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Author Topic: Lines, Veils, Breaking the Ice  (Read 22480 times)
Matt Wilson
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2004, 09:03:18 AM »

Quote
C'mon! Are they gonna? Are they gonna right now?


It seems to me that Emily and Vincent's games could somehow work together. Or maybe I'll just burn in Hell.  Suggested edits below:



Characters have a Nookie Readiness stat. It includes whatever nookie readiness includes: situational awareness, capacity to do the deed, personal honor, opportunistic exploitation of circumstances, the works. It doesn't include specialized training.

Nookie is Stressful. Stress is measured in three categories: Intensity, Danger and Confusion, each of which will be low, high, or spiking. Intensity = identifying with your partner. Danger = risk to you. Confusion = volume of information requiring attention.

In order to effectively "do it" with your target, you have to beat all three Stress levels with your Nookie Readiness. Beating low Stress is easy, beating high Stress is hard, and you can't beat spiking Stress - it prevents you from ... uh, you know.
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Jason Lee
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Posts: 729


« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2004, 02:14:06 PM »

Matt, that is fucking high-larious.

In all seriousness, I could see a comfort/awkwardness state change system really working for this.

[Off Topic:  
BTW Emily, whether or not this is what you had in mind, I'm seriously considering this game as proof of concept for exploration of self, and possibly The Social Mode.  Ha!  Take that Vincent, you are your own undoing :).  I guess you did say you would participate in the design of such a game... ]
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- Cruciel
lumpley
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« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2004, 02:59:17 AM »

Emily and I about got into a fistfight over that very issue, Jason, didn't we Em?  I say: huh?  Player authorship of characters in conflict across a moral line, commenting on a problematic human issue collaboratively in play, what's not Narrativist?

-Vincent
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Callan S.
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« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2004, 06:47:37 PM »

Room for someone to whinge here?

Ahh, I'll just push in anyway. I really don't like it. Not the mechanics or anything, but basically what it's mining for material. People are going to learn intimate details about each other as a game. Sounds great? Learn this, I don't share intimate details for the sake of a game.

If the material your mining actually then stops that mining, play breaks (in this case early), or relies on peer pressure to continue (C'mon on, its just a game, its fuuuun).

So how well it operates depends on how you evaluate intimate details. Some people have them but are willing to share them out whenever (I've met a few on public transport). But I imagine if those people had to pay $10 a minute to sit in a group and chat, they wouldn'y (barring group therapy and whatever that costs). Likewise I wouldn't hand out intimate knowledge for a game. It's like the ten bucks...its not that I wouldn't pay $10 a minute for anything in the world. Some things I would, just not a casual game. Likewise with intimate details, I wont 'pay' them to play in a game that wont work without them.

Perhaps the idea is that your making a PC thats like the other person means that ones intimate details aren't covered. It screams otherwise, to me, though. The uncomfortableness expressed about the rating especially...not to mention the 'you suck' for not casually granting access to such things.

I had much the same feeling with that narrative demo that Ron did to compliment his Narra essay. The part where it asks for a real life terrible event from everybody. Sorry, I'd rather pay the 'currency' of learning a 1000 entry random table or some such, than pay that much for a game to operate the way the writer intended.

Seriously, this is a design concern as much as having heavy math or tons and tons of rules you have to memorise, are. Some people aren't phased by hard math and thick rule books, but its still a design concern. Personal investment is right next to them.
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Philosopher Gamer
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lumpley
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« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2004, 11:02:02 PM »

Then don't play it.

I trust Emily and I'm not peer pressured by her.  Don't let my tone worry you.

-Vincent
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DannyK
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« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2004, 09:02:15 AM »

it would be interesting to discuss this... maybe in the RPG Design forum, though.  I'm wondering if there's a Gamist aspect to this -- maybe based on evolutionary psychology -- or if it's more of a freeform exploratory sort of game.  

It would also be interesting to talk about the mechanics for simulating a romantic comedy -- there's traditionally some reason for the heroes not to just fall into bed together; in a lot of more modern films in the genre, the rationale can be pretty strained.  For that reason, I find most romantic comedies made after the 1960's excruciating to watch.

So, please don't let the doubting commentaries shut you down; it's a very interesting experiment.
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Nev the Deranged
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Dave. Yeah, that Dave.


« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2004, 03:01:47 PM »

As someone who plays roughly 50/50 male and female characters, and isn't afraid to take that into the relationship arena in play...

 I would still be terrified to play this game as outlined. Not that I'm afraid of the issues or the boundaries... but that I don't think I could ever play this in a social setting without resorting to cheap stereotypes and goofiness-as-retreat they way some have mentioned Vince might have.

 That said, I think it's a cool idea that would make a great "transition" between party-game and roleplaying for some, but would never work for others. Fortunately, I don't think anyone for whom it wouldn't work would be interested in playing, so that problem kind of solves itself, peer pressure notwithstanding.

Just my 2c. I'll be interested to see how it goes in actual play.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2004, 03:40:18 PM »

Quote from: lumpley
Then don't play it.

I trust Emily and I'm not peer pressured by her.  Don't let my tone worry you.

-Vincent


No worries. Apart from the technical aspect I mentioned, someone else talked about it as a party game. I'm just worried that the amount of consent required could be being underestimated. As the center piece of a party and/or as an introduction to roleplay, I'd imagine that having real impact.

Anyway, I'll grant my point perhaps clashes agains the original idea too much to help in refining it.
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Philosopher Gamer
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Christopher Weeks
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« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2004, 06:51:48 PM »

Quote from: Noon
someone else talked about it as a party game. I'm just worried that the amount of consent required could be being underestimated. As the center piece of a party and/or as an introduction to roleplay, I'd imagine that having real impact.


I'm not quite 'getting' this.  

I'm not a real friends kind of guy.  I mean, I don't really have them.  I have folks that I play board games with and folks that I role-play with and folks that I chat with at work, but I wouldn't take a bat to someone's head who fucked them over.  Other than family, there's really only one person that I'd help to evade capture by the authorities after committing murder.  So what I'm saying is that I don't have a big circle of intimate friends with whom I share everything.  And yet, I'm having trouble imagining the danger that y'all are feeling from this.  And it seems like to bend it toward humor would be really pissing the opportunity away.  

I mean, aren't we supposed to sometimes really feel something when we play these games?

I can particularly imagine my one game group from college (where much of life revolved around dating and drinking and gaming and screwing and eating pizza and revealing more than would normally be kosher) playing such a game -- assuming for a moment that it ends up being fun, and having very intense sessions that would have colored our relatinships out of the gaming context.

I dunno.  I'm not seeing the pitfalls, just the raw power.

Chris (Who would love to have someone take a crack at explicating the danger.)
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Emily Care
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« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2004, 05:32:03 AM »

Hey Noon,

Quote from: Noon
So how well it operates depends on how you evaluate intimate details. Some people have them but are willing to share them out whenever (I've met a few on public transport). But I imagine if those people had to pay $10 a minute to sit in a group and chat, they wouldn'y (barring group therapy and whatever that costs). Likewise I wouldn't hand out intimate knowledge for a game. It's like the ten bucks...its not that I wouldn't pay $10 a minute for anything in the world. Some things I would, just not a casual game. Likewise with intimate details, I wont 'pay' them to play in a game that wont work without them.

Perhaps the idea is that your making a PC thats like the other person means that ones intimate details aren't covered. It screams otherwise, to me, though. The uncomfortableness expressed about the rating especially...not to mention the 'you suck' for not casually granting access to such things.


It's funny because I have been thinking about introducing elements that bring the player's own self or memories into the space of the game.  But not how you're thinking, I believe.  In this game, I hope its clear that folks are going to play characters, not play a version of the other player.  Anyone who wants to play will be given an opportunity to use their personal experience to help give themself and another person insight into what it might be/feel like to be a given character. As has been clearly expressed here, doing that sounds like waaaay enough disclosure.  Going into your own deep dark personal issues would be too much.  Allowing your deep dark personal issues to help make a character more real and convincing, now that's more like it, but that doesn't mean you unload on the other person.  But all I really think anybody will have to bring is just their plain old, day-to-day experience of reality.

As for the  "you suck", I just want to clarify that Vincent added that for effect. (Sorry V!) Yeah, swearing at somebody and one-upping them into being willing to reveal doesn't sound like a great way to establish trust and safe space.

I can well imagine this game not being for everyone.  I think it'd be hard to write if I tried to make it so. I'm glad it's intriguing to some folks.

Chris W: Thanks. I agree. We do feel when we play, why not make use of that.  It's rich material.

Jason: yeah, I think it's a step in that direction.  We'll see!

--Em
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Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
lumpley
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« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2004, 05:44:41 AM »

Callan!  I just realized this morning that maybe I mis-explained.

All the virgin / restraining order / keeps birds / broken leg / builds houses stuff is made up.  We didn't reveal practically anything about ourselves, other than that I'm male and Em's female.  The character creation process is very much like the brainstorming you'd do in a summer class about writing short stories, and it amounts to "make up a person with something to lose and something to win."

So my discomfort doesn't come from disclosing intimate facts about myself, because I ain't.

But that's not to say that your discomfort is misplaced or that playing the game wouldn't be revealing.  In fact, I'd expect to reveal a lot in play - little secret details of my attitudes about dating, sex, women.  Presented and exposed to comment.

Chris, maybe this is (part of) where the danger is.  What if, unbeknownst to all, I'm secretly a pig?  Playing this game will reveal it, and Emily might punch me in the head or yell at me, which would suck.

(Please, nobody think that Emily might actually punch me in the head.)

edit:
Quote from: Crossposting, Emily
As for the "you suck", I just want to clarify that Vincent added that for effect.

I stand by it, however: I had you say that I suck because I do suck.  Suggesting that we cut our game off at the knees by playing it at PG is a suck thing to do.

(I stand by "Emily might punch me in the head" too, as a description of my own insecurity, not as a description of any sort of reality of our relationship.)

-Vincent
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Jason Lee
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Posts: 729


« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2004, 07:40:40 AM »

Quote from: Vincent
All the virgin / restraining order / keeps birds / broken leg / builds houses stuff is made up.  We didn't reveal practically anything about ourselves, other than that I'm male and Em's female.  The character creation process is very much like the brainstorming you'd do in a summer class about writing short stories, and it amounts to "make up a person with something to lose and something to win."


I was picturing Emily more of a dog person, but with Vincent I could see a restraining order...

:)

Quote
So my discomfort doesn't come from disclosing intimate facts about myself, because I ain't.

But that's not to say that your discomfort is misplaced or that playing the game wouldn't be revealing.  In fact, I'd expect to reveal a lot in play - little secret details of my attitudes about dating, sex, women.  Presented and exposed to comment.

Chris, maybe this is (part of) where the danger is.  What if, unbeknownst to all, I'm secretly a pig?  Playing this game will reveal it, and Emily might punch me in the head or yell at me, which would suck.


Yeah, in a game with only 1 part per million theme, you'll still end up revealing some intimate details if anyone is looking for them.  The movie rating scheme seems adequate to keep that at comfortable levels - anything more complicated is probably just asking for it not to work.  Though, if you want people to up the rating the more they play (I don't know if either of you do), you might need some mechanical incentive.  I guess it all depends on who's playing (if one person wants a higher rating than the other), but if people get sort of stuck in PG out of comfort/fear and never get to R, then I think part of the point might be lost.

Quote from: Vincent
(Please, nobody think that Emily might actually punch me in the head.)


When you said 'fist fight' I envisioned flailing and slapping in the car ride and maybe some obnoxious noise making (sorry, just watched The Fifth Element again).

Quote from: Emily
Jason: yeah, I think it's a step in that direction. We'll see!


I'm watching.
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- Cruciel
quozl
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« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2004, 08:05:25 AM »

Quote from: lumpley
To admit that yes, they're gonna do it right now would be to play before play, which is improper.

-Vincent


Frankly, I think how they deal with each other afterwards would be much more interesting.  I would spend 5-10 minutes on the first date and then the rest of the time on the aftermath.
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--- Jonathan N.
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John Harper
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flip you for real


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« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2004, 10:41:29 AM »

Quote from: Emily Care
It's very interesting that this kind of game gets such a strong response about how intense and difficult it would be to play with strangers, while blowing folks to bits is easy peasy with any old body. Go figure.

Dating, romance, relationships... these are things that we have to deal with in our real lives. The stresses and joys and sorrows of this stuff are familiar. More than familiar. Initimate. The average person has intimate first-hand knowledge of dating. When you ask someone to roleplay something this familiar, it tugs on real memories and remembered feelings. It's automatically charged, to some degree.

Most of us do not have first-hand knowledge of life and death combat. Or killing. Or surviving a deadly attack. All we know about are aciton movies and stories from wartime. When we roleplay lethal violence, it's a distant thing that hasn't ever actually happened to us. The emotional response isn't familiar. We don't have the context.

But try to play Vincent's Vietnam game (you ARE working on it, right?) with some veterans and suddenly the intensity gets turned to 11. They were there. It really happened to them.

Same goes for the first-date game. We've been there, man. We've lived it.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2004, 05:14:33 PM »

Hi Christopher,

I didn't mention danger. That's another of the problems I have with this sort of project, it tends to lead to miss diagnosis 'You don't want to play...too dangerous for you and your scared?', then tying in with pressure to conform on the issue.

I mentioned cost. There are some RPG's that have a lot of complicated charts and rules in them, that I don't want to play. I don't want to pay the cost of doing/learning all that when it's just for a game.

Something which discloses personal details just in order to play a game, is more cost than the product/game is worth IMO. To me it doesn't dignify those details. This is just me, but then again, at a party you get a spread of people and not just those that are of the same mental set as the author.

Quote
I mean, aren't we supposed to sometimes really feel something when we play these games?


Nope. That's one play technique and one that doesn't have to be supported by the particular technique outlined here, either.

Quote
I can particularly imagine my one game group from college (where much of life revolved around dating and drinking and gaming and screwing and eating pizza and revealing more than would normally be kosher) playing such a game -- assuming for a moment that it ends up being fun, and having very intense sessions that would have colored our relatinships out of the gaming context.


I imagine in that sort of environment where your all sharing details, that playing a game is yet another means to the same end that drinking together or eating pizzas together achieves. It gets you talking about stuff, and if the game is used, the games just a means to that end and not the end itself.

I'm talking about it as an end in itself and what its worth paying to play.


Hi Emily,

Essentially the disclosure revolves around the 'play a PC who is like another player' and goes from there into the intimate relationship intricacies that a date is...after all, dates happen to tell us about another person. That someone is pretending to be some other PC/wearing a mask isn't going to stop details about that person being revealed despite the mask.

You mention 'deep dark personal issues' and such. I'm not talking about these and the sort of negative effects they could have. I'm talking about the requirement of revealing personal details of certain level, simply to play a game. The sort of details I might share with you anyway if were drinking and playing pool at 3AM in the morning...but I'm not interested in sharing for a game. The game isn't worthy in itself...3AM pool is more of a worthy moment to convey such things. All IMO of course.

An analogy is a game which has a design goal which it forfils by having tons of rules to learn. Some people think a game session is worth that, I myself would think going to work and being paid for something like that, is worth it.

In terms of the 'you suck' issue, its half about the pressure of human curiosity. Humans have a hard time, after imagining the potential of something, to then not to see it through. The urge to see what happens next is stronger than 'Well, does every potential examined have to be explored fully?'. There tends to be a culture of maximisers around, and as Devo (sp?) sang 'You must whip it, whip it good'. Devo were actually making a critical comment on this...no, you don't have to whip the problem or do something just because you'd feel like your missing out on something otherwise. Thus the rating system wouldn't really cap anything, its vulnerable to 'we just have to do this' excitement overcominng what the rating system.


Hi Vincent,

No, I understood the extra details were just add ons. It's primarily the idea of you playing a PC which is like another player, that's the sticking point. In addition, the extra details seem to be there to extract more out of that sticking point. You may indeed not be saying a single thing about yourself during character creation. You are, however, setting yourself up to do so something fierce, IMO.

In terms of 'cutting the game off at the knees' and rating, I think this is another point of consent. Exactly what is your priority? Is it because all good idea's must be explored to the full or because you want to play this game and what it entails? It sounds like the former is being argued, which makes a rating system moot if it MUST be played out (rating is under the thumb of concept, not the other way around). But I really think you both want the latter, because you want to explore the game fully and are commited to that. The prob here is if you argue the former at a party its crap in terms of this rating system because of the reasons stated.

And in terms of the latter at a party, its either "we play and whoever doesn't want to can go spin off into another social group (perhaps of one) at this same party but not really part of the same party" or play even though you don't really consent to this and your probably going to fall back on jokes or such because you don't want to give out the info. NOTE: When not at a party but with people who have been primed for this in advance, it wouldn't have this problem at all, of course.

Quite frankly all RPG games have problems like I'm stating. You run into players who will not show the least bit of emotion about game events because they feel it will betray them (well, how much it'll betray their macho self image). So most of this is a logical extension of pre existing conditions in the hobby.
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Philosopher Gamer
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