On 2009-04-27, Ben Lehman wrote:
So here's an interesting thing: the rules that link the interactions do not need to be mechanical. For instance, if we have a shared sense that the numbers of the game matter, it does not matter whether or not the system of our play provides a means for them to matter: we will bring it into our play regardless. This is how Amber works, sometimes: you're playing freeform, mostly, but Gerard is still stronger than Corwin.
Contrariwise, if we have a strong shared commitment to the fiction mattering for our rules play: if the fictional is compelling, in other words, the other arrow will necessarily be forced into existence. Ralph: my hunch is that this is why you had a good time with In A Wicked Age: Polaris uses a similar system but implicitly teaches you how to target things your fellow players care about in the fiction. I'm not surprised in the slightest that those skills are portable to In A Wicked Age wholesale: in fact, I'd go so far as to say playing In A Wicked Age after Polaris is a much better game that Polaris.
So here's an exercise from another game of mine. In Bliss Stage, if you're on a mission (in a dream world, fighting aliens), the game mechanics look like this:
If you're playing an interlude (in the real world, dealing with your relationships) the mechanics look like this:
Anyone playing along at home want to take a guess as to the outcome of this design choice in play? Or share their experience playing it?