their comfort zone, but be certain I was not breaking social contract while doing it.

But I didn't really know I wanted that zone pushing agreement until now. Then I realised I didn't need a complete game (though this too would forfil my needs...it just takes alot more work). What I needed was some preagreed rules that delt explictely and directly with comfort zones and the pushing of them. Once that's settled, the GM assigning resources willy nilly is fine, as their is a solid agreement behind it all.

However, I will say this: I think my observation of 'system moves the planchette' is still basically true. Many people think the rules control aspects of the game which in fact they themselves control. This often leads to very unpleasant altications in much the same way as "My guy" arguements do, except here it's "My rules say...". It all revolves around having control, but shirking responsiblity for that control.

Having all the responsiblity does suck though...that's why my rule outline spreads its around (as do many other new RPG's)


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Josh Roby on September 19, 2005, 08:46:45 AM
Callan, as I read this, you want a solid social contract dictated by the game book, or at least strongly suggested.  Is this what you are calling for?


Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: John Kim on September 19, 2005, 03:09:29 PM
So a lot of this comes down to differing experiences, I think.  In my experience, the games which most pushed the comfort zones of the players have often been largely freeform -- notably several of the experimental Swedish larps which I played in.  I found that the expectation to drop out of character and discuss issues (which is often the case in tabletop games) means that people can and will do so if their comfort zone is approached.  This isn't a bad thing, I think.  There are most certainly dangers in allowing comfort zones to be pushed without immediate feedback. 

Again, in context with my own needs, the bolded text does not work out that way. Without agreement prior to play, you can't push someone outside their comfort zone. It's like a social contract rule that says no mobile phones at the table...but then you take a call. That isn't zone pushing, it's just breaking a rule. Unless you agree prior to play that it's okay to take important calls, the rule can not be flexed. An agreed rule has to be also agreed to be flexible, if someone is to be legitimately taken out of their comfort zone by it's flexing.

Toy play just can NOT anticipate what SC game rules will need to be flexible, in order to zone push. You just don't know what sort of game goals your going to come up with.

Well, I sort of agree with that.  However, my experience is that nothing can anticipate what the social contract will need.  i.e. You can talk forever prior to the game about where your lines are, but in actual practice they can and will be very different from how the group agreed.  Some parts of play thought to be boundary-pushing might be nowhere near the line, while others are way over the line.  Thus, for me, having a well-understood contract at the beginning doesn't remove my fear that I will push another player too far.  I always play it by ear. 

Side note: On D&D Challenge Ratings, your right, it does give a fixed distribution. It was a bit of a poor example from me, because what I was getting at is that those players would want different CR because of different intervening conditions. For example, you can do PL +3 repeatedly if your party can rest for any number of days after each encounter. Who's in charge of whether they can rest? The GM. What does this do to the CR distribution chart? Renders it pretty meaningless in comparison to the GM's input. Who's the most effected by not having rest? That'll be effected by the GM's choice too.

This also is an interesting difference of experience.  How do your D&D games go?  In my experience, most encounters are initiated by the players -- i.e. they go to a particular location and hit what is there.  So the pacing is generally controlled by the players, not the GM.  The players will set how much they think they can do, and then retreat, set guards, and rest for the night. 



Title: Re: Complete games with unguided resource assignment
Post by: Callan S. on September 19, 2005, 07:39:24 PM
Joshua,

Not sure of your wording. I don't want, or even think the book can dictate any agreement. But it can provide some rules people can choose to agree to.

Mechanically the important thing is to have an agreement which is higher in rank than any resources introduced by the GM. By higher rank I mean it controls those resources.


Hi Kim,

Well, I even play chess by ear. But if I detect the other person is in discomfort, I know it's not because I made up some rules and then described them as if they were something the player agreed to when he said he'd like to play chess. If I choose to hold back, it'll be because I think I'm pushing them too far rather than because I think I may have broken the agreed rules. I'm really pretty sick of trying to push gamism, but hold back for fear of breaking a rule...it leads toward bitterest roleplayer in the world status, since your afraid to push for any challenge as it might break a rule. When I've GM'ed, sure I've had monsters that have slapped PC's down into the negs. But it's been after literally hours of "There's a monster...now your actions take you closer...your even closer now...if you keep going, you'd be agreeing to a fight". It's just story that's scrabbling for permission. I'd really like to just scene frame into the middle of a fight, but no agreement means no go.

With D&D, it's left to the GM to decide if they can retreat and whether they can rest for the night. But it's a fairly moot point now since as I said, making a complete game is just one way of getting what I wanted (the hard way).