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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 159 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: a Forge greater than the sum of its parts  (Read 10024 times)
Matt Wilson
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 1121

student, second edition


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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2004, 08:13:54 AM »

Quote
So put aside your internet-egos and freaking post in Actual Play. Your good experiences will become a thousand people's desperately-needed help, over the course of just a few months.


(note: to maintain the Forge birthday party atmosphere, everyone has to imagine me holding a keg cup filled with beer that's gotten a bit warm)

You know, this is exactly why I don't post about my stuff in Actual Play any more. I did, and the threads summed up pretty well why it works for me, and how, and further posts will be more of the same. Who does that benefit besides my internet ego?

Next time we play something from a Forgonian, I'll be happy to post about it. And when the playtesters post about my stuff, I'll be happy to see anything new they have to add.

And when my labor of love is done, I'll pimp that shit like nobody's business.

Note that none of the aforementioned playtesters of said game is that good fer nuthin' Scott Knipe. If he wants more Actual Play posts, he could volunteer. I'm just sayin'.
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2004, 08:28:38 AM »

Hey Ron,

Your good experiences will become a thousand people's desperately-needed help, over the course of just a few months.

Oh yeah, I think this cuts exactly to the heart of what Scott is saying. He has played widely, playtested lots of indie games, learned a lot, and shared that with folks through posts and emails. And now he's blocked. He's not playing, and he's not satisfied with his play. And so when he turns to The Forge for insight into how others may have solved the issues he's struggling with, he finds lots and lots of theorizing about play by folks who aren't playing or who have a grossly limited range of play experiences, and it isn't helpful. He's forced to think that either folks haven't played themselves to the point of having to deal with the problems he's facing, or that they have and they aren't posting about it or designing games that organize play in a way that addresses it.

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
hardcoremoose
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 669


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« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2004, 10:23:09 AM »

Rich Forest said:
Quote
I think Scott is implying that, among other things, people need to actually recognize the value of the Actual Play forum.


I'm not just implying it, I'm saying it right out loud for all The Forge to hear.  And I'm saying that there are people here, as Mr. Miller confirms, who take what they need and never give back.  I'm saying that there are people here who talk the indie game, but then it's right back to d20 or WW or whatever else is big at the moment.  And I'm saying that there are some people here - maybe only a few, but notable because of their high-profiles - who barely play at all, but certainly offer their advice about it all the time.

As Paul points out, I have a selfish angle to all of this.  So here's what I want.

I want a Forge where people are playing indie games, and secondarily, designing cool indie games for play.  

I want The Forge to be successful in introducing new games to an audience, and vice versa.

I want the Forge denizens to be proactive in their indie gaming, and not just standing around waiting for Ron to point the way.  He's too busy to be telling us all what we should be playing these days.

I want John Kim to swing some of that clout around, putting it to use towards the indie movement.

I want to see the prolific theorizers knee-deep in the Actual Play forum, developing a breadth of gaming experience that rivals all others.

I want to see us take that next step, because we've plateaued at this point.  But I want us to love it and vigorously take up the challenge, and no impassioned plea from myself or anyone else can make that happen.  And if it's not going to happen, I want to know why?  Why don't you guys want to play these games?

And don't tell me it's because you can't find people to play with.

- Scott

Notes:

Rich: You have a breadth of gaming experience that people around here should be jealous of.  I know you're busy, but people could really benefit from what you have to say.

Mike: Same thing as Rich.  And I'd dig checking out your superhero game, although I need to warn you, I've been tinkering with my own ideas about the genre.

Ben: I don't know where to go with your "deconstruction of successful play" theory proposal, but I'm not going to nay-say it either.

Matt: You probably don't realize it, but I've followed the development of PTA for quite some time now.  I should have listed it along with 9 Worlds and the others (I should know better than to make those lists because someone always gets excluded).  In some ways, PTA is probably a better example of the sort of game design I'm hoping to encourage here, because yours is a freshman venture, almost entirely developed in plain view of The Forge.  It, like MLwM, represents the model I would point aspiring indie game designers to; that is, the author has a broad range of play experiences, which inform his design goals, ultimately leading back to the gaming table, where new, fun play experiences are had as a result.
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greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2004, 10:23:37 AM »

Quote
It's not a post of an RPG session, in a sense. It's just another version of "in our game, we did this, and we did that, and then we did this."

This is why I avoid logs of games. They're devoid of immediate impact, and incredibly difficult to parse for a vaguely interested observer. Alot of crap to wade through in order to find the diamonds.

Give me points and highlights and conversation bits, damnit! Not a frickin' column of "<ScottG> Morpheme rides the high wire. <Nate> Excelsior chases him. <ScottG> I roll d20 and get a 12." That would be like recording your gaming session on audio and then playing it as a report of Actual Play. BAH!

As for posting to Actual Play, I have a post in the works about recent play -- this comes after around six months of no real gaming whatsoever. However, for me, the only play I'm able to get is two (sometimes three) hours once a week with my 3E group.

Why?

First, no local group. No chance at a local group. IRC is it for my gaming.

Second, family. Specifically, wife. Once a week is it -- in order to play, I have to leave her alone with all four of our kids at bedtime; doing so more than once a week would be incredibly self-centered of me.

Third, families of the rest of the group. We simply don't have the time to devote to gaming we did pre-children, and undertaking new systems just isn't going to happen. It's been put forward and tried.

Fourth, making a living and actually working on game projects. I'm much less active at the Forge now than I was even a year ago, because all the free time I had for the Forge is now being channeled into actual design and writing.

I'd love for all of this to change, to find a local group I could play different games with, to be able to game more than once a week for a couple hours, and to be able to post more at the Forge (especially about playing all these awesome games everyone has).

So, you know what, Scott? Go play ORX. Then tell me about it on the forums. Strike up a conversation with me about play, or anyone about your play. Play the games being talked about, and then talk about the play.

If you want to feel the love, you gotta put it out yourself. That goes for everyone, not just Scott. So, Forge-folk, if you aren't designing, start playing. Right now. DO IT.

Start playing your fellow Forge-folk's games!
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
greyorm
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Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2004, 10:49:32 AM »

As for my playing 3E as opposed to indie games...see above.

No local group. And yes, I've looked. That's why I spent six months in gaming purgatory recently.

In fact, I'd love to find a stable, committed group on-line...and I mean committed. That means you say you're going to play on Thursday night, you're there unless someone died or your computer exploded. No ditching because "other things got in the way," which is what I've seen time and time again.

That's also why I'm loyal to my current group. They are THERE unless someone's dead or their computer is fried. Period. I've had them show up puking, and apologize for being sick when we call the game so they can get some needed rest.

I had high hopes for the Indie Netgaming group, but they're...well, I'm just going to say it, no pulling punches: they're flaky, damnit. Half the time, group members flake out and never show for planned games, and a good chunk of the time the planned games don't occur, at least if the traffic on the mailing list is any indication.

So, where, folks, can I find players who are willing to play games on-line from 9 or 10pm Central time to gods-forbid in the morning once a week without fail?

If anyone out there has the balls for that, talk to me, but don't waste my time. Yeah, I'm talking a hard-core-indie-punk-advancement-stance with that challenge. Who else is willing to make the sacrifice?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Dav
Member

Posts: 432


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« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2004, 11:04:28 AM »

Hey...  Y'know, what I noticed about the Forge is that, at one point, there were great games being played, designed, and admired like I'd walked into a river of gold.  I couldn't help but stumble into the happy, great games.

Now, I keep reading the Indie Design forum, listening to people spout about their games played... AND THEY ARE ALL WHITE WOLF AND D20!

Now, while I do have a personal hatred for these systems that borders on maniacally insane... I find that rehashing D&D or WW seems to be well not-indie.  

And, for those wondering, I despise d20, in all incarnations, mainly because it has already been fucking done.  It was done in the 70's, it was done in the 80's, it was done in the 90's, and fuckall, it is getting done again.  And nothing has changed.  Changing + modifiers into - modifiers does not change probability.  Nothing has been altered in the game since day 1.  It is still a pointless and fruitless dungeon crawl with only killing things and taking their shit as a benchamrk of success.  Stop thinking you are playing something new, stop thinking you are playing a game that has/requires/advocates creativity... it is masturbating with your friends... not sex!

Hmmm.... that may have come out too.... honestly.

Anyway, people, what I am asking, and no, I am not asking Moose or Clinton or those who obviously "get it" (and, if you are wondering if that's you, then it isn't)... I mean the people thinking that changing cards for dice changes a system, people that feel that having races and classes in a game is a good thing, someone who wants to nitpick the necessity of Strength, Endurance, and fucking Robustness in the same game (the correct answer: NONE OF THEM!).  Three, six, nine, twenty attributes, it doesn't matter.  Screw rules for swimming, I don't give a flying fuck how your game handles climbing, and if I have to read more than a page or so on how to stick a sword through a head, I swear, I will find you at your homes and show you that it does not require that long to explain.

I want the river of gold back, I don't want to dig through the muck and shit for some nugget.

Dav
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ethan_greer
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« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2004, 11:25:24 AM »

A community is made up of its members. If you don't like something, change it.
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Dav
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Posts: 432


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« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2004, 01:50:34 PM »

Ah, yes...

Mr. Greer... when I begin methodically culling the herd of d20 players, promise me that you will stand for me in court.  

Dav
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2004, 01:52:02 PM »

Thanks Ethan. I agree.

Quote
Your good experiences will become a thousand people's desperately-needed help, over the course of just a few months.
The problem is that it's very hard to see sometimes how a post of positive play will help anyone. I mean, if you put a lot of detail in, nobody reads because it's hard to find the useful stuff in the mix. If you post little, you'll probably miss the important stuff.

That said, we post a lot. I posted about the Unsung game a lot recently. And realize that many actual play posts are in other fora. You can read up on the Wiki game just by checking it out - links found in the Univerasalis forum. You can read about our FTF HQ game in Josh's thread in the HQ forum. I comment about our IRC game all the time in the HQ forum. Sometimes it's best to post about the play not in threads about it, but in other threads.

Once again, I'm seeing little change in actual play posting, and don't know what y'all are smoking. Frickin doomsayers. Like Ethan says, how can you say that there's a problem when you're part of the problem? Want others to cop to it as well so you can feel you have company, or an excuse? Sorry, not playing the codependent today.

Quote
I think Scott is implying that, among other things, people need to actually recognize the value of the Actual Play forum.
Which is great. I would have just said, "Hey, everybody, try to post more to actual play, it's important." As opposed to, "Something's wrong with Actual Play."

Quote
And I'm saying that there are some people here - maybe only a few, but notable because of their high-profiles - who barely play at all, but certainly offer their advice about it all the time.
I think that people are capable of figuring out who the people who play are from the people who don't.

Me, personally if I start one more game, my wife will leave me. I think that 3 or so a week is pretty good.

Quote
I want a Forge where people are playing indie games, and secondarily, designing cool indie games for play.
Well, that is sorta selfish considering it's not the goal of The Forge as stated. Now if you mean that the proper mix to support design should include more play, I'm behind you. But getting people to play isn't easy, and getting them to post about play when it's a lot of work for little percieved benefit, is harder. I mean, if the play is good, what do I get from posting about it? It takes an issue of some sort to give one a reason to post most times.

Quote
I want The Forge to be successful in introducing new games to an audience, and vice versa.
And we have new games produced every year. About the same amount. And they are enthusiastically recieved.

Quote
I want the Forge denizens to be proactive in their indie gaming, and not just standing around waiting for Ron to point the way.  He's too busy to be telling us all what we should be playing these days.
Except for all the people playing things he isn't commenting about. Not seeing this one at all.

Quote
I want John Kim to swing some of that clout around, putting it to use towards the indie movement.
I want Scott Knipe to rewrite and publish Wyrd. Take care of business at home first.

Yes, Sorcerer & Space is coming out this year. I'm waiting on a playtest to do final adjustments. In trade of the playtest of another indie game PTA. Are you playtesting anybody elses games?

Quote
I want to see the prolific theorizers knee-deep in the Actual Play forum, developing a breadth of gaming experience that rivals all others.
Who, specifically? You name John Kim, who only has an association here by interest (he's not particularly about the Indie scene), and actually he posts quite a bit in actual play. I remember his work with Chris Lehrich on Chris' Shadows in the Fog game. How many games do you have to work on to have the privilege to post to theory?

Quote
Why don't you guys want to play these games?
Like MLWM that I've played more than I think anyone else has (I dunno, something like five games now)? Or is it just that I didn't post prolifically on each one of them? Because I don't post enough?

This is the part where the complainer tells me that it's not Mike Holmes that's the problem, but somebody else. Well, "sombody else" is you! I don't think there's a problem, personally, but if you want to change it, then be my guest.

Mike
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montag
Member

Posts: 172


« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2004, 02:39:05 PM »

<metallic booming voice>If I might make an observation ...</quote>
Perhaps it would be helpful to have some guidelines for Actual Play. There's rules for indie design posts, but not for actual play, and I must confess that I've not yet got a firm grasp on what a post in AP should look like, what to mention, what to leave out etc.
Maybe if some of energy going into frustration over AP could go into some sticky for more focussed AP reports, that might help a lot. There have been some useful ideas mentioned on this thread, but they still need to be collected and refined IMO.
The advantage in having guidelines for AP IMHO would be, that writing up an actual play report might be less of a burden, if it's clear, what people are interested in (=what gets responses=social reinforcement) and what's useful. People can bring up additional stuff of interest to them anyway, so I think it's unlikely that this would scare anyone away.
Maybe some sort of 20-questions about your session would be nice, much faster to answer those than write up a lengthy report, hoping one has included bits of interest.

I'm glad this is the FB-forum, so I don't have to bother whether the above is coherent and makes sense. Much easier that way.
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markus
------------------------------------------------------
"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do."
--B. F. Skinner, Contingencies of Reinforcement (1969)
ethan_greer
Member

Posts: 869


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« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2004, 02:57:22 PM »

Quote from: Dav
Ah, yes...

Mr. Greer... when I begin methodically culling the herd of d20 players, promise me that you will stand for me in court.  

Dav

*grin* I can't make that promise at this time, Dav... I'd need more details on the method, and also whether or not I would be among the culled. Assuming I'm okay with your method, including the criteria for culling, then I'm your man.

On topic, I like Montag's idea about more guidelines for the Actual Play forum.
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John Kim
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Posts: 1805


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« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2004, 03:05:42 PM »

Quote from: hardcoremoose
  I want the Forge denizens to be proactive in their indie gaming, and not just standing around waiting for Ron to point the way.  He's too busy to be telling us all what we should be playing these days.

I want John Kim to swing some of that clout around, putting it to use towards the indie movement.

I want to see the prolific theorizers knee-deep in the Actual Play forum, developing a breadth of gaming experience that rivals all others.  

I want to see us take that next step, because we've plateaued at this point.  But I want us to love it and vigorously take up the challenge, and no impassioned plea from myself or anyone else can make that happen.  And if it's not going to happen, I want to know why?  Why don't you guys want to play these games?  

Urk!  You know, I would like to help the indie scene -- because I do think that the RPG industry is in something of a rut, and I approve of new ideas in general.  However, even though I approve of shake-up in principle, most of the Forge designs don't grab me personally.  Right now I'm in three bi-weekly campaigns: Buffy (as player), James Bond 007 (as GM), and my RQ-variant Vinland campaign (as GM).  I did playtest Shadows in the Fog last summer with Gordon Landis and Tor Erikson as well as some group regulars.  I actually liked the results of play a lot despite some struggles with the beta mechanics, but people mostly couldn't commit to more.  There was talk about doing one or two followup sessions, but I think several people thought that it wasn't worth it if it wasn't a campaign.  

I'm considering trying out My Life With Master with my group after my Vinland campaign ends, as an in-between thing prior to the Star Trek campaign I was planning.  

As for why I don't want to play these games...  Well, that's probably a whole 'nother thread.  Roughly, I like detail and cause-and-effect, and I'm wary of personality or theme mechanics which often seem reductionist to me.  Going into why would take some digging, though.
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- John
hardcoremoose
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 669


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« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2004, 06:33:12 PM »

I'm going to just get to the heart of Mike's response here...

Quote
This is the part where the complainer tells me that it's not Mike Holmes that's the problem, but somebody else. Well, "sombody else" is you! I don't think there's a problem, personally, but if you want to change it, then be my guest.


Mike, you always argue the status quo, and that's cool.  I pretty much counted on it anyway.  We rabble-rousers need you folks.  

The thing is, though, I look at The Forge, and I see an Actual Play forum that's lost its vim and vigor.  I see indie game design that's become stagnant.  I see theory discussions that have become self-aggrandizing exercises in rhetoric.  I know other people see it too.  I can't imagine that you don't, but heck, anything's possible.

You're right about one thing though...I haven't been playing much lately.  And indirectly, that's the reason for this whole thread.  You see, at some point, my little group, who was so prominent back in the heyday, became dysfunctional.  And what that dysfunction is...well it's hard to explain.  It was sort of like hitting a wall.  We had done everything we wanted to within a certain realm of design and were ready to take the next step, but found that as a group, we were incapable of doing so, possibly because that next step hadn't been invented yet.

So I turned to The Forge.  I had never left it, really.  I had stopped posting extensively about the same time that our group started to hit its rough spot, but I always stuck around, reading the threads in Actual Play and Indie Design, thinking something was going to click...that someone else was having the same problems and had found a way to overcome them.  Not only did I not find that, but I watched as the actual play and design dwindled away to only a few interesting tidbits.

So there you go.  I'm about the last person you want to playtest a game right now.  I have to find a way to make myself functional.  If people here at The Forge have insight into that, by way of game design or theory informed by actual play experience, great, but really, my interest in this thread is unselfish.  I'm just offering observations derived from a year-and-a-half of semi-lurking.

- Scott

PS...I appreciate the support regarding WYRD, but you're not going to run me out of town on that rail.  WYRD exists.  It's playable.  Anyone who wants to play it can download it from my site.
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hardcoremoose
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 669


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« Reply #28 on: April 05, 2004, 06:37:53 PM »

John,

Thanks for your response.  And I understand where you're coming from.  The only reason I ever named you by name is because you carry a lot of cred, and it's unfortunate that more games aren't produced here that fit your bill of needs.  

MLwM seems like a departure for you, and I'd love to see the actual play post about it.

- Scott
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Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


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« Reply #29 on: April 05, 2004, 07:29:27 PM »

Quote
You're right about one thing though...I haven't been playing much lately. And indirectly, that's the reason for this whole thread. You see, at some point, my little group, who was so prominent back in the heyday, became dysfunctional. And what that dysfunction is...well it's hard to explain. It was sort of like hitting a wall. We had done everything we wanted to within a certain realm of design and were ready to take the next step, but found that as a group, we were incapable of doing so, possibly because that next step hadn't been invented yet.

So I turned to The Forge. I had never left it, really. I had stopped posting extensively about the same time that our group started to hit its rough spot, but I always stuck around, reading the threads in Actual Play and Indie Design, thinking something was going to click...that someone else was having the same problems and had found a way to overcome them. Not only did I not find that, but I watched as the actual play and design dwindled away to only a few interesting tidbits.


Scott, I'm hugely glad to see you posting again, and glad to hear you've been lurking.

But I hope you'll pardon my quirked eyebrow at the presumption that the Forge is somehow lacking now because we haven't diagnosed a problem you've not yet even mentioned the symptoms of...
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