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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 192 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Tony's Standard Rant #1: Roleplay/Game Duality  (Read 28986 times)
Vaxalon
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Posts: 1619


« Reply #45 on: April 07, 2005, 07:05:05 PM »

Quote from: Noon

Rules can't magically remove roleplay from my mind.


Ah, but roleplaying isn't just in your mind!  The contents of your mind have NO impact on the DnD miniatures game.  If you express it, it's ancillary, if you don't, it might as well not exist as far as the game is concerned.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
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TonyLB
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« Reply #46 on: April 07, 2005, 07:31:09 PM »

And if you make a game-choice due to the narrative color you're projecting onto the pieces in your imagination?
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Vaxalon
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« Reply #47 on: April 07, 2005, 07:35:16 PM »

If you make a game choice based on narrative color, you're PROBABLY going to lose...

And it won't matter to your opponnent, because there's no shared imagined space.

In a miniatures game, the board IS the shared space.  It's a shared ACTUAL space.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
TonyLB
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« Reply #48 on: April 07, 2005, 07:45:52 PM »

So I'll probably lose.  Let's say I do it anyway.  Am I still playing a game with all roleplaying removed?
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Vaxalon
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« Reply #49 on: April 07, 2005, 07:48:43 PM »

Yep.

Because the other player doesn't care.  He isn't sharing your imaginary space... and that's what makes it roleplaying.

You can ADD roleplaying to the minis game... if you start sharing that imagination... but you can play the whole game without ever sharing anything imaginary.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
TonyLB
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« Reply #50 on: April 07, 2005, 07:52:42 PM »

The other player doesn't care about the decision I just made, which probably gives him the game?
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Vaxalon
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« Reply #51 on: April 07, 2005, 07:54:47 PM »

He doesn't care why.  He's just looking at what you're doing on the table.  If he's thinking about what you're thinking, he's thinking in purely strategic terms.  "What advantage is he seeking?  Is that a bluff?  Is that a feint?"

But he's not going to share those thoughts with you, surely.  Any ideas he has about what you're thinking, he's going to keep to himself, because he's playing a STRATEGY game, not a roleplaying game.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
TonyLB
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« Reply #52 on: April 07, 2005, 08:04:58 PM »

I don't get the distinction you're making.  Maybe I shoud give a more specific example.  It'll be rough-and-ready, because I have zero idea how D&D miniatures works.

I've got two paladins, one in red and one in blue.  I decide that the blue one is braver, but the red one is smarter.  They are attacked by a minotaur.  The blue paladin immediately counter-attacks, while the red tries to flank.

Which part of my characters actions fail to make it into the shared imaginary space?  The player across the table from me knows that one of them attacked and one of them flanked, right?
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Vaxalon
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« Reply #53 on: April 07, 2005, 08:10:53 PM »

Both actions happen in the actual space, there on the table, not in the imaginary space.  If there is any representation in your imagination, your opponnent knows nothing of it.  You didn't SAY that the blue one is braver.  You just took the action.  The action only exists in the actual space on the table.  The representation of the actions that appears in your opponnent's mind is not based on your communication with him, but rather of what he sees on the table.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
TonyLB
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« Reply #54 on: April 07, 2005, 08:24:27 PM »

How is what he sees on the table not communication?
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Vaxalon
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« Reply #55 on: April 07, 2005, 08:43:40 PM »

It's observation.  

As far as he's concerned, you're not expressing an idea, you are making a direct change in the real world.  You may, in fact, be expressing an idea (blue is brave) but he doesn't need to understand that expression to play the game.  

If you were playing chess, you wouldn't need to speak the same language in order to play... in fact, many people play without ever uttering a word.  The only thing that matters is the arrangement of the pieces on the board, both at the moment of play, and historically speaking.

That's why chess games are always recorded, just in terms of where the pieces are, from move to move.  What the players are doing, or saying, or thinking... none of that matters.  It's not part of the game.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
John Kim
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« Reply #56 on: April 07, 2005, 08:45:00 PM »

Well, there are a great many games which have an imaginary reality of sorts.  This is true of most wargames and miniature games, for example.  Star Fleet Battles, say, has a purely imaginary material but nevertheless is greatly concerned over the reality of how ships move, firing arcs, and so forth.  So in that case most moves in the game contribute to a picture of the imaginary reality.  It could even be the case that the player takes actions on the basis of how he imagines the situation or how his starship captain would act.  i.e. Honorably not firing on a crippled enemy ship, for example.  

I'm not sure how this disputes the role-playing vs game concepts, though.  If someone takes an action in SFB based on how his starship captain would act instead of the mechanics -- we're back to a clash (or at least potential clash) between the "game" approach and the "role-playing" approach.  I think a skillful game design can make these two often, or even primarily, congruent.  For example, in the miniatures game, if the player has goals similar to the character's goals and has similar information and intelligence, then we'll see some congruence.  

Still, I think it's useful to distinguish between type of behaviors/agendas.
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Vaxalon
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« Reply #57 on: April 07, 2005, 09:09:25 PM »

The difference between a roleplaying game and a strategy game, ultimately, is the agenda.  Roleplaying games have creative agendas; strategy games do not.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
TonyLB
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« Reply #58 on: April 07, 2005, 09:10:02 PM »

Fred:  Okay... it's observation on Player B's part.  So I do something, he observes it.  Again, how is this not communication between us?

I understand that you would like to define communication and imagination as only pertaining to things that have no reflection in the game system... but given that I'm talking about how imagination and the game system are one and the same, surely you don't think I'm going to allow you to start your chain of logic from that point.  You don't get to assume your conclusion.
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Vaxalon
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Posts: 1619


« Reply #59 on: April 07, 2005, 09:28:19 PM »

Okay, let's take another tack on this...

Do you agree, that in order for there to be a roleplaying game, there needs to be a shared imaginary space?

The provisional glossary defines the shared imaginary space as "The fictional content of play as it is established among participants through role-playing interactions."

A strategy game does not have any intrinsic fictional content.  You can give it some fictional content, but that doesn't do it all by itself, because you're not establishing it among the participants.

If you DO establish fictional content between you and your opponnent, then you have transformed the game, to some extent, into a roleplaying game by doing so.  But since you don't NEED to establish any fictional content in order to play, the game itself (considered separately from any particular instance of play) is not a roleplaying game.

If ALL games are roleplaying games, then the term "roleplaying game" is meaningless, and we should start talking about games.  All games.  Checkers, World of Warcraft, Minesweeper, hockey, "Let's you and him fight", The stock market, and marriage.

Something makes roleplaying games unique, qualitatively different from strategy games, and interpersonal games, and financial games, and sports, and all the other kinds of games there are out there.  Whatever that unique thing is, if you add it to a game, then you get a roleplaying game; when you take it out, it's not a roleplaying game anymore.

To me, a good candidate for what that thing is, is the shared imagined space.
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"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker
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