thread: 2009-05-13 : Now where WAS I...

On 2009-05-14, Piers wrote:


Are you positing that there is a) no empirical difference, b) no logical difference, or c) the difference is dysfunctional at the game table.

Imagine a Universalis game with the following tenets:

i) Tenets can have exceptions associated with particular individuals.

ii) Coins associated with components cannot be used until three scenes after they are placed except with the permission of Gina Marie.

(I've never played, so interpret generously if I've got the language wrong.)

Is this game experienced differently?  Does it promote different outcomes?  What might you need to add to make the game socially functional?

Here's the deal: if you believe system matters—and I think it is pretty obvious from your arguments for a particular type of system that you do—you pretty much have to concede that these changes cause different game-play.  That game play may or may not be functional—the group may have to make up a series of formal or informal rules to make it "work"—but it will be different.

Vincent is arguing that there are a series of emergent properties that arise from this different configuration, properties that produce more careful attention to the fiction and and he is trying to explain why he thinks that happens. These properties may be a logical subset of the way fiction works in other games, they may produce dysfunctional play, but they will produce different play. The question is, how is that play different?

Old school GM centered play may be partially a game of mother may I, or please the GM, but it pays attention to the fiction in different ways.  The first wave of indie games attended to the first of these problems, and their solutions changed the second part of the game as well.  What was that part of the game?  What was valuable about it, and can we use it without falling into the old GM traps?  I think that's the question, here.

(Cross-posted with Vincent)


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