On 2008-04-14, Marshall wrote:
My main point was that underlying both good improv and good roleplaying is a functional set of rules (the function itself is quite different between the two, of course). I was going to say "a formalized, functional set of rules" but you're right, they're not necessarily formalized. Ours weren't formalized until a guy from Canada took us under his wing. Before that, we were good but extremely inconsistent; formalized rules made us consistent. We were already good, now we were consistently good.
But, you're right, "consistently good" can be achieved with informal rules. But you mention that your troupe was all people who had acted before. Problem is, what if you try to do the same thing with a different set of people? I think that's where formal rules become really important. I'm thinking now that that's the main issue: portability, and the ability to inform Social Contract and mandate Techniques.
Someone who invents a game can probably play that game with their group to their heart's content without ever writing down a rule, if the group is intimate enough. To ensure that other people can play the same game and have the same fun, he'll have to formalize those rules.