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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 47 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Matrix Gaming  (Read 2462 times)

Posts: 2807

« on: January 15, 2002, 03:39:01 AM »

Well, I thought that it wasabout time I pushed out another gaming idea I've been tangenmtially working with for a bit.  This is the concept of Matrix Games as pioneered by Chris Engles.  Chris's page can be found here http://www.io.com/~hamster/ but most of the interesting stuff is on the mailing list.

The page is not very explanatory, so I will give an outline of Matrix gaming.

Although there is some debate about this, the basic establishment of a matrix game requires that there be "a matrix"; the matrix is made of keywords, and constitutes the backdrop.

Players act in the game space by making ARGUMENTS.  An argument is a description of an event, and supported by Reasons - 3 by convention, although not strictly necessary.  The GM looks att he argument, and assesses it on a simple scale; 1 = Stupid, 2 = Highly Improbable up to 6 = Inevitable.  

Resolution is totally binary; either the argument takes effect in toto, or it does not happen at all.  This is determined by rolling 1d6 trying for <= the rating assigned to the argument by the GM.

What this means in the wargame environment is that both players give "conflicting visions" of a given event; the probabilities are assigned and rolls made till one argument fails and one succeeds.  That becomes The Truth.

So anyway, I have not greatly explored this particular technique as it applies to RPG's, beyond the general speculation that it might be useful and that it might operate on the principle of distributed authorship or a bit like the enigmatic references in HW.

Obviously, there is huge amounts of subjectivity here; on the other hand, because an argument is a kinda cause -> effect mini-narrative, string a bunch of them together and, post facto, you have a pretty detailed description of what happened.

Impeach the bomber boys:

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Posts: 16490

« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2002, 06:34:41 AM »

Hi Gareth,

It sounds to me as if Primeval spends a little time with this idea, in that players provide competing or alternative myth-stories for their deities, and scene by scene, one of the stories prevails. The mechanics differ a bit (as I understand them, not being Primeval-savvy), but there's some conceptual overlap there.

Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters

Posts: 2341

« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2002, 07:02:19 AM »

There's a little bit of Universalis in it as well.


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
J B Bell

Posts: 267

« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2002, 09:10:38 AM »

Aaargh . . . brain hurts.

This is ticklingly reminding me of a very old logic game, which name I can't remember.  It's something like "wiff" or "whiff" though.  It was a very mathematically "pure" game of deduction, popular during my dad's time in university back in the, um, 50s.  Or maybe the 30s--his education was interrupted by WW II.

Argh.  Any tweed-suit-with-elbow-patch wearin' academics out there know what the hell I'm talking about?


P.S.  I bleed for you guys.  5:30 in the morning, and I remember it's "wff-n-proof".  They have a website, too, http://www.wff-n-proof.com/; unfortunately it doesn't tell you much about the game's contents that I can find offhand.

"Have mechanics that focus on what the game is about. Then gloss the rest." --Mike Holmes
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