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Author Topic: More gloating...  (Read 8039 times)
Sindyr
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Posts: 795


« on: September 27, 2006, 09:21:04 AM »

A very interesting question was raised that I myself raised many months ago:
Quote
Gloating
If Resolving would violate the group Code the Claimant instead Gloats. Starting with their highest die on the Conflict they may turn dice to 1. For each die turned the Resolver earns a Story Token.
Given that the claimant can narrate any resolution, wouldn't any kind of resolving meet the critieria required for gloating?

from the thread at:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=21178.0

Vaxalon resonds:
The way I see it:
"The Battle Fleet Fires" isn't gloatable, because you can resolve it in such a way that Earth is not destroyed.
"Tyrranor's fleet destroys the earth" IS gloatable, because you can't.

First of all, "Tyrranor's fleet destroys the earth", if it is a Goal, *CAN* be resolved in such a way that Earth is not destroyed - such as "Tyrranor's fleet misses", or is destroyed, or the fifth column on the fleet stages a coup d'etat, or man other ways.  And since that Conflict can't be an Event (since event's MUST happen, and that event happening would be against the comics code) it MUST be a goal.

What about an event such as ""Tyrranor's fleet tries to destroy the Earth"?  Well, it obviously can be narrated in either a gloatable way or a non gloatable way.

But all of this irrelevant.

The Gloating system is fundamentally broken.

Because the original poster is 100% right.  If a conflict is gloatable, ANY claimant on any side can gloat it, gaining story tokens.  Story tokens are the most powerful resource in the game - Inspirations are *very* good, no argument; and of course debt can be very useful.  But Story Tokens give you the most power to control outcomes through two of their most powerful functions: they can give you extra turns, and they can let you bring in more characters, giving you access to the new character's resources, as well as giving you one more free turn every page.

Story Token are not the only resource worth having or getting, but they are the best.

So when given an opportunity to gain story tokens, to refuse to take advantage is sub-optimal strategy. But if *everyone gloats* this conflict, then it never gets resolved. And everyone *can* gloat.

And if someone resolves the conflict instead of gloating, they are playing sub-optimally.

This is why gloating is broken.

The solution?  Well, there are a few.

-You can have a staring contest.  Not literally, but you can have a gloatfest until someone is tired enough of it that they blink and resolve instead of gloat out of sheer boredom.  This is my least advised solution, as it makes the game unfun.
-You can add a rule that the first player to gloat is the ONLY player who can gloat that Conflict.
-You can add a rule that only a Villain character can gloat.
-You can add a rule that a conflict gloated X number of times is automatically won by the other side on the Xth Gloat, perhaps with any staked debt on the winner's side evaporating (not being awarded) and no Inspiration awarded either.  All that occurs is that the winning side narrates the final outcome.

I would probably use the 2nd rule myself: "The first player to gloat is the ONLY player who can gloat that Conflict." and see how that plays out.

On a related matter, if you have some items written up as comics code items, be aware that the gloat rules actively *encourage* players to constantly threaten to achieve those goals.

So if you have a Comic's Code item that says "Rape cannot occur", player's will actually be rewarded for making goals that *threaten* rape.  If you want people to avoid a Comic's Code item and do NOT want to incentivize play *near* that item, simply make that Comic's Code item a non-gloatable one.  That will make sure no one does it, and will remove most of the reason people would have to skirt the undesirable issue or item.

Happy gaming.
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-Sindyr
TonyLB
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« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2006, 09:48:44 AM »

Story Token are not the only resource worth having or getting, but they are the best.

They're really not.

Story Tokens, Inspirations and Debt all work in a delicate synergy.  Having a huge pile of Story Tokens and nothing much to support them does not empower you.  Believe me, I've been in that situation, often enough to learn the benefits of a more balanced set of resources.

If you start with nothing, then yes, getting one story token is a bigger deal than getting a mid-range inspiration.

But if you've already got four story tokens, and no inspirations, then you need to get yourself some balance, and quick.
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Sindyr
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Posts: 795


« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2006, 09:54:39 AM »

It seems to me that with 4 story tokens, you can arrange for some inspirations.

However, I still have to play a dozen or two more sessions to really own this strategic experience.

In any case, story tokens are well worth having and I firmly remain of the opinion that gloating needs a fix to be not broken.

And if anyone disagrees, than that perfectly cool. :)  Don't change a thing.
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-Sindyr
Dave Cleaver
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« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2006, 09:57:54 AM »

And if someone resolves the conflict instead of gloating, they are playing sub-optimally.

Perhaps you can explain this point to me. As I see it, resolving a goal to deny everyone else the opportunity to gloat on it is not a suboptimal strategy.
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Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2006, 10:05:10 AM »

And if someone resolves the conflict instead of gloating, they are playing sub-optimally.

Perhaps you can explain this point to me. As I see it, resolving a goal to deny everyone else the opportunity to gloat on it is not a suboptimal strategy.

I would be willing to discuss it voice using Skype, Gizmo, or whatever - I would even be willing to call you by phone or be called by phone.

I don't have time to conduct this discussion by typing though (I'm sorry) if the reason that this play is sub-optimal is not apparent.
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-Sindyr
Hans
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Posts: 576


« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2006, 10:54:10 AM »

And if someone resolves the conflict instead of gloating, they are playing sub-optimally.

Perhaps you can explain this point to me. As I see it, resolving a goal to deny everyone else the opportunity to gloat on it is not a suboptimal strategy.

Let me take a stab at this, Dave, just for fun.  Sindyr can correct me if I am misrepresenting him;

The logic is as follows:

* Story Tokens are good
* Story tokens can be obtained by gloating
* Any conflict that can possibly be gloated on can be gloated on by anyone
* Therefore, anyone can obtain story tokens by gloating on a gloatable conflict
* Therefore, gloating on a gloatable conflict is good
* Therefore, not-gloating on a gloatable conflict is sub-optimal.

I don't agree with it, but Sindyr tells me that's perfectly cool.  :)

A more complete discussion of this topic can be found at http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=19529.0, which will give you some of the background on the issue.
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Matthew Glover
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Posts: 160


« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2006, 11:04:02 AM »

Holy carp, I can't belive we're having this discussion again.

And if someone resolves the conflict instead of gloating, they are playing sub-optimally.

I think that this is the root of the problem.  Gloating is only optimal in certain situations.  You can't apply it across the board because of the subtle interaction of Story Tokens, Debt, and Inspirations (not to mention narrative control over the story you're creating, which is also an important currency). 

If all players believe that gloating is always optimal strategy, the game grinds to a halt as all players go back and forth gloating over the same conflict.  Story tokens stack up on all sides, but it never resolves, because resolving is wrongly considered to be an inferior choice.  I submit that this alone proves that Always-Gloat is not an optimal strategy.  Anything that leads to the game getting stuck in an endless loop sounds like a bad choice.

This is like a reverse Prisoner's Dilemma.  If the prisoners cooperate with each other, they profit. 
For a gloatfest, all players must cooperate (read: choose not to resolve).  If they do so, the game gets stuck in the gloat loop and everyone loses.  Any player can break the cycle at any time, though, by choosing not to cooperate.  By choosing to win.

I'm also curious about this:  I'd be willing to bet that in a group of Always-Gloat players, a player who uses a strategy that is more nuanced will be able to exploit the predictability of the others and will have a serious advantage.
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Dave Cleaver
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« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2006, 11:08:03 AM »

I would be willing to discuss it voice using Skype, Gizmo, or whatever - I would even be willing to call you by phone or be called by phone.
I'm sorry that doesn't really work for me. I also don't think it would be particularly beneficial to anyone else who might have the same question.

Let me take a stab at this, Dave, just for fun.  Sindyr can correct me if I am misrepresenting him;
...
I don't agree with it, but Sindyr tells me that's perfectly cool.  :)

Thank you Hans. I've read that thread, and I also disagree with the logic.

Sindyr, your statement that gloating is broken seems to hinge on this logic. What kind of discussion were you hoping to generate with this post?
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Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2006, 11:38:50 AM »

Sindyr, your statement that gloating is broken seems to hinge on this logic. What kind of discussion were you hoping to generate with this post?

I wasn't trying to generate discussion. I would have posted in the original thread except that this boards rules of propriety require that I post in the way I have, by creating a new thread and linking to the old one.

 I was trying to answer LemmingLords original question on the linked post in a way no one seems to have till now.  I was also trying to point out the problem with Vax's response to that question (no offense, Vax.)
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-Sindyr
Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2006, 11:22:18 PM »

I would be willing to discuss it voice using Skype, Gizmo, or whatever - I would even be willing to call you by phone or be called by phone.

I don't have time to conduct this discussion by typing though (I'm sorry) if the reason that this play is sub-optimal is not apparent.

Holy crap, dude. . .you've started 9 threads in the last 24 hours and you "don't have time" to explain yourself?
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Sindyr
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Posts: 795


« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2006, 05:56:03 AM »

Starting a quick thread takes 10 minutes.  The back and forth trying to hash out a difficult and subtle issue with potentially multiple people who may have a position they are committed to, and may be present only for the "debate"... that can take 3-5 hours over multiple days and still never go anywhere.  Capisce?

I am not stupid.  I am not going to use the worst possible method for having a two way conversation.  If I sense the potential for the above to happen, then it's all about the voice.

To correct you, I don't have time to engage in a prolonged discussion by typing, but as always, I am available for chat by an actual two-way method that includes voice communication.

I hope that helps.
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-Sindyr
Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2006, 05:57:42 AM »

Starting a quick thread takes 10 minutes.  The back and forth trying to hash out a difficult and subtle issue with potentially multiple people who may have a position they are committed to, and may be present only for the "debate"... that can take 3-5 hours over multiple days and still never go anywhere.  Capisce?

FYI, that's 3-5 hours *each* day, over multiple days, for a total investment of a half dozen hours, a dozen hours, or more.

I have extensive experience on this.
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-Sindyr
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2006, 08:42:55 AM »

Slow down then, Sindyr my boy, there's no rush! You're always going off like a barrelfull of java-crazy monkeys when everybody else is quite happy to take their time with these discussions. Heck, I remember a time when nobody replied to any discussion more than once a day. That's a good habit that should be remembered, actually; you get more leisure to think, and it reduces the amount of useless back-and-forth when you communicate with reasoned essays instead of point-by-point arguments.

There is no honor to be gained by checking the forums hour-by-hour and answering all calls with alacrity, is what I'm saying. If you'll pace that 3-5 hours per day to 3-5 hours per week you'll notice that not only you need to write less (because you're not answering every fool's errand), but also you will have plenty of time to do the writing you deem worthwhile.
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Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2006, 09:30:27 AM »

Heh heh. ;)

A piece of this no doubt is my OCDness and my on-off personality - I am either doing something full on, or not at all.

Hey, you guys just have to *read* me, I actually have to *be* me. ;p
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-Sindyr
Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2006, 01:28:09 PM »

Yeah, what Eero said. that was half of what I was trying to get at, the other half being that it's, well, kind of rude to toss out a statement, and when someone says "what do you mean by that?" go "Oh, I don't have time." And no, "I don't have time here, how bout a phone call?" isn't any better; how do you know I (hypothetical "I", that is) have time for that? Yes, this medium has limitations compared to face-to-face or voice, but here we are.

You seem to feel your threads have a kind of "throwaway" quality to them; hence statements like "Starting a quick thread takes 10 minutes." Not, "I have this to say about topic X, would anyone care to seriously engage me on it?" It's more like trawling or something, where you just cast a bunch of nets and see if you get anything you like. It's a discourtesy to the people who are taking you seriously enough to engage with you. No one was asking you to get involved in a heavy, days-long time-sucking back and forth. They were just asking you to explain one point. You seem to be anticipating that no one will understand you or something.

Reading your blitzkrieg of threads and their responses took most of my Forge-surfing day yesterday. That wasn't a particularly large portion of that particular day, but still. I'm not complaining, mind; post what you like. Just pointing out that I took considerably more than a "quick ten minutes" or whatever to read what you had to say. I may not like or agree with everything, but I do expect the courtesy of responding seriously instead of "no time, dude, I'm off on my NEXT topical escapade, wheee!" And no, "Hey, I'm OCD, this is just who I am, live with it!" Is NOT a defense.

When I first wandered into the Muse of Fire boards a short time ago, the place was basically one big flurry of Sindyr-posts, page after page of them, going on at length and posting at a furious rate, all the while complaining that everyone was spwmping you with replies. People suggested then that you slow down, and you paid no heed. Now it looks like it's about to begin again.

Anyway, that's probably enough venting from me. this just really bothers me, because it looks like a lack of respect for anyone else who posts here. it drives me nuts (meaning, maybe I really shouldn't converse on the Internet, eh? ;) ) to try to engage with someone, then have them feint away with some bullshit like "OH I didn't really mean it, I was just throwing out ideas," or, in this case, "hey, no time to explain, if you don't agree you must not understand me!" Maybe this is just my pre-emptive statement on the subject for when you do eventually do it to me. Though I guess I'm safe for the moment, because I probably won't post much until I get some actual play under my belt. Anyway. Sorry, Tony and everyone, if I'm overstepping in this rant. Just, y'know, frustrated.

OK, I feel better now.

Peace,
-Joel
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Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
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