thread: 2010-02-23 : Can your brains just do it?

On 2010-02-23, Josh W wrote:

Vincent talked a bit about this on comment 17 to the full rules, and I'll try to explain why that is important:

Roger mentioned that strong AI would be required to resolve this, and technically that's not true; (relatively) simple pattern matching AI could do it IF it was working with situations that the programmer was familiar with. In other words those arbitrations would be made according to a standard pattern matching formula that gave them their in-game significance.

This is exactly what many rules systems provide, a ready made heirachy of significance, importance, effect on plot etc. In fact, loads of guys design games because they want to swap out the existing "what is important and how important is it" schema and put in their own. And then put in different mechanics in order to make it "look different", hiding the fact that their really just wanting to say

"Hey guys, lets play D&D in my world today, where a knife is more dangerous than a broadsword".

An alternative to this is to have players explicitly make such a heirachy, and then force themselves to be consistent: If in Jame's world knives are more important than broadswords, then they should be more important in a specific way he doesn't go back on.

(For importance/dangerousness etc, you could fit a whole host of different factors like flexibility or speed or appropriateness or whatever else people are trying to rank)

In other words, you could pull the geek-wrangling out of the general form of the system and put it up in front of the players, so they agree to play in one guys world with it's own rules, and play by their own arbitrations in their own game. They can then pragmatically show that their way leads to more fun games for the group, or not, without having to reinvent hitpoints every few weeks in order to justify it.

On the other hand, doing that seriously leads you on the path to reproducing something like universalis, with all the advantages and disadvantages that entails.


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