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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 76 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Drifting toward a better Sim  (Read 9760 times)
John Adams
Member

Posts: 90


« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2008, 07:58:34 AM »

Well let's break it down. At the highest level it's a simple as ...

1) Find out what the player cares about, which for this game is almost the same as what the PC wants.
2) Give it to them!

So I actively solicit input from my players and work it into the game. I also try to find out how they view the PC, what makes him unique and such so I can hit them with situations that challenge or illuminate that aspect of the PC. (Much like Ephriam and the healing.) Basically, communicate, is all.

If and how that gets worked in depends entirely on what it is and how well it fits into the Setting. We changed Mark's idea for Tusk a little before it was ready to play. So I don't have any structured, specific method for doing any of this.
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Caldis
Member

Posts: 359


« Reply #31 on: February 08, 2008, 05:58:43 PM »


John,

I think you pretty clearly laid it out in your point #1.  No resorting to social negotiation with the gm to get things to happen in the game.  I agree it's poison and whether you're playing sim, nar or gam it's a poor way to handle the whole RP experience.  I think any game that has one person act as guardian of all content in the game and the only person responsible for bringing content into the game is inherently weaker than a more collaborative version.

I'm not saying that you have to change the way you play and use funky new mechanics that force your players to list off conflicts before the game starts, or that they have to break out of the SIS to talk about where they want the game to move next.  What is necessary is for the gm and players to both be bringing content into the game.  If the GM is the gatekeeper he has to be freely letting the players input into the game and then using that to create reactions in the game.




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anansi
Member

Posts: 8


« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2008, 06:01:05 PM »

Ok, so I know this conversation pretty much stopped at the beginning of the month, but I've been reading it as reference for prepping my own game, and its been a huge help for me. I'm in a very similar situation, with a simulation game and system, and trying to mod all the ideas of the game into a more indie narrative style.

My experience in the past with indie games has been awesome! Particularly Burning Wheel, which is pretty popular. But... taking the ideas from those narrative games and meshing them together with a simulationist game takes some finesse.

A good way my group has found? Take the part from Burning Wheel that is the most helpful with making plot that players care about - Beliefs and Instincts - and make all your players make them for their characters. This creates player driven conflicts automatically. I think if you were to look at this game, and how it functions, it would help alot of the issues you seem to be having with your own game. Heh, no I don't work for BW, I just think they're hot stuff.

Thanks for posting all these great thoughts, though, John. You've really helped me think about conflict in my game. I have the same loving respect for Dogs in the Vinyard that you do as well, and I keep wanting to insert those ideas... which I think are totally cool. Dave, your little writeup on prep work was really helpful too, I'm using alot of it now in my session creation. If you want to follow my developing game, go to http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?p=8391803. We've only had one session so far, and one of my players dug it so much she posted it on RPGnet. Which caused much blushing on my part. There's not much technical gaming jargon in the writeup since the player wrote it, but its a colorful summary and maybe you'd dig that.

Kira
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John Adams
Member

Posts: 90


« Reply #33 on: February 26, 2008, 06:59:00 AM »

Thanks Kira, and thanks to everyone who took time to post. I wish I could post a happy "everything's rocking!" update, but we're not so lucky.

Long story short, this thread and the last 2 months of gaming helped me come to an important self-realization: I really, REALLY want to play Nar. I gave my current game a long hard look and decided that even with a more fun, functional system I just wouldn't enjoy the same old Sim. That's not fair to my players, so it's either jump into full-fledged Nar (in the same or a new game) or break up the group. Unfortunately, this brought us right into CA clash and I finally found out where my players really stand. Some of them had been playing along with "all this new stuff" but they really weren't having fun.

1) Here's what CA clash looks like from someone who doesn't use Big Model terms: "I don't know what this is, but it's NOT ROLE-PLAYING."

2) Understanding the Big Model helped me diffuse the situation so it never got ugly. You like chocolate, I want vanilla, no right or wrong here, just different goals.

3) Drifting would have been fine, and frankly the game would be rockin' if the group could agree on a Nar CA. I suspect the same "Nar" techniques I wanted to use to enhance Sim would sabotage the Sim CA, at least that's the feedback I got from some of my Sim players. I need to talk to them about it and figure out what in particular rankled. The main culprit might have been FiTM of all things, which would be very specific to these players. I'm sure lots of Sim folks enjoy FiTM.

4) We have serious logistical challenges ahead too. Our host is moving another 30 minutes away from me and I already drive an hour to this game, so we'd need a new meeting place. That's proving to be difficult. Real Life.


My group hashing this out tonight so I'll have another post soon with the final fallout.

Good luck with your group Kira! I'm glad you're all on the same CA page, looks like you have hella good fun ahead.


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Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #34 on: March 01, 2008, 05:32:19 PM »

i]too much<anything<it's belief systems.  Many of our own problems stem from culture clash and believe me it is a very rich vein to mine.  You commented that you were having problems getting the players to be proactive in the game part of the problem I strongly believe is that the players are not interacting with or investing in their characters precisely because they lack the social cultural details that make the characters rich entities one can empathize with and build upon.

While you finally understand what it is you are looking for from play, maybe the above will better help you understand what your Sim oriented players are looking for from play.

Best of luck!

too muanything<it's belief systems.  Many of our own problems stem from culture clash and believe me it is a very rich vein to mine.  You commented that you were having problems getting the players to be proactive in the game part of the problem I strongly believe is that the players are not interacting with or investing in their characters precisely because they lack the social cultural details that make the characters rich entities one can empathize with and build upon.

While you finally understand what it is you are looking for from play, maybe the above will better help you understand what your Sim oriented players are looking for from play.

Best of luck!

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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
John Adams
Member

Posts: 90


« Reply #35 on: March 02, 2008, 10:25:03 AM »

Wow! Jay ... thank you for your interest and your cogent reply.

My group's play consistently tried (and miserably failed) to support all 3 CA's without recognising them as such. Because we're good friends it seldom got to the level of full-blown CA conflict; I think each of us gave up on individual CA's somewhere along the way. We figured, "heck, what I want would be great fun, but it just isn't possible" or "we almost got it that time! Let's try it just one more time ..." but without the Big Model our chances or realizing any CA were almost nil. So I agree we've never seen the Sim CA firing on all cylinders. We've come close to a CA every now and then, but never for a full reward cycle.

I can see pretty clearly now how my desire for Nar guided this last campaign especially. Unfortunately, when I started I didn't have the tools to actually get there. I've been trying to run "the GM's story" for decades and it has never really worked, so my motivation to run or play in a successful Nar game is very high.

But I also have a strong Sim impulse. I put bathrooms in my dungeons for Pete's sake! I do enjoy deep-diving into the history and culture of the world and letting that drive play. We had that in this game too, but it wasn't The Priority of play. All of the characters were tied into the fabric of the world and of their culture, they just weren't tied to each other or the "GM plot".

Someday I will have scratched my Nar itch and I'll want to go back to do some Sim; when I do I hope there is a system (or I'll write one) which focuses and drives Sim play as well as DitV drives and focuses Nar play. I disagree that "mechanics that 'control' or 'drive' play are anathema to Sim", or rather I don't see why that must be so. The designer needs to be very careful answering the question "what are you simulating?" and hammer that answer home. It's OK to have 170 pages simulating medieval combat if that's what your game is about but to use such a system for any other purpose would be madness. I freely claim ignorance here, maybe you're right but I see it as more of a "here's why we mostly ignore the rules, historically" than "this is a necessary feature of Sim." It seems to me many designers are looking at Sim now, so maybe 2008-2009 will see some amazing new Sim designs. Surely there's lots of new ground to break.
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Silmenume
Member

Posts: 467


« Reply #36 on: March 03, 2008, 04:52:59 AM »

u][i]doing[/i][/u].

Having Here is a link to a post I made about 3(!) years ago with a whole bunch of links in it that you might find relevantdoingHere is a link to a post I made about 3(!) years ago with a whole bunch of links in it that you might find relevant.
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Aure Entuluva - Day shall come again.

Jay
John Adams
Member

Posts: 90


« Reply #37 on: March 03, 2008, 08:46:06 AM »

That's a long post Jay, but I think this will answer most of it: over the last year and a half I worked in 2 sessions of Capes and a roll-up session of Dogs with the initiations. There was a strong visceral response from some of my players and they weren't shy about telling me. Not fun for them. OK then, moving on.

So I'm going to put together a new game of Dogs, network with some new players and hopefully get in on a variety of Nar games. Maybe then I'll think about some Sim.
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David Berg
Member

Posts: 612


« Reply #38 on: March 03, 2008, 10:08:45 PM »

Hi John,
In case you ever decide to throw a different Nar wrinkle at your old play group, I just wanted to mention that the first Nar game that "clicked" for me was PTA.  I could customize it to taste, whereas Dogs is very much a certain thing, and isn't my personal cup of tea.
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here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development
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