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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 69 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: the island of misfit games  (Read 17285 times)
Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2002, 08:53:14 AM »

Quote from: Paul Czege
It makes me want to propose that any user with more than 300 posts hold off for 24 hours before posting to a newly announced game in Indie Game Design, as a way of making room for newer users to contribute productively to discussions. Even more radical would be a 48 hour moratorium, except during that time if you have more than 300 posts, your role is to private message someone with less than 300 posts to evoke their thoughts about the game, during the time when they can post.


Mike? Ron? You may begin posting again in the year 2005.

That is all. :)

. . .

Actually, no it's not.

What if there was a kind of Forge "Dirty Dozen" - a list of games to be played that month. People "sign up" to play *one* of them (and once a game is signed up for, it's off the list) and it's their duty to post about it in Actual Play?

Uh, general rules? It should be a new game to the majority of players involved. It should be an "indie-game." Stuff like that.
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2002, 08:59:25 AM »

Mike,

Do you have an issue with people playing more? Sure, games get played. Could it happen more? Yes. Should it happen more? I can't see why not. I'm not sure where you ever read "destructive part" into Paul's writings - I don't see him saying it. I see him saying "How can we make the Forge even more productive?" I can't imagine anyone having a problem with that idea.

Zak,

Sorry, but I have a "what the fuck?" for you, as well. You said: But what can we do to encourage Actual Play? Providing a game playable "out of the box" is my opinion. ... Instead, you make things as easy as possible for the gamers. I agree with your points that I deleted: a mechanic or a setting does not a game make. But, requiring some work from a group isn't the worst thing I've ever heard. I guess I probably have vested interest in this: my new game requires the group to make up a setting before play. Are people really that lazy, apathetic, and pathetic that they can't do a little work?

I'll tell you where the problem is:
 - 45% (and, yes, I'm making up these numbers, but they ring true) of the people around here don't play at all.
 - 45% of the people around here read and talk about indie games, and then go home and play D&D or d20 Cthulhu or whatever. I don't have a problem with these games, but they aren't getting indie games played.

And that leaves us with 10% of the people that play indie games on a regular basis. That might sound low, but look at who's posting on here. As Ralph Mazza pointed out, the top 40 posters here (less than 10%) produce 75% of the total posts.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
hardcoremoose
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 669


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« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2002, 09:32:22 AM »

I'm going to say something in regards to facilitating more actual play...

For those of us who have designed games, I suggest we take ownership of those games.  

There was a time when I was posting every hair-brained idea I had.  At some point, Ron jumped in and said (and I paraphrase) 'That's great, but why aren't you playtesting these?'.  So that weekend I got a couple friends together and we played that game (happened to be Human Wreckage).

Of all the games I've designed, I've played WYRD, Appalachia Now!, and the aforementioned HW.  That's less than half, and yet my track record is pretty good when compared to many others.

The model Ron created with Sorcerer is extremely viable.  Design a game you want to play, and then play the damn thing.  To take the discussion away from Ron, who seems to be the ubiquitous enabler in this thread, I'll cite Kayfabe.  Matt has spent the last year designing one game.  He has played that game (although not nearly as much as he would like, I'm willing to bet).  Other people have played that game (yes, including Ron, but many people were playing it before that).  Matt's gotten tons of free press, he's actively promoted his game in venues outside of The Forge, and he's generated interest in people like Cynthia who help take up the battle cry for him.  He took ownership of the game, and it's getting played (sadly, not by many Forgites, but at least it's getting played).  Furthermore, he's created a community around his game, learned lots in the process, and can now share that information with us here.  That's good stuff.

Am I saying we should design less and take a greater interest in what we already have out there?  Well, maybe.  I certainly don't think people should stop designing games - I haven't.  But we should want people to play our games, and who's gonna' do that if it aint the designers themselves?  It can't be Ron...as prolific as his play is, he can't play everything.

I have more, but I think that'll do for now.  And anyway, I think this thread is about more than just actual play...

- Scott
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2002, 09:35:32 AM »

Ah, geez. Lots of emotions flying around in this thread, and everyone seems to have been poked in the sore spot, me included.

I have a fair amount to say regarding nearly every post so far on this thread. However, I have neither the time nor emotional energy to do it. I will eventually, probably over the next week, pull together some threads about organizing sustained play. They go all the way back to the Sorcerer forum on GO.

For now, I'll restrict myself to a few basic comments.

1) Paul's general point is valid - encouraging people to play, and specifically to play the games being developed this moment, is a big priority at the Forge. The original Hephaestus' Forge had that as its only goal. The more play we have of a given game by as many groups as possible, and the more dialogue we have about it from differing perspectives, the better.

2) I'm a "value-added" kind of person. If the Forge does a lot to serve the above goal, such that more of it happens because the Forge exists, then I'm happy. Paul's 100th refugee problem isn't, bluntly, my problem. It's our problem as a community, yes, and I agree with him that any and all effort should be expended in this direction. However, do not look to me, personally, as the solution. Or even for a solution.

3) I am disgusted, and have been for a long time, with the idea that my personal endorsement is necessary for a game to get recognized, played, and further developed. Clinton's Donjon is an excellent counter-example - one of the most immediately-loved and immediately-played games ever at the Forge, with few if any posts by me and no play or review.

I'm perfectly happy with the idea that my personal attention to a game has a positive effect. Demonstrably, it does so - if it didn't, I'd stop reviewing, etc, tomorrow. But to say that such attention on my part is necessary is bullshit. Using my lack of attention for a particular game as some kind of marginalizing as a justification for abandoning work on it is worse than bullshit, it's reprehensible.

4) I do not play mainly one- or two-session games for most of the games I review. The number of sessions per game begins at three or four, often more (Hero Wars went for over 40). The campus group characterized by one-shots is the "least" of my gaming effort, and the number of indie/homebrew games we play there is necessarily low.

5) Fuck the ongoing nasty insinuations or statements that the Forge is "all theory and no play." They're demonstrably false. People who are saying that are practicing Social Deception, hoping to influence third parties' judgment and behavior by providing false information. Such deception is best combatted simply by saying "That is a lie," and providing a link to Actual Play.

Trying to increase the amount of Actual Play in hopes of decreasing the "misconception" is futile - the guilty individuals are not misconceiving anything; they are simply lying and know that already, and they'll continue to do so even if everyone at the Forge role-played every nght of the week and posted about it every day.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2002, 09:38:23 AM »

Quote from: Clinton R Nixon
Do you have an issue with people playing more?
Don't be ridiculous. I just see it as a personal choice, and one that we're not likely to be able to affect here.

Quote
Sure, games get played. Could it happen more? Yes. Should it happen more? I can't see why not.
That would be grand. And I like the featured game, especially Jared's take on it. But I don't see how either would actually get more people to play. What it does do is privilege a certain few games every month. If someone wants to propose that people should try playing a certain game, they are free to do so. It happens now, and people either play or they do not.

There's only so much power to suggesting such things. Perhaps an incentive can be offered?

Quote
I'm not sure where you ever read "destructive part" into Paul's writings - I don't see him saying it. I see him saying "How can we make the Forge even more productive?" I can't imagine anyone having a problem with that idea.
Paul wrote, "I can't help but think we're doing something wrong. " and other various stuff in a post that seemed very negatively to address a "concern" that he has. Maybe I misread him, but he hasn't done anything to change my opinion.

I think the Forge does an excellent job already. Sure we can do more, and if you approach it from a proactive angle, I'm all for it. I just don't see what the "concern" is all about.

BTW, it hasn't seen much support, but Nathan's Indie-Netgaming:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/indie-netgaming

strikes me as an exceptionally proactive way of enabling Actual Play. I recommend that others come over and get some gaming going on on-line.

Mike
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Clinton R. Nixon
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Posts: 2624


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« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2002, 10:46:29 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
5) Fuck the ongoing nasty insinuations or statements that the Forge is "all theory and no play." They're demonstrably false. People who are saying that are practicing Social Deception, hoping to influence third parties' judgment and behavior by providing false information. Such deception is best combatted simply by saying "That is a lie," and providing a link to Actual Play.


Ron,

I think the same thing we accuse people of is being committed here. You say it's demonstrably false, but then don't back that up.

In the interest of examining the actual case, let's look at the first page of the Actual Play forum. We have:

 - 6 threads on various d20 games (47 posts in total)
 - 3 threads about DemonCon (28 posts in total)
 - 2 threads on Zak's Indie Gaming Monday (in which he plays Steve Jackson's Munckhin, Hogshead's Pantheon, and Wizards of the Coast's d20 Cthulhu) (13)
 - 2 threads on a World, Flesh, and the Devil game soon to be run by its author (13)
 - 1 thread on actual play of Adventure! (7)
 - 1 thread on profiling (24)
 - 1 thread on how to start and keep a game group (1)
 - 1 thread on actual play of idoru (10)
 - 1 thread on an Inspectres game at a convention (2)
 - 1 thread on play of Riddle of Steel (1)

I see 5 threads dedicated to indie games, 8 if you count the DemonCon ones - one of those is just planning. Out of those, I see three (five, with the two DemonCon play threads) that are actual play of indie roleplaying games, which is our explicit purpose. (Strangely, there's 9 threads on play of non-indie games, which I'm not discouraging people from doing, but the 1:3 indie:non-indie ratio is a bit sad.) Out of those three, there's only one with a significant amount of comments.

Where's the meat? "All theory and no play" is obviously bullshit, but there's not a lot going on there, either.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
xiombarg
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« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2002, 10:53:56 AM »

Quote from: hardcoremoose
There was a time when I was posting every hair-brained idea I had.  At some point, Ron jumped in and said (and I paraphrase) 'That's great, but why aren't you playtesting these?'.  So that weekend I got a couple friends together and we played that game (happened to be Human Wreckage).

While I have no problem getting my players to try new games (that's what the "every-other-Wednesday f*ckaround night" is for), I find them very, very reluctant to try my designs. I think they're very, very concerned with my ego, which is nice, but annoying.

Another issue I have with playtesting my own game is I can fill in holes automatically, since I know what I meant. I'm more concerned as to how someone who approaches my game "cold" takes it.

Perhaps this should be split of into another thread, but what about a "designer" exchange? That is, I agree to playtest one of, say, Moose's games, and he agrees to playtest one of mine. And then we report on Actual Play. This gets more games played, and lets people get a more objective opinion of things. I think there are enough designers besides Ron engaged in actual play to make this possible...
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2002, 11:04:37 AM »

Quote from: Clinton R Nixon
Where's the meat? "All theory and no play" is obviously bullshit, but there's not a lot going on there, either.


I wouldn't be so quick to criticize that, either. Ron has made it clear that Actual Play is not a place for "Breathless, and then" recountings. As such I think that people have shown considerable restraint in not posting such material. What is there is pretty substantive stuff.

If we were to simply recount every game session we played, I think the forum would fill up very quickly. Instead, though, we pretty much only post about sessions where there is an interesting point to be made, or problem to discuss. So you don't see much about the average session.

My point is that I think that the posted stuff in Actual play is just the tip of the iceberg of what actual play is occuring. Consider what percentage of total posts occur in Actual Play, and I think its geting the attention it deserves.

Would you like us all to try to dig a bit deeper and come up with issues every single time we play? I can do that, I suppose, but I'd prefer not to force it. Is that what you're suggesting?

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2002, 11:06:08 AM »

Hi Clinton,

Allow me to clarify. There are two issues.

1) Playing role-playing games of any sort. That's the topic that the various whiny-butts are lying about. The entire Actual Play forum is the falsifier of their comments.

Comment: "The Forge is all talk, no play."
Rebuttal: "[Link to Actual Play forum] Get fucked."

Bam, the gavel comes down, all done. It really is that simple.

2) Playing creator-owned games here at the Forge during the course of their development. This is what Paul is talking about. In fairness to him and in some guilt for bringing up the above issue in the first place (when it doesn't really belong), I need to make my point really clear.

I regard the idea of something like a quota or reward system of Indie Actual Play very dubiously. People come to the Forge and stay for lots of reasons, but in large part because whatever RPG they play, they get positive encouragement for doing so and lots of willingness to talk about the details. D20, Vampire, old D&D, GURPS, Space:1889, Star Wars D6, Earthdawn, what-have-you, it's all good Actual Play.

I really, really worry about the notion that person A's actual play posts would be privileged or lionized in any way over person B's, because A played The World the Flesh and the Devil whereas B played Spycraft. That strikes me as a very bad thing. Your breakdown of the numbers of the Actual Play threads in terms of indie/non-indie means very little to me - that's not something we should be trying to control or influence; in fact, doing so strikes me as tremendously disrespectful, cart-before-the-horse, and ultimately counter-productive.

I do like your idea of the Featured Game for a Month (or whatever) because it's exactly that: a special feature, and it promotes the Creator-ownership, and attention to development of a good game, and so on. By putting it into a special box for a unit of time, we avoid that two-tier standard of actual play as a chronic thing.

Best,
Ron
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Zak Arntson
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« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2002, 11:13:59 AM »

Quote from: Clinton R Nixon
... Are people really that lazy, apathetic, and pathetic that they can't do a little work?


I'd say that's a judgement call. Sure people have to do work. In general, they have to make characters and the GM has to come up with a scenario. I'm not talking about games, which sound like Ron and you play, with multiple, lengthy sessions. So this approach isn't an end-all answer. My current gaming group hasn't displayed the desire (even when asked) to participate a lot in pre/post game stuff beyond casual discussion. I wouldn't call it lazy or pathetic, they just see gaming as a diversion. It's the difference between a video game designer and player. One wants to get into the guts. The other wants to grab the controller and go, often without reading the manual.

In getting our games to more gamers, we should acknowledge that there's big differences on how much people want to spend non-play time on gaming. Paladin requires a particpant-created Setting. There's tons of ways do this, from allowing for massive pre-play setup, to incorporating the Setting creation during play. It just depends on the audience you want to reach.

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon

...
 - 45% of the people around here read and talk about indie games, and then go home and play D&D or d20 Cthulhu or whatever. I don't have a problem with these games, but they aren't getting indie games played.


Exactly. They know the d20 System, so there's a very small learning curve to move to d20 Cthulhu, or 2nd ed. AD&D to D&D. You can buy a module, or the GM does a ton of work, and the Players just show up. One hour of char-generation at the first session and boom. That's why I have started a conscious effort to make my games easy to get ready for play, as well as play. But then, that's a goal on my part. Not the only way to do things, by any stretch.
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Valamir
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« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2002, 11:22:20 AM »

I do like Xiom's idea of designer swapping.  That would have helped Mike and I out immensely when we had reached a point where further playtest by us was of limited value.  It would have been great for us to be able to go and play Wyrd, or WFD, or Questing Beast, or Dust Devils, or or or, and know that on the other end our game was getting similiar treatment.

That, of course, is something we could be doing on our own, but I wonder if there wouldn't be a way to facilitate that.  Perhaps a specific Play Test Forum seperate from Actual Play or Indie Design.  

As another idea, if there is truly a concern about this issue that the Forge community at large wishes to address...what about the Review Columns.  All but one of the reviews are by Ron.  The review policy is pretty clear...requireing Actual Play.  Could the Reviews themselves be a motivator to generate play?  Just thinking out loud a bit here.
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2002, 11:28:47 AM »

Hey Scott,

Yes!...Kayfabe is a fantastic example of what I'm talking about. You've got me thinking that what I'd like to see beyond posts of "actual play" is "actual beyond design" posts. I'd like to see people writing about how they actually got people playing their designs, how they facilitated that, what obstacles they overcame, how they got their game reviewed in mainstream media, that kind of thing.

What do you think?

Paul
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2002, 11:45:43 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

2) Playing creator-owned games here at the Forge during the course of their development. ... I need to make my point really clear.

I regard the idea of something like a quota or reward system of Indie Actual Play very dubiously. People come to the Forge and stay for lots of reasons, but in large part because whatever RPG they play, they get positive encouragement for doing so and lots of willingness to talk about the details. D20, Vampire, old D&D, GURPS, Space:1889, Star Wars D6, Earthdawn, what-have-you, it's all good Actual Play.


I'm going to ask a question, but I need to put serious disclaimers before it. This question is solely for the process of information gathering and discussion, and doesn't reflect any views, policy, or effect on the Forge at all.

That said:

The Forge is here for the creation, promotion, and play of independent games, right? In that case, is the idea that anyone can show up as discuss whatever RPG they play a good idea? Does it help create, promote, or play indie games? (It well might - that's why I ask.)

Or does it water down the content on independent game design and creation? The Forge has grown at a near-exponentional rate. Has that been good for it? Or should the non-indie material be shunted towards communities that have that as their explicit purpose?

I don't know the answer to this question, but I think it's one well worth examining before we move on.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2002, 11:50:57 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes

I wouldn't be so quick to criticize that, either. Ron has made it clear that Actual Play is not a place for "Breathless, and then" recountings. ...

If we were to simply recount every game session we played, I think the forum would fill up very quickly. Instead, though, we pretty much only post about sessions where there is an interesting point to be made, or problem to discuss. So you don't see much about the average session.
...
Would you like us all to try to dig a bit deeper and come up with issues every single time we play? I can do that, I suppose, but I'd prefer not to force it. Is that what you're suggesting?


I don't think we need to force anything, but I do have one question: why aren't there questions to ask or points to make after the average session? It seems to me that a session in which nothing strikes any player as particularly interesting or even problematic is a less-than-average session. I don't always post on my sessions, but that's often because I take about 12-24 hours to think about the session, and one of my players has normally posted by then.

To tell the truth, Ron's right in that creators don't need affirmation or approval to keep creating. Then again, he sees how many copies of Sorcerer are being bought. I have no clue who's played Donjon or Urge, and it's nice to know.

Somewhere in this thread, Private Messaging's come up. It's a great idea to at least let the creator know what you're doing with their game, even if you don't post in Actual Play. The benefit to Actual Play, though, is one person might see your post and think, "Hey - that game sounds awesome. I'll play it," and - boom - another indie game player.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Bailey
Member

Posts: 71


« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2002, 12:26:51 PM »

Quote from: Clinton R Nixon

In the interest of examining the actual case, let's look at the first page of the Actual Play forum. We have:

 - 6 threads on various d20 games (47 posts in total)
 - 3 threads about DemonCon (28 posts in total)
 - 2 threads on Zak's Indie Gaming Monday (in which he plays Steve Jackson's Munckhin, Hogshead's Pantheon, and Wizards of the Coast's d20 Cthulhu) (13)
 - 2 threads on a World, Flesh, and the Devil game soon to be run by its author (13)
 - 1 thread on actual play of Adventure! (7)
 - 1 thread on profiling (24)
 - 1 thread on how to start and keep a game group (1)
 - 1 thread on actual play of idoru (10)
 - 1 thread on an Inspectres game at a convention (2)
 - 1 thread on play of Riddle of Steel (1)

I see 5 threads dedicated to indie games, 8 if you count the DemonCon ones - one of those is just planning. Out of those, I see three (five, with the two DemonCon play threads) that are actual play of indie roleplaying games, which is our explicit purpose. (Strangely, there's 9 threads on play of non-indie games, which I'm not discouraging people from doing, but the 1:3 indie:non-indie ratio is a bit sad.) Out of those three, there's only one with a significant amount of comments.

Where's the meat? "All theory and no play" is obviously bullshit, but there's not a lot going on there, either.


There's also the matter that posts on Actual Play are supposed to be about learning and exploring and such.  If I wanted to I could just post a message that said
Quote
Played Everway on Thursday.  It lasted about two hours.  It was a small (4 person) group, with two player characters and two gamemasters.  It was a lot of fun.

but what good would that do?
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