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Author Topic: A Gamist game to teach Narativist gaming  (Read 7822 times)
stefoid
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« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2010, 09:01:14 PM »

This isn't "narrative" role-playing. This isn't anything but actually role-playing, period. I wrote about this in some detail a couple of years ago. I called the common confusion about which character is where, or the cacophony of sudden shouted clarifications once it's clear that dice will be used, "murk." It's a good word for it. A group of people playing in the murk is painful to see and even more painful to be part of. They literally don't know when to engage with any formalized aspect of the system, and when they do, no one knows how to mesh what those mechanics do with what's been announced so far.

Catelf's example is perfect to include because I hope you can see that it's exactly the same as yours. It doesn't matter that one uses cards and one uses dice. It doesn't matter than one focuses on actions/skills and one on emotions/goals. The point is that in each case, the people playing know that what they say before using the relevant mechanic is important, and that moving into the mechanics-based part of play is both logical and fun given what's going on. Again, the core component is that they listen, engage imaginatively, and work with what's been established by whoever has been speaking.

You are barking up the wrong tree entirely when you talk about seeking relevant mechanics and training in them. You are talking instead about social and creative standards of behavior, within which, almost whatever mechanics are functional, and without which, no mechanics are functional.

Are social and creative standards of behaviour not skills that can be learned?
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stefoid
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« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2010, 09:08:35 PM »

and if so, why cant they be incorporated into the game design?
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Callan S.
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« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2010, 02:09:20 AM »

In terms of
Quote
The point is that in each case, the people playing know that what they say before using the relevant mechanic is important, and that moving into the mechanics-based part of play is both logical and fun given what's going on.

knowing, for example, that what your saying before using the relevant mechanic is important --- that's some knowledge that can be taught.

Is that the sort of thing your shooting for, Stefoid? Teaching stuff like that?
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Philosopher Gamer
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Catelf
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« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2010, 05:53:34 AM »

Hi catelf.  Your example seems more like a RPG than a card game, but its hard to tell with only one type of card played - what would the category for those cards be called?  Motive?  Self-interest?  Theme?  But in general, yes: competitive story-telling.

We could revisit the scene with more categories of cards in play -- perhaps thats where Ron was headed to try and get a coherent vision of the game?

As this is a learning tool -- but something playable and fun in itself rather than a dry and painfull 'how to' manual -- Id like to see more 'nuts and bolts' cards come into play.  Im not sure what category of card that would come into - 'mechanics'?  (of roleplaying / GMing).  The game as you described above would work for experienced players, but inexperienced players would need to have the scene a little more mapped out in terms of what to do.  Imagine you are an inexperienced roleplay, you have a card that says 'Greed' and its youre turn to start talking...  Can be intimidating and confusing.
Well, the ideas that you first put out, was the idea, as i interpreted it, of learning to make stories by making it competitive.
You also mentioned Cards, and Greed, Self-defence, and Guilt as a kind of Game Ploys (yes, ploys, not Plots).
This is what i got, when i pieced it together.
Of course, there can be other "Ploy Cards", like Morals, Sin, Headstrong,, and so on.

Yes, it can be intimidating to start talking, but they'll have to do it sooner or later!
I may be wrong when i "translate" "Gamist" into Competitive, but, in this case, the competitive reward can be what you are looking for.

There is a "Storytelling Card Game" called "Once upon a time......"
It may be low on the competitive mechanisms, but i think it works quite well for learning at least some GM-like skills, mainly storytelling, and in a competitive mood, as well.
If you can, i suggest you check it out, and see what you can do with it.
If you really can't, (it's just a pack of cards, + a small Rules Sheet,) then i might be able to help out a little.

However, one great problem still remains:
The idea to reward "Good GamesMastering"!
To me, if you want to keep it on the "Teaching level", then it may be far better to just keep it on "learning how to GM", and reward each successfully completed scene, rather than "Learning how to GM Good"!

Again, i advice you to get the Storytelling Card Game called "Once upon a time....", it may be what you are looking for.....

On Other Kinds of cards (And this i have gotten from virtually all card Games based on Rpg,s, or Storytelling, like "Once...."):
Places, Powers, Heroes, Fiends, Assignments .......

And YES, to be able to get a coherent vision of the Game, through the Description Given, is Always Important.

Creative Cat
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stefoid
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« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2010, 02:13:49 PM »

In terms of
Quote
The point is that in each case, the people playing know that what they say before using the relevant mechanic is important, and that moving into the mechanics-based part of play is both logical and fun given what's going on.

knowing, for example, that what your saying before using the relevant mechanic is important --- that's some knowledge that can be taught.

Is that the sort of thing your shooting for, Stefoid? Teaching stuff like that?

Im not sure.  Could be.   The rules mechanics for any particular game obviously change from game to game.  When I talk about mechanics, I mean whatever can be distilled as the generic mechanics of roleplaying, as opposed to any particular game.  People seem to have a firm idea that for roleplaying to work properly, certain things must be observed and put into practice?  great!   Please have a go at quantifying those mechanics/principles/processes (doesnt matter what you want to call them), and Ill have a go at putting them into a framework which could work as the type of game I have in mind, and at the end of that, we can see if anything worthwhile comes out of it.
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stefoid
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« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2010, 02:25:10 PM »

However, one great problem still remains:
The idea to reward "Good GamesMastering"!
To me, if you want to keep it on the "Teaching level", then it may be far better to just keep it on "learning how to GM", and reward each successfully completed scene, rather than "Learning how to GM Good"!

Im not sure what you mean exactly.  The idea of rewarding players for successfully using whatever techniques are presented in a game is more about making the game successful as a game, rather than aiming directly at the learning experience.  However this particular game happens to be about learning skills associated with good roleplaying, so that is what is rewarded.  If the game is a failure at being a fun game to play,  it doesnt matter how useful or it might be - nobody is going to play it.

Ill check out that game you recommended.


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Callan S.
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« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2010, 04:37:26 PM »

Im not sure.  Could be.   The rules mechanics for any particular game obviously change from game to game.  When I talk about mechanics, I mean whatever can be distilled as the generic mechanics of roleplaying, as opposed to any particular game.  People seem to have a firm idea that for roleplaying to work properly, certain things must be observed and put into practice?  great!   Please have a go at quantifying those mechanics/principles/processes (doesnt matter what you want to call them), and Ill have a go at putting them into a framework which could work as the type of game I have in mind, and at the end of that, we can see if anything worthwhile comes out of it.
Bold added by me.

You know, I think I've said similar things in the past myself. People get very adamant that for roleplaying to 'work properly' certain things must be observed. And then they get all vague and handwavey on those things and don't quantify them into some tangible rules at all. It's actually rather frustrating and I think a little bullshitty.

But Stefoid, do you take it to be the case that for beer to 'work properly' someone has to like and desire beer (or atleast like the idea of trying it)?

In terms of narrativism as the idea is discussed at the forge, it 'working properly' in a particular group involves each person in that group liking narrativism to some degree.

Now you probably could teach someone to like something...but, is that what you mean?

Have you ever enjoyed any sort of soap opera or drama on TV or in a movie? Once I almost shed a tear during the movie 'The english patient' (but of course I'm too manly to actually have done so). Has there been any book or show or movie that gets to you like that? Ever?

If there isn't, then you may simply have absolutely no desire for narrativism. The same way some people have no desire for beer, and thus beer does not work in relation to those people.

Perhaps you could be taught to like it - but why would you want to overide your natural disinclination?
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stefoid
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« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2010, 05:02:09 PM »

I agree to drop Narrativist play skills as a goal for this game.  Instead I substitute "good roleplaying skills with an emphasis on GMing".

This game then appeals to current/inexperienced roleplayers, who want to improve their roleplaying skills by way of a beer & pretzels (card?) game.  I concede that the best way (of doing most anything), is just to join a group of experienced people and learn by example, however this isnt always possible/easy for a number reasons and I can see something like this being useful if it can be pulled off. 
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Callan S.
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« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2010, 06:46:53 PM »

Quote
This game then appeals to current/inexperienced roleplayers, who want to improve their roleplaying skills by way of a beer & pretzels (card?) game.
Well, I think they might learn some good gamist roleplay skills, or perhaps just good gamist skills. So there you go, that's something that could be worked from.
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stefoid
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« Reply #39 on: January 31, 2010, 07:14:00 PM »

Quote
This game then appeals to current/inexperienced roleplayers, who want to improve their roleplaying skills by way of a beer & pretzels (card?) game.
Well, I think they might learn some good gamist roleplay skills, or perhaps just good gamist skills. So there you go, that's something that could be worked from.

okaaay.  Well, In your - and anyone eles who is reading this - opinion, what are the 7 most important things that a player can do to make a good and satisfying roleplaying experience?  Doesnt matter if you think they compatible with what I am trying to do or not. 
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Nocker
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« Reply #40 on: February 01, 2010, 03:34:50 AM »

- Be attentive to other (including the non-verbal communication), in order to increase appropriate propositions (rewarded propositions). It doesn't matter if the game is G, N or S, you have to look and listen to the others to be a good player (or GM).

- Have a good oral skill. I mean "put the fantastic thoughts in your head into words, in the most clear and inspiring way possible"

- For Nar, a good knowledge of the narrative structure, theories and dynamics of a story. Being able to quickly come up with an interesting twist, a conflicted character or a great stake is golden in Nar play.

- For Sim, a good knowledge of the canon. If a particular aesthetics is required, you must have read/watched/listen/see a lot of examples. Be it for firearms mechanics and ballistics ; medieval japan and samurai cast ; sword an sorcery ; psychology... The goal is to be on the same page as the other players, because refering to classics is the only way (apart from being very similar in mind)

- For Gam, a good knowledge of game theory, manipulation, political intrigue, investigation or wathever skill is tested in the game. If this is tactical simulation, you have to be a great tactician ; if this is a Vampire intrigue game, you have to be deceptive, calculator, anticipating ; if this is a Holmes problem solving, you have to be witty on investigations.

(Sorry, can't find more than these 5)
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stefoid
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« Reply #41 on: February 01, 2010, 02:38:25 PM »

1) - Be attentive to other (including the non-verbal communication), in order to increase appropriate propositions (rewarded propositions). It doesn't matter if the game is G, N or S, you have to look and listen to the others to be a good player (or GM).

2) - Have a good oral skill. I mean "put the fantastic thoughts in your head into words, in the most clear and inspiring way possible"

3) - For Nar, a good knowledge of the narrative structure, theories and dynamics of a story. Being able to quickly come up with an interesting twist, a conflicted character or a great stake is golden in Nar play.

4) - For Sim, a good knowledge of the canon. If a particular aesthetics is required, you must have read/watched/listen/see a lot of examples. Be it for firearms mechanics and ballistics ; medieval japan and samurai cast ; sword an sorcery ; psychology... The goal is to be on the same page as the other players, because refering to classics is the only way (apart from being very similar in mind)

5) - For Gam, a good knowledge of game theory, manipulation, political intrigue, investigation or wathever skill is tested in the game. If this is tactical simulation, you have to be a great tactician ; if this is a Vampire intrigue game, you have to be deceptive, calculator, anticipating ; if this is a Holmes problem solving, you have to be witty on investigations.

(Sorry, can't find more than these 5)

cheers , Mate!

1) This is helpful.  I am a software designer and a term used frequently is pattern and anti-pattern, meaning techniques, processes and procedures that are generally found to be helpful/'best-practice' or, err, anti-helpful.   This could best be reinforced in the game by using 'not listening' as an anti-pattern.  i.e. what is the best way to deal with a situation where a player is not listening?  If we make not-listening a card that can be played against someone else, it makes the point that not-listening is an anti-pattern, as well as getting the group to think about how to deal with that in practice.

2) 4) and -5)  While possibly true, I cant do anything with these, as they are out of the scope of the game scope. 

3) This is interesting, (anyone) please expand on this point to break it down into manageable chunks. 
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Callan S.
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« Reply #42 on: February 01, 2010, 04:07:32 PM »

Quote
This game then appeals to current/inexperienced roleplayers, who want to improve their roleplaying skills by way of a beer & pretzels (card?) game.
Well, I think they might learn some good gamist roleplay skills, or perhaps just good gamist skills. So there you go, that's something that could be worked from.

okaaay.  Well, In your - and anyone eles who is reading this - opinion, what are the 7 most important things that a player can do to make a good and satisfying roleplaying experience?  Doesnt matter if you think they compatible with what I am trying to do or not. 
Stefoid, some people might say there are 'good writing skills' in terms of writing books. Would you think it's possible to make a game that teaches good writing skills? Such that'd teach you how to write a 'good' book? I would say no - would you say yes?

In terms of your question my own thoughts are lateral. A game can be made so that the player, between the options the game presents him, just chooses what's fun for himself. He doesn't put effort into making it a good and satisfying roleplay experience - instead the author decides what options would atleast in terms of the authors tastes, make atleast a mildly good and enjoyable session. He then designs the game to hand those options to the player. Sure, the player might, in his fun, add even more cool fiction to it, making the session electric. But he does so because it feels fun, NOT because he feels obligated or otherwise OMG the moment or even the whole session will crash and burn.

So I head in a different design direction, sideways even, at an early point from you. Maybe that lateral direction is useful to you, or maybe it's just alien and out of place - but that's my answer.

Indeed I find your idea in contradiction - if I felt obligated to provide a good and satisfying experience, taking that to mean everyone including me gets that --- well, I wont have a good and satisfying experience when I'm obligated to do so. Thus it's an impossible condition to meet.

I have a background where for ages I've heard people say an awesome game needs this, or doing it X way is the way to do it. I do some programming as well and thought 'well, lets get this down on paper, eh?'

Over time I've come to the hypothesis these people are living in a fantasy. They can't quantify what they are talking about for the life of them. They are simply moved by something to make grand declarations about what makes 'good' roleplay, and it is being moved that seems to be the thing that thrills them about the activity called roleplay. Talking about how to do RP is more thrilling to them than...actually doing it.

The people who have said there are good roleplay skills...they may simply be wrong in some way on that? They may simply be enjoying making grand declarations on the matter.

Just in case: I'm taking it you would, to some degree, be okay with your base premises being argued with and questioned. If this isnt't the thread for questioning them but instead treating them as being true, just say the word on that and I'll leave it there. Smiley
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stefoid
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« Reply #43 on: February 01, 2010, 07:21:52 PM »


Quote
Stefoid, some people might say there are 'good writing skills' in terms of writing books. Would you think it's possible to make a game that teaches good writing skills? Such that'd teach you how to write a 'good' book? I would say no - would you say yes?

Would you say it was possible to create a game that presented skills associated with writing Prime Time television shows?  Smiley  Yes of course playing PTA wont make you an instant TV show writing genius, but it does provide a fun way of appreciating many of the associated concepts/techniques/skills or whatever you want to call them.   Certainly a neophyte would be further down the road to TV show writing success for having played the game, than not.

Quote
In terms of your question my own thoughts are lateral. A game can be made so that the player, between the options the game presents him, just chooses what's fun for himself. He doesn't put effort into making it a good and satisfying roleplay experience - instead the author decides what options would atleast in terms of the authors tastes, make atleast a mildly good and enjoyable session. He then designs the game to hand those options to the player. Sure, the player might, in his fun, add even more cool fiction to it, making the session electric. But he does so because it feels fun, NOT because he feels obligated or otherwise OMG the moment or even the whole session will crash and burn.

So I head in a different design direction, sideways even, at an early point from you. Maybe that lateral direction is useful to you, or maybe it's just alien and out of place - but that's my answer.

Indeed I find your idea in contradiction - if I felt obligated to provide a good and satisfying experience, taking that to mean everyone including me gets that --- well, I wont have a good and satisfying experience when I'm obligated to do so. Thus it's an impossible condition to meet.

I have a background where for ages I've heard people say an awesome game needs this, or doing it X way is the way to do it. I do some programming as well and thought 'well, lets get this down on paper, eh?'

Over time I've come to the hypothesis these people are living in a fantasy. They can't quantify what they are talking about for the life of them. They are simply moved by something to make grand declarations about what makes 'good' roleplay, and it is being moved that seems to be the thing that thrills them about the activity called roleplay. Talking about how to do RP is more thrilling to them than...actually doing it.

The people who have said there are good roleplay skills...they may simply be wrong in some way on that? They may simply be enjoying making grand declarations on the matter.

Just in case: I'm taking it you would, to some degree, be okay with your base premises being argued with and questioned. If this isnt't the thread for questioning them but instead treating them as being true, just say the word on that and I'll leave it there. Smiley

Im not exactly sure what all that meant?  are you saying its impossible to critically examine the process of roleplaying and quantify patterns and anti-patterns that exist -- given the nature of The Forge, its originator and community, I cant believe thats what youre saying, considering that seems to be one of the main aims.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #44 on: February 01, 2010, 09:38:20 PM »

Quote
Stefoid, some people might say there are 'good writing skills' in terms of writing books. Would you think it's possible to make a game that teaches good writing skills? Such that'd teach you how to write a 'good' book? I would say no - would you say yes?

Would you say it was possible to create a game that presented skills associated with writing Prime Time television shows? Yes of course playing PTA wont make you an instant TV show writing genius, but it does provide a fun way of appreciating many of the associated concepts/techniques/skills or whatever you want to call them.   Certainly a neophyte would be further down the road to TV show writing success for having played the game, than not.
It depends on what you mean by success. I'm sure in film school things like lighting, camera handling, site selection and preperation, etc are all taught and if you know them you are further down the road to success.

You could have a game that teaches these sorts of things, as far as I know. The current game called prime time adventures does not teach this. Though it may teach storyboarding to some extent.

Quote
Im not exactly sure what all that meant?  are you saying its impossible to critically examine the process of roleplaying and quantify patterns and anti-patterns that exist -- given the nature of The Forge, its originator and community, I cant believe thats what youre saying, considering that seems to be one of the main aims.
You've said
Quote
People seem to have a firm idea that for roleplaying to work properly, certain things must be observed and put into practice?  great!
I've said these 'people' may be talking shit.

I haven't said there's nothing to critically examine. Indeed I've said there's even more to be critical about.

You talk about patterns that exist...do they? What's the evidence for that? Someone just said they do? Is that enough evidence for you?
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