*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 18, 2019, 09:19:46 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4
Print
Author Topic: Men are from Universalis (split Adventure in Impro'd System)  (Read 22900 times)
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #30 on: October 18, 2003, 06:44:25 AM »

I agree with Mike. And Paul.

Quote from: In Adventures in Improv'd System, Paul Czege
Consider the common dynamic of a group of guys talking. They interrupt each other. They challenge and contradict. They redirect. They talk over each other. The mechanics of Universalis regulate that kind of conversation. It's a male conversation.


If you have a bunch of guys playing Universalis, they use Universalis' turn flow mechanics a lot. They spend lots of coins interrupting, contradicting and talking over each other.  In normal conversation, they'd spend social force of personality doing it.

If you have a bunch of chicks playing Universalis, they don't use its turn flow mechanics much at all.  They don't interrupt, contradict or talk over each other; they wait demurely for each to finish talking and pass the turn to the next.

If you have a mixed bunch of guys and chicks playing Universalis, they use its turn flow mechanics a lot - and to the chicks' great advantage.  In normal conversation the guys would interrupt and talk over the chicks and the chicks wouldn't contradict the guys, because of the social mechanisms involved. Universalis' mechanisms regulate the social mechanisms: chicks can block guys' boorish behavior with coins, not with social force.

I think Paul was just pointing out that Universalis doesn't similarly regulate chick conversations.

(If anybody thinks that I think that all and only men act like "guys" and all and only women act like "chicks," please rest assured that I don't.)

-Vincent
Logged
Emily Care
Member

Posts: 1126


WWW
« Reply #31 on: October 22, 2003, 01:25:09 PM »

Hi Mike & Vincent,

Quote from: Mike Holmes
I fail to see how this is any different from Freeform play.


Freeform doesn't give more in-game resources to louder folks. They may get more time and attention, but not more ability to be effective in game.  Since complications are the main source of coins in Universalis, folks more ept at navigating and initiating conflict, and resourceful at incorporating traits, are at an advantage there. If there were other ways to gain resources, then folks with other traits would have other ways to compete.  

The coins are a way for "chicks" (of whatever sex) to counter "guys" mechanically, but if the guys end up with more coins overall (either because they win and/or simply initiate more conflict), then the chicks will have less ability to block them.

That said, Uni's complication mechanic is great because it makes everyone come up with conflict, keeping the game interesting.  And the more the complications can be viewed as a cooperative vehicle for drama and access to resources, the better.  

Regards,
Em

note: I'm defining freeform as a system with no written rules and no (or few) mechanical techniques, mostly based on discussion and group concensus.
Logged

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #32 on: October 23, 2003, 08:00:14 AM »

Quote
Freeform doesn't give more in-game resources to louder folks. They may get more time and attention, but not more ability to be effective in game.
Again, this is the same thing. Coins as resources in Universalis don't increase "effectiveness". They only allow you to speak and get your way. Just like forceful personalities in Freefrom. Universalis, unlike these games, however, has a framework that equalizes all player's abilities to participate by making the methodologies uniform (Vincent's point). Everyone can say "interrupt" as well as the next player. I posit that it's easier for a timid person to do this with the rule in place, than without. Not that I've found women to be timid in conversation anyhow. Being as there's little to no interplayer conflict going on neccessarily (IMO), I don't see where women are disempowered in any way.

Quote
Since complications are the main source of coins in Universalis, folks more ept at navigating and initiating conflict, and resourceful at incorporating traits, are at an advantage there.
But again, Complications are character (Component, actually) conflicts, not player conflicts. This is an important point that I've tried to make. Do you agree or disagree? Do you see the difference? Players are less "connected" to the characters in play in Universalis than in any other RPG. So there's as little player to character association as you can get. Meaning, again, that Universalis couldn't be less about player v player competition, and still incentivize conflict created by multiple parties.

To say that males are better at coming up with conflict in the literary sense would be to say that they're better at writting literature. Tell that to all the female authors out there. Or, again, is it the contention that stories are a "male" thing?

I'd sorta accept Vincent's idea that it's a male game because it speaks to limiting male interaction. But that's a long way to go to lable this game as "male". And one by which I think almost every RPG in existance could be labled male. I mean, how much more male is it to make characters that go out, kill things, and take their stuff. D&D of that mode is pretty damn male, IMO, being a representation of primitive male hunting-party status gathering. In fact, I'd say that potentially Universalis could be labeled the "least male" RPG. Certainly "not particularly male". Which renders the assignation rather moot, doesn't it?

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #33 on: October 23, 2003, 09:32:31 AM »

Hey Mike.  As far as my point goes, maybe this'll be clearer:

Universalis draws everybody as equal participants into a guy-type conversation, guys and non-guys alike.  It creates an interrupting, contradicting, talking over conversation where coins - which everybody's got equally - matter, instead of force of guy-will.  It makes guy-type conversations accessible and fun.

Most RPGs don't even.  Most RPGs regulate the conversation poorly if at all.  If the players have a guy-type conversation, force of guy-will dominates, to the disadvantage of everybody.  Most RPGs fall down in this regard, I'm not afraid to say, and Universalis doesn't by far.

In other words, I agree with you absolutely.

But to see where Universalis might be called "male," compare it to the game Paul's after: the one that draws everybody as equal participants into a chick-type conversation, even guys.

Guys and chicks, I mean, it's like I'm channelling dear departed Jared.

Anyhow, for the thread at large, the "create a conflict, roll dice, get coins" part of Universalis doesn't seem guyish to me a bit.  Not a bit.  It seems like radically player-empowered storytelling.

-Vincent
Logged
Jonathan Walton
Member

Posts: 1309


WWW
« Reply #34 on: October 23, 2003, 10:31:00 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
But again, Complications are character (Component, actually) conflicts, not player conflicts. This is an important point that I've tried to make. Do you agree or disagree?


See, this is what I don't agree with.  Aren't you the same Mike Holmes who typically argues that the characters (or Components) don't exist or have desires of their own, outside of the players' manipulations of them?  Components don't have conflicts.  Players have conflicts (via the Lumpley Principle, trying to decide what occurs in the game) which are then projected onto the Components.  All conflict is player-player conflict, ultimately.  If the players don't disagree, you don't need a Complication to resolve anything.  You can just negotiate your way through the situation and not roll any dice.  At least, that's what the rules seem to be implying to me.  But Uni wants you to confront each other, be stubborn about what you want to have happen, and ultimately go into a bidding war where you roll some dice.  One player's wishes are eventually superseded by another's player's wishes, or the minority is silenced by the majority.  THAT's why it's a male/yang/guy conversation happening, in my opinion, because it's about overruling minority opinions for the sake of the game as a whole.  It's capitalist, it's democratic, and it's competitive.  It's not about consensus building or validating everyone's ideas.  Sure, it's individually empowering, but not if your ideas don't compete equally with everyone else's.  Imagine playing Diplomacy with someone who just wanted to be everyone's friend.  That person would get trashed.  And I fear the same thing would happen in Uni.
Logged

Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #35 on: October 23, 2003, 11:30:40 AM »

I think you're starting from a good point but you're carrying it to an unwarranted extreme.  I've never seen the level of antagonistic comptetion you fear in any game I've played or heard of.

And I think that's the key.  "Antagonistic Competition"

I get the sense from your posts that you view all competition as intrinsically antagonistic "me vs. you", and further view competetion as being diametrically opposed to consensus building as if they were two seperate things.

On that I fundamentally disagree.  Competition does not have to be a table pounding, face turning read, contest of wills.    Consensus is impossible without either submission or negotiation.  And ALL negotiation, however benign, is a form of competition.

I fail to see how uni is in any way NOT about consensus building.  I would heartily argue that that is ALL uni does is establish a formalized framework for building consensus.  Consensus is about giving ones consent.  No action at all takes place in the game without every other player explicitly or implicitly giving their consent for it.  I think you are conflating the idea of "consensus" with "everbody is equally satisfied by the choice made".  

I would also argue that any and every consensus building technique out there functions exactly the same way; only instead of a regimented organized form of equally distributed currency that is at stake, the currency of consensus is an amporphous, difficult to define, but omnipresent social construct.  Authority, guilt, peer pressure, feelings of inadequacy, ego, spite, intellect, perceptions, favorites, friendship, love, sexual tension, etc, etc, etc. form the currency of consensus building.  

Heck, how often does a group of friends arrive at a consensus with the odd-man-out finally conceding with words like "fine, but you owe me one".  What is such a phrase except the explicit statement of dissatisfaction with the choice made but a willingness to go along any way in exchange for some future consideration.  In such a situation that individuals "social clout" was insufficient to swing consensus to their preference so they had to accept the preference of others.  Uni functions in exactly this same way but substitutes the playing field leveler of Coins for the purely social currency of "clout".

And as for
Quote
But Uni wants you to confront each other, be stubborn about what you want to have happen, and ultimately go into a bidding war where you roll some dice.
I'd have to say that this completely misses the mark of the game.

The rules repeatedly penalize you for being stubborn.  If someone challenges and you give in, niether player loses anything.  If you instead insist and stick to your guns stubbornly, you can still win, but it costs you.  You have to pay for the privilige of being stubborn.

Quote
One player's wishes are eventually superseded by another's player's wishes, or the minority is silenced by the majority.


This is called life.  There is no social situation in which everyone's wishes are fully implemented all of the time.  Uni is no more "plagued" by this than any other form of interaction.  You may be percieving it as such because the mechanics of Coins make what is going on explicit and up front; but I guarentee that except in cases where everyone already started in agreement, there has never been a consensus reached about anything in which someones wishes were'nt superseded by someone elses.  Somebody ALWAYS makes a sacrifice for consensus to be reached.  The sacrifice may be so trivial as to barely count as a sacrifice, it may be significant but acceptable on the basis of expected balance in the future, or it may be so severe that one party winds up in tears.  But consensus ALWAYS involves one or more parties sacrificing something.

Uni works the same way only the process is formalized and put on display for all to see instead of hidden behind a social veneer (one could make an arguement that the rules of etiquette exist primarily to conceal the underlying process of consensus building; which is why I find Orlanthi culture in Glorantha so appealing)

In uni someone will always be doing something that you hadn't thought of.  At some point its going to be something you'd have prefered not have happened (or happened in that way).  You may find its a trivial thing that you allow to pass with out commentl.  You may find its a signficant thing, but you let it pass on the grounds of expected balance.  That balance may come simply from the social preasures of someone else not argueing with you in the future because you didn't argue with them; but in uni it actually comes mechanically in the form of you know having more Coins to do with as you will.  

So yes, I see a degree of "free market" in Unis design (wholly intentional), but I do not see where this encourages antagonistic conflict between players.  A Challenge that goes to bidding, is not a war...its setting a price of "how important is it for you to get your own way".  There are a myriad of ways that this question gets asked socially (up to an including throwing a tantrum and shedding tears).  In Uni we measure this desire in Coins.  Rare is the Challenge that results in one party wanting to continue except they've run out of Coins and have to submit.  Experienced players don't let themselves get that low in Coins relative to their fellows without having done so on purpose fully knowing the risks.  This is no different than a social situation where 1 party has used up all of their "brownie points" or says "don't bat your eyes at me, that won't work this time".  In such a situation, the one party has lost all social clout and the ability to influence the other.  In uni...the one party has lost all of their Coins and the ability to influence the other.


A final comment:  How people choose to use their Coins in Uni is the same choices they make as to how to use their social clout in any relationship.  I fully admit that I use my Coins in a very Yang manner when playing Uni.  I've conceded that there probably is a bias toward such useage in the game because...well...I designed it.  But NOT to the extent or degree that you seem to be saying.  If you want to spend your Coins in uni in a Yin fashion...than do so.  There is no rule that says you HAVE to interrupt.  There is no rule that says you HAVE to take challenges to the bidding stage.  

Does this mean you'd be doomed to be ramrodded by Yang players...no...no more than Yin personalities in real life get ramrodded by Yang personalities.  You just have to approach things differently.
Logged

Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #36 on: October 23, 2003, 11:34:22 AM »

Hello Jonathan,

Disagreements among players in Universalis are handled by Bidding (no dice, just money).

Conflicts among characters in Universalis are handled by Complications (the dice).

They're different imaginative/collaborative processes, different mechanics, and different social interactions. I'm having a hard time seeing why and how you're thinking of them as the same thing.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Jonathan Walton
Member

Posts: 1309


WWW
« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2003, 12:12:16 PM »

See, this'll teach me to post when teed-off, especially when my copy of Uni is at home.  Apologies all around, both for the tone of my last post and for misremembering the rules (which Ron clarified).

Ralph, your point about the relationship between competition and consensus building is well taken.  But while every attempt to build consensus is ultimately a competition, I'd add that every competition is also about building consensus on who the winner is or what the result is (Lumpley Principle at work again).  Honestly, I feel like this relationship isn't as clear in my mind as it should be.  Let me step back a bit and then I might start another thread on the Competition/Consensus issue, after thinking some more and reading old threads on the topic.  I was throwing out half-finished thoughts, which isn't quite fair.

One thing I can say, I think, is that I was reacting, in part, to Uni's codification of that "clout" you were talking about.  It seems like it's a reinforcement of something that's already happening, like you said, but it also doesn't seem to encourage players to develop solutions that satisfy all the players as much as can be done.  Again, this may not really be a weakness, as per the "too many cooks" phenomenon that can water down the power of individual decisions.  But it seems to me like the players who lack "clout" in normal conversations aren't necessarily getting any more by their participation in the coin system, since, being used to their "place" in those kind of conversations, I can see them chosing to back one side of a dispute or another, instead of voicing a different path for the group to take.

Again, this isn't meant as criticism of what the game does as much as things that I'd like to see another game do.

Still, it's become apparent to me that I'm not quite ready to step back into this discussion yet.  Let me retreat and think for a bit.
Logged

Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #38 on: October 23, 2003, 12:27:33 PM »

Quote
Still, it's become apparent to me that I'm not quite ready to step back into this discussion yet. Let me retreat and think for a bit
.

I look forward to it.  This has been a very interesting thread for me and your further thoughts on the topic are quite encouraged.
Logged

Emily Care
Member

Posts: 1126


WWW
« Reply #39 on: October 23, 2003, 03:16:12 PM »

Hello all,

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Disagreements among players in Universalis are handled by Bidding (no dice, just money).

Conflicts among characters in Universalis are handled by Complications (the dice).

Coins are bid to settle disagreements, and coins are gained via complications--many more are gotten by winning a complication. I do see the difference between player and character conflict. My contention is that people who are more comfortable (ie feel less inhibited by or have more experience with) intiating conflict in general, may take like a duck to water with the central role it plays in Universalis and end up with more resources, ie more coins, which does equal player in-game effectiveness: you create components with coins, use them in complications and in inter-player conflicts. They are the currency of the game.  

This, of course, implies nothing about the quality of what they come up with (*Mike I replied to you below about this issue*)  And of course, this may not in fact be what really happens when most folks play Uni. But this is something I observed in the sole game I've played so far, and seems a likely thing based on these rules.


The player dynamic probably determines a lot about how cooperative a given game of Uni can be. I can imagine people finally "getting it" that initiating a complication helps everybody out--all involved can get coins, yes?---and then doing the things that Ralph and Mike have described: handing off components to someone else so that a complication can be initiated, coming up with inter-component conflict in collaboration with other players and conspiring to bring about complications in the interest of creating interesting play.  Liberal use of the rule about full concensus could go a long way towards helping people learn to work together.  And it also could be exploited as a tool by those disinclined to do so. It may be that what I experienced in our game was in fact a gns clash.

But I can also see it could take a while for people to "get" it, and cling to components as being identified with a given player, or viewing complications as being conflict with another player rather than as a game world conflict that involves the components of another players.  And maybe some folks would never get it.  I'll have to play more to see.

Another aspect of this for me to remember is that there is no limit of coins--no one can corner the market on them.  And why place such emphasis on winning bids? It's only of utmost importance if interplayer conflict is a big part of the game.


Quote from: Mike Holmes
To say that males are better at coming up with conflict in the literary sense would be to say that they're better at writting literature. Tell that to all the female authors out there. Or, again, is it the contention that stories are a "male" thing?

That's quite the leap. From what I wrote, and also in and of itself.  Assertiveness=Inventiveness?  The traits I was talking about center around ability to put oneself forward, not ability to put good things forward. Also, you may be confusing me with folks who tie the yang/yin personality traits we're talking to biological sex.

Be well, all. I'll be away until Sunday. I hope my comments can be taken as reflection on what I see as a possible dynamic of the game, and not as a criticism, or pigeon-holing.

Respectfully,
Em
Logged

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
Emily Care
Member

Posts: 1126


WWW
« Reply #40 on: October 23, 2003, 05:46:02 PM »

To answer myself--

Quote from: I
My contention is that people who are more comfortable (ie feel less inhibited by or have more experience with) intiating conflict in general, may take like a duck to water with the central role it plays in Universalis and end up with more resources, ie more coins

Vincent kindly just refreshed my memory of how coins are awarded: one per die rolled for the loser, and a number equal to the successes to the victor. That sounds like it should award plenty of dice to all.

--EC
Logged

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #41 on: October 23, 2003, 06:23:22 PM »

heh, he beat me to it :-)

Emily, have you had a chance to read through the rules yourself or have you just been taught through the one game?

If you haven't, I'd love to have you do so and let me know how well the text as written addresses the concerns you raised above.
Logged

Bob McNamee
Member

Posts: 685


« Reply #42 on: October 23, 2003, 06:42:25 PM »

Quote from: Emily Care
To answer myself--

Quote from: I
My contention is that people who are more comfortable (ie feel less inhibited by or have more experience with) intiating conflict in general, may take like a duck to water with the central role it plays in Universalis and end up with more resources, ie more coins

Vincent kindly just refreshed my memory of how coins are awarded: one per die rolled for the loser, and a number equal to the successes to the victor. That sounds like it should award plenty of dice to all.

--EC


It is also (rarely) possible for the 'losing' side of  complication to get more Coins than  the 'winners'. Which can further balance things, potentially.
Logged

Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #43 on: October 23, 2003, 08:12:13 PM »

Hello,

I'd also like to point out that someone who pushes the "brinksmanship" of Bidding a lot, i.e., competes via spending in order to win disagreements, will end up with less coins over time, not more.

In other words, "winning" disagreements does not enhance what passes for effectiveness in Universalis.

In case anyone's interested, I had extensive conversations with both Ralph and Mike during Universalis' gestation period about exactly this: to what extent is competitive play rewarded. In my estimation, and putting aside the truism that Step On Up (and its child, competition) can enter into any interaction, the game doesn't offer long-term payoff in these terms.

Best,
Ron
Logged
hix
Member

Posts: 531

Steve Hickey


« Reply #44 on: October 23, 2003, 09:02:50 PM »

Say your aim's to create this much more collaborative, consensual game of uni. What gimmicks or tenets would you use?

* High coin refresh to reduce the need for complications?
* No interruptions?
* A reworking of the challenge mechanic?

Maybe we can illustrating the dynamic we're talking about here.

Steve.
Logged

Cheers,
Steve

Gametime: a New Zealand blog about RPGs
Pages: 1 2 [3] 4
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!