thread: 2012-06-11 : Ask a Frequent Question

On 2012-07-15, Moreno wrote:

Hi Vincent!!

I can't help but notice a little contradiction in that sentiment.

I think that everyone here thinks that a game manual should explain how to play the game. Not saying only things like "a sword do 1d6 damage" but, much more important, explaining what the players should do in the game, how it's played, what's the point, etc.  And I think everybody would agree that you can't do that talking only about the Color of the game ("this is a game set in the Firefly universe". It doesn't tell what the players should do, apart from looking at the pretty pictures)

So, at some point, a good game manual should say something like "you objective, in this game, is to survive the ghost's attacks and flee the factory" or "your objective is not to win, there are no winners in this game, your objective is to tell a good story" (this last formulation is very lame, but I noticed that to express well a story now agenda in practical terms you need to say it in the way you write the entire manual, one paragraphs is not enough)

In practical terms, this isn't a clear declaration of the game's Creative Agenda, only using common language without jargon?

So, you need to tell that to the players. The game manual is written in a language that has to be understood by someone who would not know even what a Creative Agenda is, OK. But when you talk to someone who does know what they are...  isn't using that jargon the most effective way to tell a potential player what's the game is about? (not ONLY that, obviously. In the case of the murderous ghost you need to talk about the ghost, too).

So, in that environment, avoiding that terminology doesn't mean confusing the communication of "what you do in the game"? (look for example the confusion above about what you do in Murderous Ghost, considered a Story Now game).
I am noticing this miscommunication, more and more, under the guise of a desire to "avoid confusing language". Even when doing that it's more confusing that using that language?

(I am not talking about using only the Creative Agenda NAMES: the confusion surrounding what they really mean is enormous and widespread. I am talking about a short description that clearly indicate the game's creative agenda, though.)

And I contend that that information is important to get an idea of what a game is about. It's NOT superfluous information: thinking about Murderous Ghost, with all the color of the game exactly the same, it would be a very different game if there was no step-on-up and the survival (or Death) were to be assured, and the game was about creating the Ghost's past. Such information is important even before buying the game.


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