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Archive => GNS Model Discussion => Topic started by: Cameron on August 09, 2001, 10:30:00 AM



Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: Cameron on August 09, 2001, 10:30:00 AM
Clinton and I had a run-in with gamism last night that I thought I'd mention. We were getting together with a bunch of players that we had never gamed with to talk about an upcoming Vampire: The Masquerade game. I thought it would be wise to just have a brainstorming session before we made characters or got right to the heart of it, and my intuition was correct.

One of the players, who was totally gung-ho for the game, had a background exclusively in mission-oriented, dungeon crawl, objective-oriented games. When we started talking about how underpowered we wanted the PCs to be (one of the elements of the premise), he began to squirm uncomfortably. Sensing his discomfort, Clinton launched into a nice speech about different styles of roleplaying. I think it really opened up his eyes.

He came to the game ready to make a character and, in fact, prepared to help another novice player make one too. Suddenly, he realized that not only was he not on the same page as the rest of the players, he wasn't even in the same library. The happy ending for this little example is that he wasn't opposed to the idea of changing his mode to something new. I guess I'd assumed that people find a style of play and stick with it, stubbornly unwilling to delve into other modes.

He ended up leaving the brainstorming session with big eyes, like a whole other world had been opened up to him. He didn't end up making a character at the session because all the preconceptions he'd had were based on Vampire as "D & D with fangs." I got the feeling he was going to go home and re-read all the Vampire books in a whole new light.


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 09, 2001, 10:37:00 AM
Cameron,

This is a great story, in terms of communicating about the goals prior to play.

Lest people get the wrong idea, though ... the goal of GNS thinking (or any constructive take on role-playing) is not to convert anyone to "the right way" to play. I know Cameron and Clinton understand this, but what with all the new members of the Forge showing up, it seems like a good idea to repeat it up front.

It's also one of the foundation concepts here that many people are NOT especially happy with their role-playing experiences, and that coherent discussion and some good terms definitions can go a long way toward fixing that. If someone IS happy about how they role-play, then the body of theory at this site has no recommendations for them.

Therefore, the good news from Cameron's post is that this communication event DID occur. It's not a matter of "fixing" those "evil Gamists," but rather of simply making sure that everyone's aware of the shared goals. The very same good news would apply if I were to show up for a game of Ninja Burger expecting a philosophically-intense story about honor to emerge, and if the GM and other players disabused me of this (disastrous) notion right away.

Best,
Ron


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: Cameron on August 09, 2001, 11:11:00 AM
I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear. The focal point of my story was that there had been open and clear communication between people of vastly different styles of play. I'm sure everyone has heard a horror story about showing up to game with new people and being at odds with their gaming style, only to be made fun of, shunned or otherwsie made to feel uncomfortable. I was posting because this type of thing had been averted because of open-mindedness and mature behavior.




Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: Doc Midnight on August 13, 2001, 10:28:00 AM
I'd like to add that it is entirely possibe to have a group in a session of any game in which all involved really want to play that particular game.

Our house gamist will play anything and plays some games quite well (not many games quite well though). He just needs to be clued in to the general style and feel of the game before character creation.

Not because he's a gamist but because he's just not a quick thinker in a gaming context. A mission oriented player probably sees everything in those terms so if the goal of the mission is to convice the caliph that a treaty must be signed through diplomacy, he'd make some type of rogue, disguise himself and set about the task of being glib.

GNS is neat but I've been noticing that the stepchildern called gamists COULD be duped into altering their perspective.


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: jburneko on August 13, 2001, 10:48:00 AM
Quote

On 2001-08-13 14:28, Doc Midnight wrote:

GNS is neat but I've been noticing that the stepchildern called gamists COULD be duped into altering their perspective.



In the course of my observations Gamists are very easy to please.  All they need is an objective goal and a set of objective tools to reach that goal.  The problem that *I* personal have with gamists is that (in my experience) most gamists refuse to emotionally engage with the world in any other way than objective game mechanics.

My resident gamist does things like this: He'll start talking to this NPC and after a few lines of banter he'll immediately turn to his sheet roll something like, Bluff or Persuasion, look up and say, 'I got a 15, give me the relevant information.'  And when I say, 'Um, there is no "relevant" information.' he gets exasperated and can't figure out why I wasted his time with this NPC.  Never mind that the NPC happens to be his sister's fiancee.  If it doesn't move him closer to the goal of the game it's superfluous and a waste of time.

This of course goes for events as well.  You can kill the gamist's character's entire family and if it doesn't tack on a penalty or take his character away from him then it really doesn't matter.  Unless the survival of his family was an element of the goal the gamist sees no reason to care.  If it doesn't threaten him or his objectives then it's irrelivant.

This is probably an extreme but it is my personal experience of gamists.  Simulationists fit better into my game than gamists.  Immersive simulationists are there to 'keep it real', so to speak.  If someone's family was wiped out the 'realistic' reaction would be a lot of conflicting emotions.

Jesse


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: contracycle on August 14, 2001, 06:43:00 AM
> This of course goes for events as well. You can kill the > gamist's character's entire family and if it doesn't tack > on a penalty or take his character away from him then it > really doesn't matter. Unless the survival of his family > was an element of the goal the gamist sees no reason to
> care. If it doesn't threaten him or his objectives then
> it's irrelivant.

Hang on a minute.  I think I'm pretty gamist myself, and this appears to walk right into the criticism that Brian Gleichman offers of the gamist definition being crypto-perjorative.  I suppose it comes down to: "what makes you think the gamist does not care about the characters family"?
I believe Brian has been arguing that this may well constitute a game goal for both player and character, or either separately.  Resolving the problem may need, for the player to get their gamist goodies, to be mediated through objective contests and the like, but there is no reason to believe that gamism implies a necessary rejection of all other elements of the game or setting.  I see no contradiction in gamist players pursuing such "nebulous" in-game goals.


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: jburneko on August 14, 2001, 08:17:00 AM
Quote

On 2001-08-14 10:43, contracycle wrote:

I suppose it comes down to: "what makes you think the gamist does not care about the characters family"?


Sorry, first of all I was talking from personal experience.  My experience with gamists oriented players has not been pleasent but obviously my experience does not constitute the whole gamist world.

AND I would absolutely AGREE with you that the survival of the character's family might very well be an objective goal for the gamist.  And if it is then he would care about it very much.

Jesse


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: FilthySuperman on August 16, 2001, 06:16:00 AM
Wow.. this all sounds like alot of "worst case" scenarios involving players. I've run the gamut of player types and don't really consider myself a specific type. (G N or S) My first gaming experiences, of course, were with DnD. We didn't really know about the whole "alternate world" thing so we hacked, slashed, and spelunked our way to the end to get experience points. We thought it was funny when someone "roleplayed". After a few chuckles at our resident Halfling thief (doesn't every group know "the guy that came up with the name "pepper" for a halfling thief? :razz:) doing silly things to make us laugh. We started getting more and more in character. My biggest problems throughout the years have been arguments based on "theory and principle" though. In a VERY LONG rifts campaign I was in I was constantly annoyed when a new supplement came out because our power gamers had to roll up new characters. "I think this Monster-hunter OCC can take a glitter boy, I've got to play one, let me check and see how much of a dodge bonus I can get with him first though". On the other hand, my V:tM games were just as annoying when we played with extreme narrativists. (btw: I'm usually the GM for all the games I play... cause noone else will do it :razz:)

Well that's my two quid on the matter.

T


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 16, 2001, 09:56:00 PM
Hey T,

Just a quick aside - what you describe in the Vampire game isn't Narrativist at all, but genre-faithfulness, which is often a big deal for Simulationist play. So I think that's what you were seeing there.

This WAS an aside, though, so any hassle about it ought to go to private messages.

Best,
Ron


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: TrizzlWizzl on October 17, 2001, 09:41:00 AM
Quote

On 2001-08-14 10:43, contracycle wrote:
 I suppose it comes down to: "what makes you think the gamist does not care about the characters family"?  I see no contradiction in gamist players pursuing such "nebulous" in-game goals.


I agree with contra here.  As a "rules lawyer" (or so my group has labeled me), I still require character goals to feel fully engaged in the game.  However: unless my DM has worked in the necessary plot elements for me to feel in some way like the story of my family has been in large part crafted by me, then no... I'd wouldn't feel particularly inclined to respond emotionally to a situation I had no part in creating just because the GM felt that an emotional response in this situation would somehow make for a "better narrative".  I would rather the GM, if he wanted to create an emotional situation, would set up the plot in such a way that I felt an honest emotional relationship with a plot element I helped create.

I have no idea if this is gamist.  I don't really care.  I just know that this is how I feel a well-run game will 'feel'... like the players are creating their own stories in response to the GM's objective descriptions.


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: Mike Holmes on October 17, 2001, 11:50:00 AM
TW,

Jesse admitted afterwards that he had overreacted. Gasmism does not imply rejecting all other forms of play. It just means prefering those elements that are competitive, etc.

What you seem to like seems more Narrativist, but that's just fom your brief description. There is no reason why a player can't like all three modes of play. I certainly do. And you seem to get a kick out of at least two.

Mike


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: contracycle on October 19, 2001, 02:09:00 AM
Quote

does not imply rejecting all other forms of play. It just means prefering those elements that are competitive, etc.


Which is itself disputed by gamists.


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on October 19, 2001, 07:00:00 AM
Quote

On 2001-10-19 06:09, contracycle wrote:
Quote

does not imply rejecting all other forms of play. It just means prefering those elements that are competitive, etc.


Which is itself disputed by gamists.


Gareth -

It's time to define what you mean by gamists. I fully realize there's a lot of people that would call themselves that, but using different models. I don't deny the use of other models, but do reinforce that we are discussing the most current model published by Ron Edwards on the Forge.

It's important to note again that other models are not necessarily invalid or not useful. Good games are designed using other models or even in the absence of models - Robin Laws is a champion of awesome game design, yet I've never seen him espouse a philosophy. Still, saying that something is "disputed by gamists" when a standard definition for what you mean by gamist is less than useful - it'd be like saying "issue X is espoused by good people". "Good people" are undefined.

Anyway, to cut myself short, I'm not sure what a Gamist player could be if not someone who enjoyed competition of some sort in games. So, as a self-identified Gamist, what exactly does that mean to you? Without that knowledge, this conversation is less than useful.


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: xiombarg on October 23, 2001, 01:46:00 PM
Perhaps I should put this in another thread, but I'd like to return to a quote from the start of this thread that, in my opinion, deserves highlighting.

Quote


I guess I'd assumed that people find a style of play and stick with it, stubbornly unwilling to delve into other modes.
 


...but instead, you found things to be different. I think this is something that isn't emphasized enough in discussions like this. In my experience, gamers are NOT stuck in their ways. If you show respect for them as human beings and for their old style of play, they are often open to new ways of doing things.

This is why it's important to try very hard not to be pejorative about other styles of play, as Ron and others have tried to emphasize here on the Forge. I've found that if you don't flinch when you talk to the sterotypical "Rifts power-gamist" or whatever, you find they're more resonable than you think. And even if they don't want to try another style of play, they can usually explain their own preferences well enough for you to be able to deal with them as player or GM.



Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: contracycle on October 24, 2001, 03:14:00 AM
Quote

Anyway, to cut myself short, I'm not sure what a Gamist player could be if not someone who enjoyed competition of some sort in games. So, as a self-identified Gamist, what exactly does that mean to you? Without that knowledge, this conversation is less than useful.


I am surprised to see this, because the problem with this boards approach to gamism has been wekll explored by Brian Gelichman.  This is hardly a new criticism to you - you keep priviliging competition instead of player skill.  As Gleichman laboured to inform you, it just does not appear to describe the actual experience. And one would think that if two seperate people cam along and applied the same criticism independantly, it might be taken more seriously.


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 24, 2001, 06:13:00 AM
Hello,

Probably time to drop in here. If it's not clear from my essay, I do not agree with Brian's interpretation of Gamism by a wide margin. Citing the differences between our views does not constitute an argument.

By my definition, his descriptions of play (and certainly his game design) do not qualify as Gamism. By my view, the concept of "challenging oneself" applies as a goal across all of role-playing, being no more nor less than a particular take on Exploration.

The only reason posed to refute this view is that he prefers to think of himself as a Gamist and is aggravated that my definitions do not permit him to do so.

Whether the shoe fits Brian is irrelevant to me. What matters to me is whether the shoe is a fair, accurate, and useful construct. I have built it based on my years of observation and experience - people often enjoy role-playing in the manner described, according to the parameters listed. That goal is distinctive enough to have its own name, and in this case, it seems that I and the original Threefold are not deviating in any meaningful way.

One last note: if there is any one phrase I am weary of having thrown in my face, it is the "Ron admits that he doesn't understand Gamism" crap. I should like to announce that I understand Gamism fine, and enjoy it frequently.

Best,
Ron


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: contracycle on October 24, 2001, 09:30:00 AM
Well we seem to have descended to "more gamist than thou" argumentation.


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 24, 2001, 10:44:00 AM
Gareth,

If that's how you see it, you're free to do so. I disagree with you. I do think that's how Brian has presented his case ("I'm a Gamist and your system describes me as a Simulationist, which must be wrong"), which is why I have never bothered to debate with him about it.

I, on the other hand, have defined my terms based on real human activity and placed them in a context that makes sense relative to other goals, and to role-playing as a whole. I have yet to hear an argument that challenges any aspect of the framework.

I am not claiming to know Gamism better than anyone else. I do disavow the commonly-repeated claim that I, being me, automatically know nothing about it.

Best,
Ron


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: Valamir on October 24, 2001, 11:09:00 AM
To differentiate "player skill" from "competition" is meaningless anyway.  Brian raised many good points during his sojourn here, but I could never quite track how he managed to reach the conclusions he did based on the reasoning he used.  I could go back and cite some instances that I found very hard to follow the segue but unfortuneately those posts are lost to posterity.

But essentially while I agree with much of what Brian said, one thing seemed very clear to me that obviously was not to him.  I don't believe it is possible to talk about enjoying "player skill" without talking about competition.  In order to see ones skill as a player lead to an enjoyable outcome one must have some means of measuring the application of that skill.  What ever yard stick is used...thats competition.

I think perhaps alot of the whole "its competition, no its not" problem stems from people seeing competition only in the guise of a sporting event where people are struggling to defeat their fellow players.  That is certainly one form of competition and it is certainly a viable form for Gamist roleplaying to take (both Hero Quest (which achieves a modest level of roleplaying in some variants) and Rune have a healthy dose of player vs. player and/or player vs. GM built into them).

However, other forms of competition are equally valid and the desire to exert player skill to effect the outcome of events in the game is certainly one of them.

In fact, I found Brians theories to be of tremendous use in attempting to differentiate between a Gamist player and a Simulationist player based on whether it was the players abilities or the character abilities that were focused on.  

However, in the end...its still competition.


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: James Holloway on October 25, 2001, 07:51:00 AM
Quote

On 2001-10-24 15:09, Valamir wrote:
To differentiate "player skill" from "competition" is meaningless anyway.



In particular, remember that Brian stressed objective tests of player skill, which necessitates a yardstick of some kind (else whence the objectivity?) That, at least as far as I understand it, matches Ron's description of competition. I also agree that the problem is that competition as used on the Forge doesn't necessarily mean what most people think when they hear "competition"...

a problem with which I think we're all familiar.


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: Valamir on October 25, 2001, 08:17:00 AM
Quote

I also agree that the problem is that competition as used on the Forge doesn't necessarily mean what most people think when they hear "competition"...

a problem with which I think we're all familiar.



Oh...I could rant for days about that problem...no wait...I already have :smile:

I've pretty much resigned myself to mentally adding As Defined Here after all Jargon words people use...even as I cringe at the damage that it does to broader acceptability.


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: contracycle on October 25, 2001, 08:25:00 AM
Well, I think this is because there is no necessary link between an "objective test of player skill" and "competition".  As has been pointed out, there need to be yardsticks, but these may well be self-imposed.  The problem with the concept of competition conceptually is that it is then taken too far, and gamism becomes defined as competition BETWEEN players, which I think it manifestly is not.


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: contracycle on October 25, 2001, 08:29:00 AM
Well, I think this is because there is no necessary link between an "objective test of player skill" and "competition".  As has been pointed out, there need to be yardsticks, but these may well be self-imposed.  The problem with the concept of competition conceptually is that it is then taken too far, and gamism becomes defined as competition BETWEEN players, which I think it manifestly is not.


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 25, 2001, 09:01:00 AM
Hello,

I have posted a long essay in the "Gamism and Premise" thread which addresses some of the posts in this thread as well.

Best,
Ron


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: Valamir on October 25, 2001, 10:37:00 AM
Quote

On 2001-10-25 12:25, contracycle wrote:
Well, I think this is because there is no necessary link between an "objective test of player skill" and "competition".


Well I would at this point have to unequivicably 100% state "you are wrong".  They are irrefuteably and inevitably linked.  Measuring oneself, ones accomplishments, ones abilities, etc against any form of yard stick is a competitive act.  Period.

I'm thinking that you have some personal ill will towards the term or idea of competition and at this point you are just flailing against having to see that term referring to something that you otherwise relate to.

Quote

As has been pointed out, there need to be yardsticks, but these may well be self-imposed.


Doesn't matter.

In the words of that old Survivor song from Rocky IV
"Its you against you.  Its the paradox that drives us all"

Whether the yardstick you are competing against is external or internal, you are still competeing against it.


Quote

The problem with the concept of competition conceptually is that it is then taken too far, and gamism becomes defined as competition BETWEEN players, which I think it manifestly is not.


Whose taking it that far?  Maybe that retard reporter in Brazil who recently described a girl's death as being related to Roleplaying which are games where people pretend to kill each other with dice.  But certainly no one here at the Forge.


Title: Run-in with a Gamist Player
Post by: contracycle on October 29, 2001, 04:45:00 AM
Quote

Well I would at this point have to unequivicably 100% state "you are wrong".  They are irrefuteably and inevitably linked.  Measuring oneself, ones accomplishments, ones abilities, etc against any form of yard stick is a competitive act.  Period.


Well you can unequivocally state that to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which gives comeptition as:

Main Entry: com·pe·ti·tion
Pronunciation: "käm-p&-'ti-sh&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Late Latin competition-, competitio, from Latin competere
Date: 1605
1 : the act or process of competing : RIVALRY: as a : the effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure the business of a third party by offering the most favorable terms b : active demand by two or more organisms or kinds of organisms for some environmental resource in short supply
2 : a contest between rivals; also : one's competitors


Quote

I'm thinking that you have some personal ill will towards the term or idea of competition and at this point you are just flailing against having to see that term referring to something that you otherwise relate to.


And I think that yopu are so obsessed by the concept that you apply it in circumstances for which it is manifestly innapropriate.

Quote

Whether the yardstick you are competing against is external or internal, you are still competeing against it.


An entirely sense-less statement

Quote

Whose taking it that far?  Maybe that retard reporter in Brazil who recently described a girl's death as being related to Roleplaying which are games where people pretend to kill each other with dice.  But certainly no one here at the Forge.


Ron, quite clearly in his essay, frames gamism as competition between real people.  Right there, chapter two, explaining the 3 branches of the GNS, says:

Gamism is expressed by competition among participants (the real people); it includes victory and loss conditions for characters, both short-term and long-term, that reflect on the people’s actual play strategies. The listed elements provide an arena for the competition.