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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: Kill Power 19  (Read 20110 times)
Andy Kitkowski
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Posts: 827

I LIKE GAMES


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« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2009, 10:14:14 AM »

What I've noticed was that a lot of folks used the Power 19 to talk about their own games in kind of a promotional way. Like, "My game is pretty much done, and I want to tell you about it"... and then use the Power 19, which basically is a wall of "DR;TL" text. I wanted to back up a step, give folks who have their game done or mostly done a way to talk all Hippy-Like about what their game is and why it's cool, and actually engage the reader. Give them a hook, something more to do than read a wall of text. My solution was the "Narcissistic Self-Interview 20":

http://www.story-games.com/forums/comments.php?DiscussionID=5841

In truth, it's probably just another wall of text. But it's a wall of text that recognizes, and in the end engages the reader. So you can still wank on about your game, and give the reader something more to think about. As well as making the questions more directed as if they were about to play the game, not reading a design document.

Aaaanyway.
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The Story Games Community - It's like RPGNet for small press games and new play styles.
mjbauer
Member

Posts: 115


« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2009, 05:05:05 PM »

What I've noticed was that a lot of folks used the Power 19 to talk about their own games in kind of a promotional way. Like, "My game is pretty much done, and I want to tell you about it"... and then use the Power 19, which basically is a wall of "DR;TL" text. I wanted to back up a step, give folks who have their game done or mostly done a way to talk all Hippy-Like about what their game is and why it's cool, and actually engage the reader. Give them a hook, something more to do than read a wall of text. My solution was the "Narcissistic Self-Interview 20":

http://www.story-games.com/forums/comments.php?DiscussionID=5841

In truth, it's probably just another wall of text. But it's a wall of text that recognizes, and in the end engages the reader. So you can still wank on about your game, and give the reader something more to think about. As well as making the questions more directed as if they were about to play the game, not reading a design document.

Aaaanyway.

That's hilarious (and appropriate).
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mjbauer = Micah J Bauer
sockmonkey
Member

Posts: 16


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« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2009, 06:24:34 AM »

**Re-posted in the proper thread. Sorry for the confusion.**

LOL  Oh man!

Luke, the sentiments in your first post here are precisely why I was asking if I should post a Power 19. Are you coming to Gen Con? I'd love to shake your hand for this. Smiley
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Wordman
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Posts: 77


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« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2009, 09:39:18 AM »

After decades of roleplaying (I started in the late 1970s), knowledge of sites like this one, the power 19, the "big three" and so on has only reached me recently, long after it was new and shiny. As such, I only really have one observation to share, mostly regarding the "what is your game about" question...

In reading about this question, the vast majority of text dedicated to discussing it on the internet at large seems to be about how to answer it "correctly" with a lot of gnashing of teeth about how people go about answering it badly. As a newcomer, the opinion I therefore formed almost immediately was "if you have to explain the 'proper' way to answer a question, then your question sucks".

Or, perhaps another way to put it: if answers to your simple, catchy question are not providing the information you are seeking, then your simple, catchy question is probably not really asking what you think it is asking, and you need a better question.

(I could go on a bit about how the "you're answering it wrong" vibe coming from a number of different directions on the net seems to me like it narrowed the focus of game design unnecessarily for a while, but I'll leave that for another time.)
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What I think about. What I make.
Luke
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Posts: 1359

Conventions Forum Moderator, First Thoughts Pest


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« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2009, 09:24:21 PM »

Oh Wordman, you're missing the point. The idea behind the "what is your game about?" question is to start a discussion that productively focuses on important things like design goals, premise and themes while stripping away the wrong-headed assumptions, like your game is about survival, having fun or it's not about anything.
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Thor Olavsrud
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Posts: 349


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« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2009, 10:55:40 AM »

There's always the "Big Three", I think it was called, which was the proto-form of the Power 19. The Big Three is simply the first three questions. It predated the Power 19, and someone thought it didn't go far enough in helping you think about your design process. Perhaps for the purposes of kickstarting your discussions in First Thoughts, the Big Three would be much better suited.

The first three questions of the Power 19 are not the Big Three. The Big Three are part of a process of generating a dialogue about a game idea and helping the game designer really zero in on what he's trying to achieve. They're not a form to fill out, just a place to start a conversation.

Luke and Jared run panels every year at Gen Con (and many other cons they attend) in which they use the process to great effect. It's always illuminating, and well worth checking out if you're going to be at Gen Con this year.

The Power 19 is really a mutant take on the Big Three that misses the point.
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Wordman
Member

Posts: 77


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« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2009, 03:56:35 PM »

Oh Wordman, you're missing the point. The idea behind the "what is your game about?" question is to start a discussion that productively focuses on important things like design goals, premise and themes while stripping away the wrong-headed assumptions, like your game is about survival, having fun or it's not about anything.
And I think you are missing my point. "The idea behind" the question may very well be what you say, and that idea may be very useful. But that idea is not conveyed by the question. Find a better one.
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What I think about. What I make.
Noclue
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2009, 05:26:43 PM »

It's not a question. It's a conversation.
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James R.
Luke
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Posts: 1359

Conventions Forum Moderator, First Thoughts Pest


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« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2009, 08:26:25 PM »

And I think you are missing my point. "The idea behind" the question may very well be what you say, and that idea may be very useful. But that idea is not conveyed by the question. Find a better one.

I appreciate that you don't get anything out of the question. But I promise you that if you attended one of our seminars, I would ask you this question and, from that start, as No Clue pointed out, we would have a productive conversation about the concepts of roleplaying game design.

-Luke
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Wordman
Member

Posts: 77


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« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2009, 05:20:14 PM »

Do you have transcripts of such conversations? In particular those that begin with you asking the question and someone answering it "wrong".

I suspect that, in such cases, after these two utterances occur, you start asking real questions about what you are interested in, and the discussion goes from there. That is, I suspect that if you eliminated these first two lines from the transcript (i.e. the question and the "wrong" answer) that absolutely nothing, zero, would be lost from the conversation.
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What I think about. What I make.
Luke
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Posts: 1359

Conventions Forum Moderator, First Thoughts Pest


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« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2009, 05:30:46 PM »

Transcipts!

Classic Internet demand for "evidence."


Anyway, you may suspect all you'd like. My methods may not be perfect, but I have far more profitable conversations than not.

If you're interested in seeing how the process works, follow some of the threads I participate in.
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Noclue
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2009, 07:06:19 PM »

And perhaps google "Socratic Method"
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James R.
Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1962


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« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2009, 07:20:01 PM »

Interesting. I'd not really thought of it that way. Recently, I was making the same gripe about this question.

It's quite possible that the point of the phrasing is to get you to answer that "wrong" answer.. So you can get it out of the way. You have to know that your first answer isn't sufficient to get at the core of your own game. I've tried to answer that question many times over the years for my various projects, and I'd like to say that I've gotten okay at getting at the heart of things. I've never had one of these discussions that Luke mentions as so productive (with him, I mean), but I've spent the last decade or so refining my understanding of this question. With three games in my design rotation, I think I can state with some authority that your first answer to this question will never actually be 100% right. The more you discuss it, the closer your first answer will become for future endeavors, though.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Wordman
Member

Posts: 77


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« Reply #28 on: July 26, 2009, 03:52:18 PM »

It appears that most of the disagreement with what I am saying can be summarized in a shorthand by the following statement:

It's not a question. It's a conversation.

This statement has two problems:

  • It's considered totally true and useful only to those who already know what they are talking about.
  • When applied to those who really need to understand it (i.e. those that don't know what they are talking about), the statement is completely false. To such a person, the presentation is such that it is just a question and not a conversation at all.

In other words, it is the type of wisdom that only makes sense fairly far along on the journey, which would be fine, except that it is presented as if it is the very start of wisdom. If it is "the conversation" that is important, then talk about the conversation; don't wrap it up as if the question is what matters.

Maybe I'm missing the point of this thread. It sounded to me like the point is to destroy the Power 19. I'm all for it. But, if that is the intent, then don't do it half-assed. Start with #1. Sacrifice the sacred cow, because it really doesn't do what you think it does. (Or, perhaps more precisely, it generates more in collateral confusion than you think it does.)

I completely believe that the conversations you talk about having are very illuminating in learning how to design the type of games that Forge theory likes to see designed. But, that being the case, beginners would be better served if you just started talking about the conversation directly, instead of hiding it behind a checklist or "catch phrase-like" questions, at least when not face-to-face.

In other words, if the truth is that "It's not a question. It's a conversation.", then just have the conversation. Leave the question at the door.

(And, for the record, I fully understand the Socratic method. What I am saying here is that, while I grant that it is probably useful in the types of presentations Luke is talking about, it is a total hindrance when used in "checklist" sort of way such as the Big Three or the Power 19. The Socratic method really only works when interactivity is rapid, such as in the presentations Luke mentions. It's possible to use it in an internet forum, but is a lot harder, and very few people can do it well in that venue (or any venue, really). My personal experience is that it also often works to cross purposes when only one side of the discussion knows it is being employed, as seems to be trendy in some places on the net these days. When dealing with things like the Big Three or Power 19, it fails because the answers are usually built in the bottle of someone's mind and only revealed in a way that doesn't support the method well. One more reason to destroy them.)
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What I think about. What I make.
Noclue
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #29 on: July 26, 2009, 04:06:06 PM »

Well, I can agree with some of that. The Big Three is a teaching tool, not a game design checklist. I'm with you there. As a teaching tool, Luke and Jared have found it useful in presentations and, I presume, in forums like this one as well. The point of a question like this is to illicit a response from the game designer that will guide the conversation towards what the designer needs, rather than just instructing them on game design theories that may or may not resonate with them. If you ask "what's your game about?" and they go, "Well, its about hard choices and the consequences that come from following one's beliefs despite the odds," you know your having a different conversation from the guy that says "It's about survival" or "It's like D&D only I use a streamlined combat system based on the d100."
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James R.
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