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Author Topic: Brief theory question  (Read 1607 times)
clehrich
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« on: February 10, 2003, 09:53:54 PM »

Hi,

I just read The Pool --- I haven't played it yet --- and I have a brief question.  If I succeed at a roll, I can take an additional die to my pool, or MOV, right?

Now in the Forge comments on my own game, http://auroragames.com/pdf/shadows.pdf" target="blank">Shadows In the Fog, it was pointed out that a mechanic I have seems to reward players for not being creative.  Here in The Pool, you have a similar effect: if you choose to be cool and creative (MOV), you don't get a die.  Why does this not reward dull play?

Please note:  I fully believe that it works, I'm just wondering why it works.
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Chris Lehrich
Valamir
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2003, 07:18:57 AM »

I would suggest that its not a choice between a reward (a die) and no reward (no die, but an MOV consolation prize) but a choice between two equivelent rewards either of which may be more desireable depending on the situation at the time.

One thing of not is that IMO, "depending on the situation at the time" tends to overwhelm the decision.  While niether die nor MOV is the best choice ALL the time for any given roll there usually is a best choice.  Some times taking the die is clearly the "best" choice (often the only reason a roll was desired to begin with).  Other times the player has plenty of dice and the MOV is clearly superior.  More rarely I think are the times when a player really has to make a hard choice between the two (i.e. a choice with a high opportunity cost).  Those moments are probably among the most memorable for the player.
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James V. West
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2003, 08:53:58 AM »

If a player always takes the die and never does an MOV then he isn't really getting the game and he's probably not having a very good time either.

What Valamir said is pretty much on the spot. I think it would be most interesting when a player has dice, but not a lot of dice, and has to decide which reward to take in a scene that if rife with possibility. Also, a player might take the die reward on a few rolls and build up until he knows he's at a really powerful moment in the story. Then, with more dice at his disposal, his chance of getting that MOV is much improved.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2003, 09:13:45 AM »

Quote
If a player always takes the die and never does an MOV then he isn't really getting the game and he's probably not having a very good time either.


Are you sure about that, James? The player is still contributing a great deal simply by announcing actions and employing the Gambling mechanic, and maybe he sor she is comfy with the GM narrating outcomes. Doing stuff that calls for a roll is definitely a big part of playing the Pool - our discussions here focus too much, I think, on what you do with an MoV and not enough on what you do such that rolls come into play.

I'm happy with anyone's preferred ratio of dice-taking to MoV's, from 0:1 to 1:0, with anything in between. I regard both options as desirable rewards, with their relative value being customizable, as Ralph says, based both on the circumstances of play and the personality of the player.

Best,
Ron
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James V. West
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2003, 09:31:42 AM »

Hmm..

Interesting point. I guess this really does depend on player personalities. My own experiences have proved much more interesting when players do MOVs as often as possible. This could be due to my desire to see that aspect of the game in action. Biased, perhaps.

But I can say for certain that the worst session I ran involved players who didn't get into the MOV thing and, honestly, didn't announce many die rolls either. Chalk it up to them being new at the game and me being new to running it.

Let me answer this question again in a year.
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xiombarg
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2003, 09:33:57 AM »

The point is, in relation to the original question, that taking a MOV is not a consolation prize -- narrative control is a reward into itself.
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