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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 74 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Where investment seeds  (Read 27413 times)
Callan S.
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« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2005, 02:42:19 PM »

Hi Mark,

Thank you, perfect example of the disjunct I was getting at with that BYO investment thing. It's something I think snakes and ladders and similar board game techniques might be able to help with.


Hi again, Joshua,

Basically what Mark is refering to is "One mans trash is another mans treasure". Well, more the reverse of that "Ones mans investment is another mans colour".
Quote
With the exception of the clean/dirty thing, those are all situations, Mark.  Unless you wanted to shoot people to no purpose, K wanted to play poker just to play poker, and T wanted to sing about nothing.
It's really the other way around that's the problem. Mark wants to shoot people to a purpose, but the other players see no purpose in it, thus it is not setting...in terms of the group play it becomes color. When he does a high noon shootout, everyone just listens as if the whether was being described to them. None of the other players assign significance to it, thus it isn't a situation...it fritters away to just being colour.


Hi Robert,

Good question! I'd say 'minion of an evil master' is a bit of color. What happened to it, when it became the core of my life with master? I'm at a bit of a loss on that question (anyone else care to jump in?).

Those other two questions are so good, I'll have to go and mull on them for awhile! :)
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Philosopher Gamer
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2005, 04:51:05 PM »

None of the other players assign significance to it, thus it isn't a situation...it fritters away to just being colour.

Ah, you're going with a 'majority rules' sort of definition.  The bulk of the group thinks it's Color, so then it is Color.  From my angle, there's no group definition until there's group consensus, so if the bulk of the group thinks it's Color and one guy thinks it's Situation, I'd say that it's Color for them and Situation for him.

So have we been in screaming agreement? ;)
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Graham W
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« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2005, 01:49:12 AM »

Nice discussion. Let me ask something and correct me if I've misinterpreted.

When I play something like Snakes and Ladders, what I enjoy are very childish things. I like picking up dice and rolling them; I like the way the Snakes look threatening (it wouldn't be the same if they were just arrows pointing down).

Now, I enjoy similar things in roleplaying games. In Dogs In The Vineyard, I like rolling huge handfuls of dice; in My Life With Master, I like the three differently shaped and coloured dice which I can play for; in the Shab Al-Hiri Roach, I like the cards with instructions on them.

(I wouldn't enjoy Dogs In The Vineyard half as much, for example, if the dice were rolled by a computer.)

Are these things colour, exactly? If they are, they seem to be a very different sort of colour from the cockatrice windvane. They have nothing to do with the shared world the players have created. What I enjoy is playing with the physical trappings of the game: how is that categorised?

Graham
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TonyLB
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« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2005, 04:24:11 AM »

What I enjoy is playing with the physical trappings of the game: how is that categorised?

Toy Quality?
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Ice Cream Emperor
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« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2005, 05:24:56 AM »

Thank you, perfect example of the disjunct I was getting at with that BYO investment thing. It's something I think snakes and ladders and similar board game techniques might be able to help with.

I'm curious what techniques you are thinking about -- or even what other general factors might make Snakes & Ladders less prone to this problem than, say, D&D.

The only thing that really comes to mind is simplicity/limitation. As you've pointed out, Snakes & Ladders is 100% spectator sport, which means that even if the players do have wildly divergent focuses, they have a limited ability to screw with the game everyone else is playing. Furthermore, there isn't a lot to go on, as far as colour: there are snakes, there are ladders, there is a start and there is an end. Possibly, your game tokens have funny shapes, or there are illustrations on the side of the board where little boys and girls are eaten by snakes. Given this extremely limited set of elements, it's not surprising that players might have an easier time agreeing on what the game is about, or what 'colour' is important. The probability of someone investing in the fact that the squares are numbered -- and consequently attempting to turn the game into a numerologically-inspired simulation of their game piece's spiritual journey towards enlightenment -- is pretty low. In part because, as mentioned, the game does not ask for any input of this sort. You can play Snakes & Ladders without caring about the colour at all, and instead investing entirely in the gambling elements.

That said, there is nothing in the design of the game to stop one player from thinking that the coolest thing about the game is the ladders, and someone else to think the awesomest part is the snakes. Or to stop one player from thinking the point is to win (therefore despairing at snakes and gloating at ladders) and the other to think that snakes are just so damn cool that in fact the point is to fall down as many snakes as possible while making hissing noises and addressing their game piece as Sisyphus.

Perhaps more realistically, Monopoly is a game rife with investment conflicts, particularly when played by young kids. The list is almost endless: who gets to be banker; owning the 'pretty' properties because you like their colour, literally; trading in all your 50s for 1s so you can have enormous wads of cash; refusing to ever mortgage property or trade; railroads (anything with railroads, they're like a crazy super-vector for these sorts of disagreements); whether going to jail on purpose is cool; free parking; hotels vs. houses. Nobody plays Monopoly the same way even when they play by the same rules; and I still remember games of Monopoly in which rules were concocted for shutting down the power at hotels and using a mortgaged lot to house a machine gun.

Again, this just seems like a matter of how much player input there is, how simple the rules and colour of the games are, and also (perhaps) how abstract they are. By including lots of colour with real life parallels, Monopoly encourages the same sort of crazy investment-disagreements that happen in real life over those same things.
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Graham W
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« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2005, 10:29:12 AM »

What I enjoy is playing with the physical trappings of the game: how is that categorised?

Toy Quality?

Ah, useful. Thanks.

Bloody Forge, it's always been discussed before.

Graham
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komradebob
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« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2005, 10:56:39 AM »

So, is the general thrust of this thread that game designers should give more serious consideration to Color as an element of design than they usually do?
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Robert Earley-Clark

currently developing:The Village Game:Family storytelling with toys
talysman
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« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2005, 11:08:17 AM »

So, is the general thrust of this thread that game designers should give more serious consideration to Color as an element of design than they usually do?


it seems that way, except that I get the impression this thread is more about the physical embodiments of Color. which leads to a problem. I don't agree that studying Snakes and Ladders is going to help RPG design very much. first, because as has been mentioned, the Color (and the Fiction linked to Color) has no effect on play; and second, although physical props like maps, cards, and character sheets can add a little to the quality of the game, the real board, tokens, and pawns in RPGs is in the Fiction, and the Fiction can be changed during play; that's the essential nature of an RPG.

I think also that in ordinary games versus RPGs, it's all Color and System, with Character, Setting and Situation being part of Color. the Color is not very important, it's just a gimmick to sell the game; all the real play is about System and the people around the table. thus, board games and card games can have some benefit to someone designing the social rules for pure Nar/Gam RPGs, but they won't be as useful for Sim RPGs or the rules that support Exploration in Nar/Gam.
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John Laviolette
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komradebob
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« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2005, 11:30:55 AM »

So, is the general thrust of this thread that game designers should give more serious consideration to Color as an element of design than they usually do?


it seems that way, except that I get the impression this thread is more about the physical embodiments of Color. which leads to a problem. I don't agree that studying Snakes and Ladders is going to help RPG design very much. first, because as has been mentioned, the Color (and the Fiction linked to Color) has no effect on play; and second, although physical props like maps, cards, and character sheets can add a little to the quality of the game, the real board, tokens, and pawns in RPGs is in the Fiction, and the Fiction can be changed during play; that's the essential nature of an RPG.

I think also that in ordinary games versus RPGs, it's all Color and System, with Character, Setting and Situation being part of Color. the Color is not very important, it's just a gimmick to sell the game; all the real play is about System and the people around the table. thus, board games and card games can have some benefit to someone designing the social rules for pure Nar/Gam RPGs, but they won't be as useful for Sim RPGs or the rules that support Exploration in Nar/Gam.

Interesting points. I think I would (semi) counter that studying Chutes and Ladders becomes important in the marketing of rpgs.

Which, in a way, points to the necessity of a game designer either being a truly well rounded renaissance type with a multitude of skills, or being willing to take their baby and find partners to further develop the color aspects of their system.

I will say that Color plays a very important role in my buying and playing habits. I can probably count on one hand the number of games that I've bought or played due to system on one hand, while I can look at a shelf full of stuff in which color was the deciding factor.
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Robert Earley-Clark

currently developing:The Village Game:Family storytelling with toys
Kesher
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« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2005, 02:22:46 PM »

I would say that Ron's review of octaNe (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/reviews/25/), in particular his summation and suggestions at the end, has discussed some of this as well.  He seems to be saying that Jared, sort of accidentally, made Color the real engine that drives the game.  A happy coincidence, I guess, since Color is the whole selling-point in the first place.

Aaron
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timfire
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« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2005, 03:36:56 PM »

I disagree a bit with some of the discussion of Snakes and Ladders. You guys keep saying S&L is like gambling---no, it IS a gamble as defined by Ron's Gamism article. There are basically two aspects to gamist play, "crunch" and "gamble". Both are forms of challenge. Crunch forces players to use their skill, while gamble forces players to use their Guts. Different games put different emphasis on each. Chess is pure crunch, Craps is pure gamble. Even though the players in S&L have no input beyond rolling dice, it still represents a challenge.

The excitement comes from the gamble. Within a gamist setting, people want to win. Period. Even if nothing is "at stake", the willingness to gamble shows a player's Guts, so there's still an investment. Color may contribute to a games excitement, but its the gamble (aka challenge) that creates the excitement.

Callen, what types of games do you play? Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but I have the impression you have gamist tendencies. I wonder if the lack of success you've had with BYO invenstment systems is related to CA. But maybe I'm off there.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2005, 08:08:21 PM »

Joshua:
Quote
Ah, you're going with a 'majority rules' sort of definition.  The bulk of the group thinks it's Color, so then it is Color.  From my angle, there's no group definition until there's group consensus, so if the bulk of the group thinks it's Color and one guy thinks it's Situation, I'd say that it's Color for them and Situation for him.

So have we been in screaming agreement? ;)
We agree! However, I'd like to add an idea on top of that: The person who is alone in their investment will feel their enthusiasm dampened, for various reasons. It might be situation for him now, but as the group feedback sinks in that may well turn it back into just being colour.


Ghraham:
Quote
Are these things colour, exactly? If they are, they seem to be a very different sort of colour from the cockatrice windvane. They have nothing to do with the shared world the players have created. What I enjoy is playing with the physical trappings of the game: how is that categorised?
Before we get to Tony's answer, why would you say you seperate imagined objects from physical trappings?


IC Emporer (real name?),

I didn't imagine the snakes and ladders technique helping by somehow forcing everyone to focus on the same thing. Instead I imagined how it spawns a number of investments and that improves the odds of the group finding a common investment between them. Much like in capes, how any number of conflicts might end up on the table, until suddenly one just clicks with several members or all of the group.


John:
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I don't agree that studying Snakes and Ladders is going to help RPG design very much. first, because as has been mentioned, the Color (and the Fiction linked to Color) has no effect on play; and second, although physical props like maps, cards, and character sheets can add a little to the quality of the game, the real board, tokens, and pawns in RPGs is in the Fiction, and the Fiction can be changed during play; that's the essential nature of an RPG.
No effect on play? Are you sure? I've just given examples of increased excitement and a desire to pursue that excitement. This is what drives play...it's lack of mechanical effect doesn't mean much if a player starts making all his game actions revolve around colour that he's invested in. Rather than affecting the mechanics you affecting the player. That's a pretty big game effect!

On the second problem, I'm not sure what you mean. How is it a problem if it can be changed?
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Philosopher Gamer
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talysman
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« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2005, 09:24:00 PM »

John:
Quote
I don't agree that studying Snakes and Ladders is going to help RPG design very much. first, because as has been mentioned, the Color (and the Fiction linked to Color) has no effect on play; and second, although physical props like maps, cards, and character sheets can add a little to the quality of the game, the real board, tokens, and pawns in RPGs is in the Fiction, and the Fiction can be changed during play; that's the essential nature of an RPG.
No effect on play? Are you sure? I've just given examples of increased excitement and a desire to pursue that excitement. This is what drives play...it's lack of mechanical effect doesn't mean much if a player starts making all his game actions revolve around colour that he's invested in. Rather than affecting the mechanics you affecting the player. That's a pretty big game effect!

On the second problem, I'm not sure what you mean. How is it a problem if it can be changed?

actually, your description of the game made me think there *wasn't* any Color effect on play. there was enjoyment of Color, but it sounded like it was the pure gamble that was creating investment.

here's the test: if the ladders were changed into balloons, the snakes into anvils, and the pawns were shaped like cartoon cats, dogs, mice, and tweetie birds, would that have changed play?

as for the second point, keep in mind that the problem I was referring to was that board games like Snakes and Ladders woudln't be helpful; the second reason I gave for why it isn't useful is because RPGs are played on a *fictional* board with *fictional* tokens, and this board and these tokens are infinitely variable, changed by play. in contrast, Snakes and Ladders has a fixed board with fixed Color; Color does not change the game, and the game does not change the Color. the only thing that changes the game is the gamble itself.
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John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
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Callan S.
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« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2005, 09:52:50 PM »

Hi Tim,

I'm gamist, part repressed narrativist. Have enjoyed D&D 3.0 a great, while grinding teeth at the gamist potential of Rifts (unsupportive in terms of my needs, in its rules).

It's interesting. When I wrote about it I didn't really think of snakes and ladders as gamist. Even though I wrote about all the bio feedback about winning. I guess because it lacks something I'm heavily invested in - player input. So in a way, although there's excitement for me, it just seems like colour because it's not my prefered type of gamism. Thus it's that 'ones mans treasure is another mans colour' thing again.

Interesting, because it's not gamism for me yet, yet I am invested.

BUT, what about the second example of progress quest? Perhaps a sim desire...remember how I want to explore just what braingate does, etc? What do you think?


John:
Quote
here's the test: if the ladders were changed into balloons, the snakes into anvils, and the pawns were shaped like cartoon cats, dogs, mice, and tweetie birds, would that have changed play?
Good question! I think in terms of board games it has no effect, but in terms of roleplay games...replying to Tim helped me answer this. What's happening is that this is not my sort of gamism, but at the same time it's reving my gamist engine. I'm just sitting here, reved up with nowhere to go.

With a boardgame, there is nowhere to go. With roleplay there is - the SIS. And while I'm reving, what am I focusing on? The colour presented to me. I want to rev out of this lack of player input and take whatever imaginary object is there to be had, and hit it with player input until I change my chances of winning. The thing I'm going to grasp for first was the colour involved when I was being reved up. I'm charging the red rag I've been taunted with, so to speak, even though it doesn't mean anything mechanically.

I think I get your clarification on the second problem. But why does roleplay have to have colour that is always infinately variable? Surely elements of it can be as fixed as you like - a gothic, brooding atmosphere in vampire, for example.
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Philosopher Gamer
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2005, 10:18:17 AM »

here's the test: if the ladders were changed into balloons, the snakes into anvils, and the pawns were shaped like cartoon cats, dogs, mice, and tweetie birds, would that have changed play?

Would it change the mechanical progress of the game?  No.  Would it change the experience of the game?  Yes.

Color has no mechanical effect -- that does not mean it has no experiential effect.  In fact, Color's experiential effect is why it's there, why it's one of the five components, and why it heightens intensity -- its sole purpose is to create that kind of engagement that Callan is talking about.
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