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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 113 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: CA Kabobs Revisited  (Read 1682 times)
Mark D. Eddy
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Posts: 157


« on: September 03, 2004, 10:42:03 AM »

An interesting thing about the Big Model is that it doesnít actually require three Creative Agendas. In fact, given the Big Modelís diagram, there could be as many CAís as there are non-dysfunctional gaming groups. Sure, the initial essays concentrated on Narrativism, Gamism, and Simulationism, but the current version of the Big Model only shows the CAís as the way a gaming group organizes themselves for functional play through the Model layers of Social Contract, Exploration, and Technique.

Iíll grant that, painting with a broad brush, the three divisions are useful for identifying dysfunction in agenda. On the other hand, though, limiting ourselves to only three agendas weakens the usefulness of the model for building decent games. The ď3DĒ model is a step towards this, noting that there can be a serious problem that is the equivalent of other CA-dysfunction if there is a disagreement about the Techniques involving centralized or diffuse authority. This is also one of the perennial issues surrounding Simulationism: Because Simulationism is anchored in the Exploration level of the Big Model (i.e., Simulationism is defined as prioritizing Exploration), Social Contract and Technique dysfunction (which is quite possible or even likely in certain groups) leads theory-minded people to regard Simulationism as "broken" in the model.

This is why, for instance, the question about conflict as it relates to the "Big Three" agendas is so difficult to pin down. Conflict has the potential to show up based on either the Exploration or Technique levels of the Big Model, and I've even seen conflict at the Social Contract level lead to interesting play situations.

This doesn't mean that it will be easy to pin down new labels for this new myriad of Creative Agendas I'm proposing. I'm confident, however, if we stop worrying about wedging agendas into the three models we currently have, we can certainly start finding ways of describing our own agendas more accurately.

(I've got a couple of thoughts about non G,N, or S CA's that I've seen work, but I'd like to get some input on this proposal first.)
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Mark Eddy
Chemist, Monotheist, History buff

"The valiant man may survive
if wyrd is not against him."
Valamir
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2004, 12:18:57 PM »

That's why I proposed thinking of the skewers as the real creative agenda and thinking of what we currently call CAs as being Conflict Responses.
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2004, 08:13:41 PM »

Hmm, I just kinda explained over here why I think keeping the three CA's is good, even though I agree that talking more about Techniques like Virtuality (yes, that's me saying I think it's more like a Technique that a CA) and the flavors that exist of it would be very, very good.  But as far as I can tell, both a Nar-prioritized Virtuality and a Sim-priortized one can both exist - and we better know which one we're talking about.

But maybe . . . we can say that every CA skewer has as its' HEAD either G, N, or S, but a whole fan of skewers goes out from there.  Or there are three colors of skewers - whatever visualization works to allow both many and three, strange as that might sound.  And in the Techniques layer, those skewers overlap, criss-cross - inter-relate in all kinds of ways.  So that knowing if it's a G, N or S skewer still matters, a lot, but we can also talk about how Techniques apply to the body of the skewer regardles of what the head/color is.  But the additional distinctions of 3D and the like just don't fit in there with CA, to my eye.

That's my thoughts at the moment,

Gordon
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2004, 04:34:58 AM »

Hello,

Mark nails it in one. I believe it was about a year ago that I told Mike Holmes that I was considering just bagging GNS per se and letting anyone make up whatever CA they wanted, as long as they did it rigorously and didn't confound it with Techniques.

Of course, here we are now with Ralph saying I'm a chief culprit in that regard ... anyway ...

Nowadays, I think about it just as Gordon describes - the three categories are apparently useful (if not all alike and not 100% worked out in their relations to each other), at least as very general color-coders for skewers.

Mark, you are entirely welcome to propose (for lack of a better visual) "new colors" for skewers. I hope you'll understand that intellectual conservatism on my part, which will probably be manifested as a complex argument as to why whatever you propose is "really" G, N, S, etc, is probably inevitable. But really - such proposals are welcome and frankly are long overdue. Most people who've proposed alternatives have either misunderstood the hybrid notion (understandably, it's wiggled a lot) or get all hung up on Techniques.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2004, 06:41:12 AM »

Quote
Of course, here we are now with Ralph saying I'm a chief culprit in that regard ... anyway ...


Heh, everyone is.

In fact, the thought currently swirling around in my head is that the focus on Sim being "what if" in my model essay might well have been the same thing.  Focusing on one set of techniques to deliver the sim agenda and calling it the sim agenda.  I mentioned this in more recent CA thread too.

So I'll probably write up the essay again in a couple more months of banter back and forth with some adjustments.
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Mark D. Eddy
Member

Posts: 157


« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2004, 12:23:32 PM »

Here's a CA: Conflict All the Way.

This CA is inspired by my thought above that Conflict is possible at all three levels of the CA-intersection in the Big Model (and, I confess, a couple of gamers that I know). Conflict All the Way is about the conflict -- enjoying and prioritizing conflict in Social Contract, Exploration, and Technique.

I admit that this looks dysfunctional on the face of it (Prima Facie dysfunction?), but remember that conflict doesn't have to be about emotions. Introducing conflict at each of the levels could make things more interesting for the group. At the Social Contract Level, "Let's play the game I just found on the web!" can be a source of conflict, which could resolve well or poorly. At the Exploration level, conflict can drive any of the aspects, making the game better or worse. Conflict-based techniques blend so well with most systems that it's hard to break out. I can see where any of the basic three agendas could be either functional or dysfunctional in combination with this CA.
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Mark Eddy
Chemist, Monotheist, History buff

"The valiant man may survive
if wyrd is not against him."
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2004, 05:54:02 AM »

Hello,

Sorry about the delay in replying.

But ... here I am with my mallet. Remember, CAs concern actual play among living people. They have nothing to do with what-if and if-then.

Can you root this CA-suggestion in actual play? Just saying "Conflict" doesn't tell me a thing.

Also, if you acknowledge that it's combinable with the existing CAs, that's a possible giveaway that all you're really talking about is either (a) an Explorative emphasis among the five components or (b) a specific set of Techniques.

Best,
Ron
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Mark D. Eddy
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Posts: 157


« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2004, 06:51:23 PM »

Talk about glacial conversations, but I had to think about this one a bit.

I'm not surprised that the mallet came down, actually. As I mentioned before, I have only theory to guess that Conflict All the Way as I describe it could be functional. In fact, both of the players I've actually played with that seem to have this agenda were sources of significant dysfunction in the group, especially with the Immersionist Sim players. If it was simply an exploration-level issue, the conflict wouldn't have spilled into the social contract portion of the game, I suspect.

I'm also wondering if instances of successful hybrid play would count as their own CA kabobs.
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Mark Eddy
Chemist, Monotheist, History buff

"The valiant man may survive
if wyrd is not against him."
Ben Lehman
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« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2004, 08:06:09 PM »

Quote from: Mark D. Eddy
I'm also wondering if instances of successful hybrid play would count as their own CA kabobs.


BL>  Yes.

They are.

What are we talking about when we talk about a hybrid? (in the case where all the players are sitting around the same table playing the same game -- mid-to-large scale LARPs are excepted here*)

We are talking about people playing a game and trying to get satisfaction out of it.  If you have two people who are want different sorts of satisfaction, and you want to satisfy both of them -- well, in order to do that, both of them have to be on the same page about wanting to help not only with their own enjoyment, but also the other person's.  Otherwise, you will get problems.

So when we talk about, say, G/S hybrid play, we aren't saying that the Gamist player is over here doing his Gamist thing, and the Simulationist player is over here doing his Simulationist thing, and they're ignoring each other.  In that case, they aren't even playing the same game!  If they are really playing with each other and interacting with each other's imaginations, then they are both doing something which provides enjoyment for both of them -- hence a unified CA.

yrs--
--Ben

* larger-than-one-room LARPs are interesting.  I would say that a LARP is, perhaps, lots of different mini-games going on at the same time, with some basic exploratory principles tying them together.  If we think of the CA kabob as a skewer running through pieces of meat, it might be that all the skewers run through the same (say) Exploration bit but have seperate (say) Ephemera bits.  But that might be a different thread.
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