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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 70 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Conflict of design goals or: THACO - To Hit Adesign Class 0  (Read 12345 times)
Aaron Blain
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Posts: 27


« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2007, 09:48:51 AM »

Oh, and I don't like chess either. Also because it's too abstract, but not because I believe it hones skills that are useless, but because I can't connect with it emotionally.

For an abstract wargame, I greatly prefer Taasen. Google that biatch! I've often thought of resolving swordfights with Taasen, or making each "scene" of an RPG session correspond to one Taasen move. Also, it's much less a matter of memorizing standard maneuvers, like skilled chess players do.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2007, 08:11:00 PM »

This thread is getting pretty abstract. I'm not sure what sort of game you want to make, Callan. For a page there I thought you were going for full-on board-game level of abstraction, the sort of thing "real people" play. Now you seem to be saying that gamism doesn't have darwinian value without an element of simulationism. Having progressed this far, do you think you could very briefly refocus and restate your goal/problem for me?
In the big model gamism and narrativism sit on what might be called a platform of exploration. I'm refering to having more exploration involved than a game like monopoly or chess has - simulationism isn't being introduced.

Check out my previous post above where I define two gamist breeds - the chess like breed and the 'text adventure' like breed.

In my experience of chess, my opposing player doesn't explore how his pieces would act - he decides it. It's hard to describe the distinction - that's a discussion in itself. But I'm not interested in that breed - it lacks the levels of exploration I want.

I think to avoid rambling, it'd be good to check if you can see gamism outside of a full on boardgame, as you put it, or if you just see simulationism. Perhaps write an actual play account and post a link to it here, as a further examination. Beyond that though, we might be heading into rambling if we continue.

Quote
Tell me if you posed this hypothesis : The players' captivity to the GM's conception of reality is not necessarily a design flaw if it is not central to their success. Yes/No/Sorta? Quite interesting, and perhaps crucial the discussion.
No, as I understand you, I didn't hypothesize that.

The captivity is not an issue if it is not the point of play. It can be central to their success and at the same time that captivity isn't the point/big deal of play.

With a sports analogy, I could be required to shoot 100 hoops in a row to win a trophy - to me that doesn't make shooting hoops the big deal/point of play. The trophy is. I may enjoy shooting hoops, even. But I'm playing for the trophy, otherwise I wouldn't play (I'd just find some spot and shoot hoops). Shooting hoops is CENTRAL to success, and I even enjoy it in this example - yet it's not the point of play for me.

It's a bit of a hard question, but how about you? If that captivity is central to success, that that make the game about that captivity? I'm asking this so as to establish where we both are on this, and whether we can both help each other out or not?
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Callan S.
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« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2007, 11:17:24 PM »

That should have read: If that captivity is central to success, does that make the game about that captivity?

Also I didn't restate the problem - but this is from the first post: Writing a hard to beat system (but unfortunately by doing so, knowing how to beat it. This assuredly sucks) VS writing a system which I know isn't easy to beat.

To which I had the idea of attempting to throw a dice into a box from a distance (which no ones commented about, odly). I've done a short game (under 45 min) with a bit of that in it and the uncertainty was great, but need further trials. After that I've been milking ideas from people, and I perhaps sort of thought it'd eventually come round to the 'throw the dice in the box' idea.
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Aaron Blain
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« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2007, 08:41:11 AM »

My bread-and-butter gaming experiences are wargaming with enhanced emotional connection, so I'm all about Gamism beyond the chessboard. I understood your distinction, but after reading it several times I couldn't figure out where you wanted to go. I thought your initial question might have changed by this point (I'm still a little confused by its wording).

Okay. I understand this "platform of exploration" concept. Let me try this : your players will be rewarded for loyally enacting the fiction BECAUSE this is part of the clearly-delineated way to clearly win the game. ? I can run with this.

I'm not sure about your question. My initial reaction is that the Gamist player requires a consistent, knowable environment in which to maneuver. I bet that as long as there's a clear contract between the player and the GM it could work. I haven't tested this much, but I suspect that as long as the GM is held captive to his previous rulings it can work just fine. If a system like this were presented correctly to a Gamist player, he might even be stimulated by the challenge of probing the GM, who becomes a sort of existential fog-of-war.

"Your guy in chainmail falls in the water and drowns."
"Really. He just drowns. No save or anything. He can't, like, slip out of the chainmail."
"No, he wouldn't have time."
"Interesting. People in chainmail automatically drown."
"Yes. People in chainmail automatically drown."

If there is an easy way to keep the GM from weaseling out of his previous statements, I think this would be just fine.

And, dude, dice-throwing is awesome. I really feel dice should be de-emphasized in Gamism. In Sim and even more in Nar, dice are there almost more for a sort of "tarot card" or "casting the runes" effect. In a real Game it sucks to be disempowered. DnD can be so frustrating -- so often you get your ass handed to you for no reason but a string of crappy rolls.

I boiled myself down to the coin toss. Tails, YOU DIE! If I'm going for the trophy, I'll have no patience for this crap where we look at a big mass of d10's and then the GM says. "Ehhh . . . okay, that's good enough." Like he's reading chicken entrails. Clarity and consistency are crucial.

Beyond that, I don't think I can overstate the value of having a physical connection to my character's success. Paper Mario is fantastic.

In its current state : How do I win at your game? How might I be captive to your view of reality?
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Aaron Blain
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Posts: 27


« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2007, 10:28:20 AM »

Oh, and I should have stated this explicitly. In my hypothetical game where you probe the GM and then start luring all his armor-clad enemies back to the swimming pool, I think game is about the players' captivity to the GM's reality to the same extent that your basketball game is about making baskets.

Space Quest is about using real-world knowledge as a clue to guess the designer's whims. I wouldn't call such games very good from a Gamist perspective. If SQ6 were a person I probably would have punched him a few times. Dunno how relevant that is.
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contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #35 on: June 15, 2007, 12:54:35 PM »

Let me throw in a proposition.

Here is our game, it is based on gladiatorial combat in the Roman arena (so  Aaron can stab things).  The characters are slave gladiators, but we make sure to use the convention of 90% survivability; this allows characters to get themselves into various kinds of trouble that can ultimately get them killed (for Callans voluntary risk).  Success in the Arena allows them to buy points of Fame, which can in turn be spent to buy various forms of status, including the wooden sword and hence liberty.  Mastery of the Arena requires specialisation in one of the combat classes (myrmidon, retiarius etc) which are expressed as types of combat actions.

Play occurs in a strict and short sequence of scenes.  The first scene occurs in the gladiators pit, with the fighters gearing up, praying to their gods etc.  It lasts a specific length of time like the proposed 10 minutes.  If nobody has anything to say, you wait the 10 minutes in silence, and deal with your demons, just as you would do if it were real.

The second scene is the combats.  There are a limited and pre-generated number of combatants - creating, portraying and playing these is one of the GM's   duties.  But the GM doesn't actually fight,or specifically assign combatants.  Thematch-up is by tiering and randomness, and all the fights use individual sets of pre-generated rolls and actions assigned to that combatant.  When a fight occurs, it occurs much like it normally would in an RPG, with the GM describing the NPC's actions and the player those of the PC.  But both of them know that the GM cannot throw the fight at all, even if they wanted to.  All the players rolls are live, decisions are made in the here and now.  When two players face each other in the Arena, its direct PvP with the GM as arbiter.  To the victor the spoils.

After the fights conclude, the third scene occurs in the gladiator school, at night, after the fights.  During this scene, players may spend the points they earned during the days combat.  They and the GM (using the point expenditure) agree suitable specific realisations of general values like "patron" or "favourite" or whatever.  That is, they use the portrayal of the social life in the villa as a context for bringing on stage representative NPC's and so forth.  This scene goes on as long as the players all desire, but the GM should narrate the progress of time during the night so that people gradually drop out as they retire, or sit up talking till the cocks crow.

Play ends.  But, the whole process may be short enough that you can play several more cycles in one session.  Each cycle represents exactly one day and no play takes place outside of these specific scenes and physical contexts.  To play further you repeat cycle.

This hopefully sets a specific and detailed contest in a specific and detailed setting.  Its not free and open play sure, it does only one thing.  It uses a lot of RPG modes of narration and portrayal and scene setting, but imposes strict delineation on the possible scenes.  Most of the world exists in abstraction rather than detail; detail is used as a platform for those elements that do enter play.

What do you think?

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Aaron Blain
Member

Posts: 27


« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2007, 08:26:43 AM »

Quite similiar to the "Golden Axe" proposal I made on the first page. It seems we have similar answers to what we perceive are Callan's issues.

I'd rather not hijack Callan's thread, though. I'm still trying to figure out just what he's driving at.

It sounds hella fun, though -- right up my alley. If you want to start a new thread I'll toss some ideas around.

Callan, if you have ideas for, like you said, proceeding constructively after a "mandatory reality-mode divergence correction", I would love to hear them. I do feel it is possible to make this realignment a positive part of the game, rather than a crippling dysfunction (as it is in basically every game in print).
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Callan S.
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« Reply #37 on: June 21, 2007, 07:06:17 PM »

I think my initial problem, where two design goals clashed, has been addressed by the throw system - I'm quite happy with it's effect in the play I account here: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=24159.0

I listened to a podcast interview with Ron recently - although he talks about groups only getting story before or story after, I think I described a sort of gamist parralel problem, which might be called solution to problem before and solution to problem after, respectively. The throw system creates situations that no one would know would be coming up, meaning solution can only be made on the spot, right now in play.


Hi Aaron,

I would say that you don't make 'reality alignment' a possitive part of play - either the person wants to engage that or not. People who play sports often have to change their muscles and reflexes (usually we'd say they improve them) - those sports games don't try and make it a possitive part of play, they just require it. Step on up or don't. Same with having to change and align your sense of reality with the game, step on up to it or don't.

However, as I noted before, lingering on a failed alignment starts to say (then scream) some sort of simulationist primadonna-dom. Lingering there just seems to spotlight how the GM got his right to speak into the game world and you don't get any rights in that regard, or something yucky.

I'm thinking in a similar vein that if it takes too long to describe the overall challenge in a gamist game, ie describing all the fiddley (shared) imaged space bits, it begins to spotlight that description process.

So I'm not really answering how to make reality alignment attractive, but I am looking how it can appear to change into something non gamist and how to stop those spotlight issues.
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Philosopher Gamer
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OleOneEye
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« Reply #38 on: June 22, 2007, 07:09:06 PM »

One important point I haven't seen anyone mention is the difference between strategy and tactics.  As you point out, it is unlikely that a designer of a game will be unaware of the most successful strategies.  However, tactics can often be more fluid, and so, produce the challenge you seek.

On another note, ten minutes is quite a short period of time.  A gamer's game, if you will, requires a certain amount of time spent in thought.  Ten minutes does not leave much time for very many thought processes.  Thus, it sounds like a dangerous recipe to try to include both brevity in play time and depth in experience.
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