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Author Topic: "Should I apply GNS?" Decision tree  (Read 2086 times)
Gordon C. Landis

Posts: 1024

I am Custom-Built Games

« on: December 07, 2001, 12:12:00 AM »

Inpired by the Mads Jakobsen Gamism thread, the "What Style" thread, and the RPG.net . . . thing.

1-Are you having a problem with your RPG play/design?  If NO, do not, under any circumstances, apply GNS.  It probably won't help, and may well hurt.  If YES, procede to

2-Consider the problem - does it seem to be realted to the GOALS of your RPG play/design?  E.g., is your design not supporting the kind of play you'd like to see, or is there conflict in your play group over the way games are "supposed" to work?  If NO - again, it is unlikely GNS can help you.  Look into interpersonal issues with your cohorts, or fundamental design flaws in your game.  If YES, then

3-Understand GNS.  Suspend your doubts for a while, and just make sure you comprehend what is meant by G, and N, and S.  Can you see your issues in that context?
If NO, you're free to take GNS and try altering it so that it will fit your issue.  I (and I'll be bold enough to say other Forge folks as well) will be interested in seeing what you come up with.  Don't be surprised, though, if the Forge folks try and alter your solution back into the GNS mould - they may even sucede (at least, to their satisfaction).  And if they don't, GNS itself may alter as a consequence - that's not a bad thing.

Or ignore GNS and EXIT this decision process.

If YES, then put GNS to use in the context of your problem.  See what happens, but do give it time - there may be some rough spots before the application of GNS begins to "take" and positive effects can be seen.  Please, the Forge (again, I say presumptively and with only the authority of a regular-old member) would love to hear about your experience, and if any additional issues crop up . . .


Partially a joke, but partially . . . this removes GNS from the "theory of everything" category (which it may or may not be well suited for) and makes it a tool to use.  My practical side says that'll be a better place for it, even as my inner geek/theory wonk mourns the passing of yet another universally applicable and less-complicated-than-messy-reality Principle.


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