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Independent Game Forums => lumpley games => Topic started by: Judaicdiablo on August 29, 2005, 10:32:39 AM

Title: [DitV] "Minmaxing Dogs is playing Dogs well."
Post by: Judaicdiablo on August 29, 2005, 10:32:39 AM
In this post(,
Vincent said that "Minmaxing Dogs is playing Dogs well."  As an avid MinMaxer (I don't see it as min-maxing, I see it as using my tools efficiently) - I am eternally concerned with tweaking my character in such a way that it makes either the players or the GM unhappy with me. 

I played my first Dogs session yesterday and was very concerned about how effective I was.  It really seemed that with a little creative narration I could pull in the dice that I needed to win any conflict and even mitigate or eliminate all fallout.

However, after reading that article, I feel much better about my style of play and I will no longer be worried about pointing out favorable fallout options to my fellows (all though I will probably continue to do it for myself.)

Ultimately, what it comes down to, is that while we are effective and can beat anyone is a conflict, it doesn't mean we will get what we want.

I have also noticed that due to "Taking the blow", you can not come out of a conflict unscathed and still play the game "right."  The mere act of taking a blow indicates that you have to concede some point, even if only you know that you have conceded it.  For example, if you are discussing the faith and you "Take the Blow" then it generally means that something they have said rings true and shakes your currently held beliefs.  This happens even before you roll the fallout and may be assigned as the Fallout effect or it may not, but it has happened.

It is possible to design your character so that he never takes fallout (except where truly sucky rolling is involved).   Then you get to play a D&D character.  You will only ever get "XP" between towns and quite possibly, start to notice that you aren't having as much fun as the other players.  But who knows.

My next bit of topic has to do with, why minmax in Dogs? 

For myself, I minmax so that I provide a focused concept of what my character is.  Anime has some of the best examples of minmaxed characters out there.  Look at Rurouni Kenshin (ultimate swordsman), Vash the Stampede (Trigun), or Jubei (Ninja Scroll).  These are characters who minmaxed to the hilt, but do we love them less for it?  No.  We actually love them more for it.  We know they can do whatever they want, but they choose to live virtuously and are continually faced with tough decisions.  Kenshin and Vash do not kill, despite their incredible ability to do so and Jubei has a code that most would find "good" if not virtuous.  That is what makes them so amazing.

My other quick point, is that minmaxing does not have to mean specialization.  I can minmax a Jack-of-all-trades or "that guy who knows everyone", just as easily as I can minmax a super-specialized character.  It is all about what you want to say about your character and when you minmax correctly, then there is no ambiguity about who you are or what you believe.  That makes the job of the GM easier when it comes time to fuck with you.  And really, isn't that what it is all about?


Title: Re: [DitV] "Minmaxing Dogs is playing Dogs well."
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on August 29, 2005, 10:48:47 AM
Nothing to add to your introspection, except a note about the term "min-max": there's two ways it's used, you see. Some people use it to mean extreme character specialization, while others mean just maximal efficiency. The former is supported by the term's etymology, while the latter is perhaps somewhat more common today. In D&D, of course, they are one and the same, because there's only ever one meter for whether a character of a given class is efficient or not.

To judge Vincent's meaning correctly, it's important to know which he means.

Title: Re: [DitV] "Minmaxing Dogs is playing Dogs well."
Post by: John Harper on August 29, 2005, 11:07:09 AM
This is an interesting insight, Brandon. In a sense, the Dogs conflict system is not so much about winning the conflict. Like you said, a Dog can probably win any normal conflict they are faced with. But the Dogs system makes things happen during those conflicts. The Dog hurts people, and gets hurt, too. Those things happen, win or lose. And yeah, maybe the Dogs win a lot, but how? Who do they hurt? Who hurts them? This stiff is important. More important than "winning" since we know from the start that the Dogs will ultimately prevail -- and yep, the system supports that. That's cool.

Title: Re: [DitV] "Minmaxing Dogs is playing Dogs well."
Post by: Judaicdiablo on August 29, 2005, 11:25:44 AM
a Dog can probably win any normal conflict they are faced with. But the Dogs system makes things happen during those conflicts.

When you watch TVs and movies you know that characters will generally succeed at what they are good at.  Buffy will slay the Vampire, the ER doctor will make the proper diagnosis, and the Cop will catch the bad guy.  It is assumed that they are good enough at what they do, that they will, by default, succeed.  I think purpose here is to then delve into the question of how will they succeed and are there consequences to those choices? 

Will Buffy risk the life of an innocent bystander instead of letting the Vamp get away? 
Will the doctor take the extra time to make the tough diagnosis when he is later for a dinner date?
Will the cop plant false evidence on a guy he knows to be guilty but would get off otherwise?" 

These are the hard choices that make the game interesting and the minmaxing (or maximizing of effeciency) that lets you say, "by default I always succeed at what I know how to do."

I feel like I have just minmaxed my argument so that I can "minmax to my hearts delight" and not feel bad about it.


Title: Re: [DitV] "Minmaxing Dogs is playing Dogs well."
Post by: lumpley on August 29, 2005, 11:33:37 AM
I'd go so far as to say that this is the whole endeavor of Narrativist game design.

In any well-designed game, playing hard and playing fair = awesome things happen.

In other words: right on!