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

On 2009-05-14, Paul T. wrote:

Would it be correct to say that this all boils down to "whatever is important is what people will pay attention to?"

For instance, imagine that, at a certain point, in that hypothetical Universalis game, no one is allowed to create any more facts or traits (I forget the actual term from the rules). Now the ONLY way you can get a bonus is to reference previously named traits, like those "fast engines".

In that game, it would be very understandable if play centered heavily around the previously named traits (those "fast engines" are really important now, aren't they?). Does the crew of the ship hire a mechanic to tune up those engines when they stop to refuel? We don't really care; we can skip over those details.

However, in the presence of rules that reference the fiction that lies outside the scope of those resources, it would be more likely that the players will pay more attention to other parts of the fiction.

If there is a rule that says, "if your ship has been serviced by a mechanic more recently than your opponent's, you get a +1", then whether or not the crew hired that mechanic while in port becomes an important detail to establish in play.

In the hypothetical "old-school dungeon crawl" game, where anything in the fiction could grant you a bonus, players tend to establish as many details about the fiction as possible ("Wait! As I walk down the corridor, I'm leading with my left foot. Remember, that boot doesn't have a hole in it...").

It has nothing to do with a GM or when something was established, but simply with the fact that some human entity is judging the state of the fiction to create adjustments to the mechanics in play. (This can introduce a lot of fiat into the outcome, yes.)

Vincent, have I hopelessly over-simplified your argument to the point of missing its value? Or is that on?

(By comparison, in Universalis, the players establish what's meaningful in the fiction and what isn't with their Coins. There's no need for interpretation, so no real need to deal with subtle details of the fiction—if I only care about the outcome of a spaceship race, I can pretty much stop listening to the narration until my opponent plonks down a Coin for something.)


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