On 2009-04-28, Moreno R. wrote:
I love the writing in 3:16, too. It's for this reason that I was so frustrated when it didn't work for us.
What happened was that.. I don't know if I can explain it well enough in English... but narrating something to get the +1 for the next roll didn't feel like what we were narrating made any difference. Narrate SOMETHING, get the +1, roll, get from the game the number of kills, narrate how you kill them... it made no difference whatsoever what you narrated to get the +1 and how you killed the aliens. After a while we simply stopped the narration and used the numbers alone.
In DitV when I narrate something, the other players can build on it to make other raises or see. (once, at a convention demo with a player who had never played dog before, the player did choose to describe a fallout of 12 after debating with a possessed person as having broken his hand hitting it hard on the table to make a point. Then, I asked him if he wanted to wait for the doctor before making his next action or if simply had the hand bandaged by his friend right there. He asked me "what difference it make? It's not like I lost hit points...", and I answered "but you are leaving yourself right open to this possible future raise: "your hand was not bandaged well enough, and so..."
It's this "building on the narration", this perception that what you narrate MATTERS, that I felt missing from 3:16 and Contenders.
It's not the fiction. The fiction still stands. You narrate _something_ or not, but even if you play it like a boardgame, it produce fiction. What it doesn't produce it's a "real" vibrant, dramatic Shared Imagined Space of "what it's happening right now to us". In IAWA, for example, during the conflict what we narrated was very, very important, and we cared about it a lot: but it was detached from a sense of "what it's happening right now to us" so it tended to go over-the-top and was subjected to senseless escalations ("I cut your hand" "I cut you leg" etc.)
@Gregor: I tried very hard to not make what I write about these games seems like a "there are bad games". What I wanted to say was instead that these games didn't work for us because they lack a feature that we need to play. They didn't work FOR US, But I know that they work very well for a lot of people that don't need that feature. I am sorry if I was not able to convey that and it came out like I was saying that these games are "bad" (that it would be the same as saying that every game in the universe should be done following my own tastes and desires, and that would be silly)
I know why Ron Edwards did choose them for the Ronnies: he did wrote rather extensively about both games, both at the time of the Ronnies and at the time of publication, and many times about his actual plays after that. And I did read them all before playing them (I have found very useful, usually, to read what Ron say about a game before trying it, it's very rare not finding some very useful observation or advice in his actual plays). It's the fact that in all these threads he never cite this specific aspects of both games that make me think that it was somewhat "normal" at the time. Even the way Vincent talked about "leading with the fiction" in past blog posts make me think that, for a time, in Indiegamesland was considered normal having the fiction subservient to a boardgame-like interaction between players and cues. I was simply curios about why and when this happened, seeing that this isn't true for many indie games before and after. But it's only a curiosity of mine, and it's tangential at best in this discussion.