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CA vs. individual play preferences

Started by Nicolas Crost, July 24, 2005, 02:59:58 PM

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Nicolas Crost

Hey everybody,

This is probably going to be a "say it in your own words" post regarding CA. But since I will be doing a little workshop about theory on our German forum meeting, I just wanted to figure out if I got it right.
It is basically this post by Ron which got me thinking:

Quote from: Ron Edwards on July 22, 2005, 05:54:59 PM
what a particular person wants to see in CA terms is not "his CA." It is merely a desire. An actual CA is a phenomenon that is expressed and occurs as a function of play, which requires, at the least, group reinforcement.

So now I will rephrase this to show how I understand it.
CA is always an observable result in play. Some player proposes something, some other players react to it, the behavior is reinforced. I guess this may be meant by "reward-cycle".
So, the GM poses a challenge, the players step on up, they overcome the challenge, the behavior is rewarded (XP and general cheering). Reward-cycle complete, Gamism (CA) took place. The GM throws a bang into play, a player addresses premise by making a related decision, general cheering and Fan Mail awarded. Reward-cycle complete, Narrativism (CA) took place.
On the other hand: a situation arises in which the player has to decide between loyalty and love, he makes the decision (which he cares about), no one else cares about it, play moves on. No reward-cycle, no (or incoherent) CA. The single player may have a desire or individual play preference for Narrativism (or Narrativism-supporting decisions), but no CA is present, because group-reinforcement is lacking.

Is that about right? If not, where am I missing the point?

So is Creative Agenda the end-result of (successful) play? And the desires, goals and aims of the single players are not "Agendas"? I am specifically asking, because the term "agenda" is usually used to signify some goal or something in the future and not something already realized. Well, if CA is defined that way, then no problem, I just would like to know. :) To be honest, I think, this is a very good approach (and yeah, I know you have been saying this all along). Even though it means that most groups not "playing on purpose" will probably end up with an incoherent CA according to the model.


With regard to "Playing on purpose" I think one of the goals of the GNS system is to allow a group of players to agree on what they want to achieve (that is, an agenda) before they start.
"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

Ron Edwards

Hi there,

Fred (Vaxalon), I'm going to ask you to take a back seat please. Nothing I've written calls for explicit pre-play agreement among the participants as a requirement. You're gummin' up a couple of Creative Agenda discussions currently with one-liner input, so I ask you to read more and ask more stuff before chiming in like that.

Nicolas, check out the GNS thread by Dan Cross, in which I think I lay out the foundation for the text you've quoted, about as completely as I can. If you still have questions, or want to develop any of the points, right here will be perfect.


Nicolas Crost

Ok, I have reread the GNS post, but I still do not really get it.

Quote from: Ron Edwards on April 27, 2005, 03:43:27 PM
With that in mind, Creative Agenda may be thought of as a nail, or arrow, or skewer that "holds it together" in the case of a given group. It's all those interactions which reinforce our shared understanding and appreciation of why we're doing this.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on May 08, 2005, 07:48:19 PM
This is not to say that every single person at the table must have identical CA concerns - but it does say that socially, their concerns should be compatible if the game is to yield any Fun. (That current Actual Play thread about Illusionist D&D is a grim and terrifying case in point.)

Therefore it's best to focus on those social interactions and to derive the functional CA, if present, from them. Delving into individual heads to find CA is a fucking huge waste of time.

So, regarding my original question, what does that mean? Does that mean I have it about right? Or not? To me it would seem, that almost got it, but then... I don't know. That's why I am asking.

Ron Edwards

Hi Nicolas,

Looking over your initial post, I think you have it just about exactly right.

The only, tiny correction I'd make is the phrase about "end results." In this case, the agenda is about the process or experience, and so it's not a matter of waiting until play is entirely over to see it. But yes, the agenda isn't identifiable until enough play (reward cycles) have occurred, just as one wouldn't want to identify an agenda about anything until you've seen what the person, even oneself, has really done.


Nicolas Crost

Quote from: Ron Edwards on July 26, 2005, 12:12:16 PM
The only, tiny correction I'd make is the phrase about "end results." In this case, the agenda is about the process or experience, and so it's not a matter of waiting until play is entirely over to see it.
"Process" does sound much better than "end results". Cool, thanks! I hope I will be able to communicate the whole thing at the workshop. Well, we'll see, I guess.

Ron Edwards

Excellent! Please post about how the workshop turns out.