thread: 2009-04-27 : Dice & Cloud: a Symmetry

On 2009-04-27, Marco wrote:

"If the minute details of your game's fiction don't contribute meaningfully to your play, then even if you're a stickler, over time you're going to let those minute details fall away. Where your character's standing, what he's doing with his hands, how his eyes move when she comes around the stone fence, whether clouds pass in front of the sun or it glares down unmitigated - these things come to be like the character sheet that you leave in a binder in the drawer."

There is something complex and profound here and I'm not sure we'd agree on what it is (alas). I think that there is a shifting dynamic of play wherein things become important in some cases and not in others. For example, where "I am standing" when we are all by the bus-stop planning how we're going to jump the enemy martial arts school may not matter too much.

Where "I am standing" when my NPC girl-friend tells another PC she's actually in love with him and I can maybe be seen (in which case she says it in front of my face) and maybe can't—in which case she doesn't—could mean a lot.

I've never felt that combat was detailed in traditional games because they were "about combat." I felt it was detailed because detailed combat is exciting (in a visceral immediate sense) and exciting (in that same sense) things in the games often have detail (see the car chase rules in James Bond).

Anyway, the ability of the game's imaginary narrative to bear mechanically on the situation is key to my enjoyment of gaming.



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