thread: 2010-01-12 : Something Ben Said

On 2010-01-13, Vincent wrote:

Seed context! Here's something I said at the Forge the other day:

When you design a game, you design it for a certain particular social context (Ben Lehman's term), inevitably. You have a choice:

1. Leave your intended social context implicit, and hope or expect that the people who pick your game up will already have the social context you've designed for. "Hope and expect" means marketing, or luck, or fat chance, depending on how savvy you are and how common your intended social context is in the wild.

Funny story! Someone once wondered whether I'd ever played my game Poison'd with women in the group (because of shocking subject matter delicate sensibilities something something, I guess). I was quite taken aback - it plain hadn't occurred to me that anyone might play the game in a men-only group. I mean, bleh, what would be the point of that?

2. State your intended social context upfront and leave it up to the eventual players to create that social context for themselves. For instance, In a Wicked Age tells you to have hot friends who can and will commit, sight unseen, to an ongoing game, but it doesn't tell you how to make such friends.

3. Include rules in your game that create the social context you've designed for. This can include rules that reach right straight into the eventual players' purely social interactions, like Polaris' candle ritual.

I don't think it's worthwhile to classify Primetime Adventures' TV thing as 1, 2 or 3, of course. It might be worthwhile to notice where it's 1, where it's 2, and where it's 3, though.


This makes...
short response
optional explanation (be brief!):

if you're human, not a spambot, type "human":