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Author Topic: 2 out of 3 in exploration?  (Read 2762 times)
Simon Marks
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« on: July 22, 2005, 02:55:13 AM »

May I suggest a Wild Thoughttm here.

Assumptions
Narrativist CA = Exploring the Premise
Simulationist CA = Exploring the Dream
Gamist CA = Exploring the Challenge

Could it be argued that any Instance of Play involves exploring A, using B and subsuming C?

Ok, I need an instance of Actual Play here.

So, for an example, in a Gamist instance of play within D&D , I explore the Challenge using the Dream as a tool, which subsumes the Premise.

Recently, in a 'old skool' D&D game, we where investigating a Kobold infested mine.
We found out that there was a trapped maze that we would have to navigate.
I (playing Sircen the Rogue) came to a door, listening carefully to the door and heard many, many chittering voices. Assuming the voices to be Kobolds we prepared to open the door.
I had Sircen climb above the door, planning to land behind the Kobolds and using my Sneak attacks to carve my way through whatever came through.

This is (isn't it) a Gamist instance of play on my part, but using explicity the Dream (the simulationist setting) as my tools.

Longer ago, I was running an LARP adventure where the players ended up trapped in a 'Death Pit' - the only escape is if they tried to kill each other.
After some half harted attempts to hurt each other, they started discussing and realising that unless it was clear in the intent that they where to try and kill someone, they wern't going to escape.
After much introspection, exploration and interaction - one of them did indeed try to kill another. Almost succeeded.

This I (now) analyse as a Narrtivistic instance of play (exploration of "What does it mean to kill?") using Gamist tools. The Dream was totally subsumed for this.

Am I totally off the mark? Am I missing something? Is there something here?

So, the theory is that in any Instance of Play you are aiming to Explore X using Y, and as such you can look at it as being "What in this instance do you wish to explore? What are you willing to let go to explore it?" and this is why no Hybrid will work in a single instance.
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Valamir
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2005, 05:04:36 AM »

Quote
Could it be argued that any Instance of Play involves exploring A, using B and subsuming C?

Replace "exploring" with "prioritizing" (because exploring has a unique definition in the model at odds with what you are using it for here) and replace "any" with "many" (because any is far too sweeping of a generalization to make) and you are spot on.

This is why just because you can identify an element of C in an instance of play it does not make that play Cism.  C can well be present during Aism play in a subordinate roll to A.
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Simon Marks
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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2005, 06:08:07 AM »

Ok, Prioritising, not exploring (terminology comes harder than theory), but are you sure it's only Many and not All.

I think what I am trying to say is that at least 2 out of the 3 must be present for it to actually be Roleplay.

And now I suppose I have to work out why I feel this is the case. I'll think on it some more.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2005, 06:08:53 AM »

Hello,

I would very much like to reinforce the point that "explore Premise" as a phrase should be avoided at all cost. Say address Premise - trust me, it's important.

To back up Ralph's final point, from "GNS and Other Matters,"

Quote
in the course of Narrativist or Simulationist play, moments or aspects of competition that contribute to the main goal are not Gamism. In the course of Gamist or Simulationist play, moments of thematic commentary that contribute to the main goal are not Narrativism. In the course of Narrativist or Gamist play, moments of attention to plausibility that contribute to the main goal are not Simulationism. The primary and not to be compromised goal is what it is for a given instance of play.

In that essay, I didn't define "instance," but I can now - a reward cycle of play, which is usually pretty long in real-time terms.

You can see, I hope, that your example of play is microscopically too small for any such analysis. The reward cycle in such a game concerns levels, with long-term delays in payoff. We'd have to look at one such cycle, at least, and check out all sorts of real-life interactions among the group, in order to understand your play in Big Model terms.

Best,
Ron
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Simon Marks
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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2005, 06:30:59 AM »

Well, as always more to learn.

But I think I can finally articulate what I am saying.

Following Tonys Standard Rant #1 about Game/Role duality I am feeling that what makes a RPG an RPG is the presence of all three agenda and what they ... do?

So, (learning) Nar CA prioritises Addressing Premise, Sim CA addresses the Dream and Game CA addresses the Challenge (better?).

Now, I am mindful that Ron's article states that there are 5 components to an RPG - but I can say the same about Monopoly, and yet Monopoly isn't an RPG - is it by design, or the way you play it?

I think what I want to say is that it is the presence of all three CA within a game that makes it an RPG, and that the perfect balance is - if not impossible - really difficult.

So, is it the case that for any instance of play that it is important not only what you are Prioritising but also what is 'at the bottom'

Akk. It all sounds better in my head.

So, back to the original assumption - all three have to exist in order for it to be an RPG, but you prioritise one, use another and subsume the third? Or is this something else?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2005, 01:27:39 PM »

Hello,

Wait a minute ...

This unfortunately is making no sense at all. Using CA's to define role-playing is nonsensical in the first place, and stating that "all three must be present" is even more nonsensical.

Either you're saying something completely different from what I think you're saying, or we need to back way up and start all over.

To continue,

Quote
I am mindful that Ron's article states that there are 5 components to an RPG - but I can say the same about Monopoly, and yet Monopoly isn't an RPG - is it by design, or the way you play it?

I feel like I've gone down the rabbit hole. Shared Imagined Space in Monopoly? No, there isn't - there's no imagined "city," no imagined "characters," and not even any imagined fictional actions. The Monopology money really is money, in the game activity - it buys things. There is literally nothing happening in Monopoly which can be construed as an RPG - the phrase "we are property barons" in Monopoly has nothing to do with inventing fictional characters and expressing their actions in a fictional context. In Monopoly, I (me, the real person) buy out your (you, the real person) stuff. I move a real object around a real board. And conversely, "go to jail" has nothing to do with anyone going to jail, real or imagined - it means I put my piece in that spot on the board and will probably lose a few turns.

Best,
Ron
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Simon Marks
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« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2005, 03:49:59 AM »

Eh?

Now I feel I've taken a left turn when you took a right turn.

There is no SIS in Monopoly, nor did I say there was. But I can say the same about D&D/Ars Magica/Any RPG.

The SIS is supported by and facilitated better  by a well designed RPG than by any board game, but SIS must be a social construct.

If I add an SIS (by mutual consent) in Monopoly, it will exist - If I remove the SIS from an RPG then it can also function (albiet very badly).

Just because the tokens used in an RPG are words (the Shared Text) and not "realworld tokens" doesn't change the fact that you can play it as a game - with no roleplay.

I think what I am getting at is that the inclusion of the SIS is Social Contract level and is not implicit in the Game text, nor any of it's ephemera.

More explicitly, that the Big Model can be used to analyse gameplay generally.

I think that maybe we have hit a ground level difference here - and possibly my problem understanding of the Big Model in total.

The CA's as far as I can understand it (now) is expression of literally what it is you are creating. The creative agenda are not unique to RPG's - as you pointed out yourself they are usable to most creative forms.

But I see the SIS as - well... let's take a play.
What is literally happening is people are walking around on stage saying stuff.
However, it creates an Imagined Space which is informed by what we see on stage. As everyone sees (as far as is practicable) it the same as I do, it is a Shared Imagined Space. Is this the same as the SIS as you define it?

Quote
The fictional content of play as it is established among participants through role-plaing interactions.

Well, if you assume that we the audiance are passive observers in an RPG - then yes, Identical.

You take the Signifiers created (both realworld tokens and the text that has been accepted) and you use them to create the SIS, have I got that right?

However, you do not *have* to translate the Signifiers into an SIS - you can leave them as they are - in the same way as I don't have to watch a play, I can just watch actors wander around a stage.

What I am assuming is that if you have no creative agenda, then you will not create the SIS in your own mind - you may participate, but you are just "going through the motions".

So, the final thing I am verbalising is that you need at least 1 creative agenda to be able to Roleplay - and possibly all three. Not becuase all three CA = roleplay, but because without *any* CA, you won't be roleplaying.

Any clearer (because trust me, this is helping my understand a lot)
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2005, 04:45:59 AM »

Hi Simon,

H'm, maybe it will help for me to point out where I agree with you.

Quote
I think what I am getting at is that the inclusion of the SIS is Social Contract level and is not implicit in the Game text, nor any of it's ephemera.

Agreed. This is fundamental to the Big Model; Exploration (same as SIS) is an expression of Social Contract.

Quote
So, the final thing I am verbalising is that you need at least 1 creative agenda to be able to Roleplay - and possibly all three. Not becuase all three CA = roleplay, but because without *any* CA, you won't be roleplaying.

I agree with you except for the "possibly all three" part, which seems to me like a horrible decaying dead elephant in the sentence. Let's talk about what I agree about, though. As I see it, yes, you need a Creative Agenda to be able to role-play with any reliable chance of fun.

As I and many others have observed, the majority of what is called role-playing out there is often so Incoherent that it becomes Zilchplay, in which people do hang out, they do roll dice, they do "have characters," but frankly, there's no particular connection among anything they're doing, either as individuals or linearly through time. In the interests of not being too snotty about it, I'll admit to this being "role-playing" in the hobby sense of the term (I mean, it's not foosball or any other identifiable activity). But I agree with you that a CA makes role-playing work.

Now for the stuff where we disagree.

1. The difference between experiencing a play and an SIS is that first term: shared. If you and I watch a play together, it is not fundamental to the experience for you and I to share and check our mutual imaginings as we watch. There is, perhaps, an "IS," but not an SIS.

To be absolutely clear, and to consider your actual words as fairly as possible:

Quote
What is literally happening is people are walking around on stage saying stuff.
However, it creates an Imagined Space which is informed by what we see on stage. As everyone sees (as far as is practicable) it the same as I do, it is a Shared Imagined Space. Is this the same as the SIS as you define it?

No, it is not. As you say, it is an Imagined Space. But you are then calling the commonality of our experience "shared." I do not. That is not enough for "Shared," in my construction. We would have to be speaking to one another as the play progressed, simultaneously with watching it, as a necessary part of the medium. Which we don't do.

2. This whole thing about "possibly all three" or "two out of three" and so on is just awful. Perhaps it might help to clarify that G, N, and S are only types of Creative Agenda. And let's say a group has a Creative Agenda, and is enjoying it, and you and I go look at it and decide that somehow this group has generated a wonderful Nar-Sim hybrid. Does that mean they have a dual Creative Agenda?

NO. It means they have a hybrid single Creative Agenda. To say "more than one" means necessarily that some degree of Incoherence is occurring, such that the group "hitches" and has to shift and re-cast its thinking as play progresses, often due to different individuals driving toward and expecting reinforcement for differing agendas.

Does any of that work for you, Simon?

Best,
Ron

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Simon Marks
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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2005, 05:13:11 AM »

Does any of that work for you, Simon?

Yes, a lot.

It's helping for me to know *why* you disagree with me as well as where I am right.

I now realise where my understanding of GNS went wrong (1st line error, Gamism does not equal competition, but may include competition) and the entire premise is based on this flaw.

Anyhow, I'll say "Ok, misunderstanding corrected - I'll stop cluttering up your forum now" and come back later.

As to the Imagined Space in a Play not being Shared... well...
I'm not sure I buy that, but I am unaware as to why I don't think I buy it. I've spent more time on Theatre Theory than RPG theory, and in my Theatre Theory I concieve of a play being a dialogue (non-verbal) between actor and audiance and that may be part of it.
However, the dialogue is more on a Social Contract level (if you see what I mean) and so it's more of a question of degree of influence.

Thinking back to the Solo CRPGS RPG Theory board the question of "Is the designer participating in a Solo RPG? Is it an SIS?" I'm not sure that it's an entierly relevent point.

Ack, anyhow - I'll stop rambling for the moment and just say "Thanks Ron! I'll get there - honest!" and wonder why this feels like a University Tutorial ("I'm taking RPG Theory 101")
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Thededine
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2005, 09:21:11 AM »

Egregiously off-topic, and therefore removed.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2005, 07:51:27 PM by Thededine » Logged

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2005, 09:35:53 AM »

Hello,

If they make it so, then they do. Nothing I've said contradicts that.

"Can" is almost always a discussion-destroyer. Sure, someone can play basketball while running on his hands rather than on his feet. I can imagine holding up my can of Coke, taking my hand away, and seeing the Coke hover there in the air. And in your case, you and your friends can play Monopoly in the way you're describing.

But we are not discussing "can." I'd appreciate it if you would focus on the points that Simon has raised in a way that I don't have to guess about.

Best,
Ron
« Last Edit: July 27, 2005, 09:37:36 AM by Ron Edwards » Logged
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