thread: 2009-12-18 : Seed content

On 2009-12-23, Robert Bohl wrote:

I think the trick here is that if the game is going to be any good and not rely on the vague alchemy of interpersonal reactions churning out a good session and good initiating situation, the game really really needs to give reliably good seed content. 'Cause, like, system matters, right? So collaborative-creation parts, their systems matter too. If they don't provide the players with specific-enough feedback to make things up, and if the designer cannot design to what their actual play will be like as a result, you have a serious, significant challenge.

E.g., if the seed content pushes you toward playing a motorcycle gang and the designer hates motorcycles and travel and designed a system where travel sucks and doesn't work right, and I know of at least one specific case where this happens, you have a serious, significant challenge.

But it's not a game-killer. It's "just" a serious, significant challenge. If you structure your seeds such that they push people to the kind of play you are able to design to, and if your rules and mechanics are concrete, specific, and fiction-aware, then you have a chance.

To me, wide-open collaborative creation (with good structure to it) is just privileging group buy-in and investment over in-session smoothness. The trick is not to let that privileging explode into an awful play experience.

No, the trick is to maintain that emphasis on buy-in while making sure in-session play can be fun all the time for the largest set of players you're designing for.


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