thread: 2014-07-15 : Procedure, Components, Object, Strategy, Style

On 2014-07-15, Tim C Koppang wrote:

Vincent, first of all, please take what I'm saying in the spirit of honest inquiry. I'm sure you will. I just wanted to make that clear, however, because I know my written tone can sometimes come off as curt.

First, I was talking about players, not designers. I.e. the way we as designers define and present our games to players affects their first experience with the activity of roleplaying. If we as designers try to position some of our games as things that are very close to board or card games, then I think it's a poor marketing choice. To many (most?) board gamers trying RPGs for the first time, it's not necessarily an easy transition. I speak from experience. That's not to say that they (board gamers) can't play RPGs, or that they will have a difficult time playing them well. It's just that it may help for some players trying out some games to think of the activity differently—i.e., an activity that isn't fundamentally wrapped up in the idea of winning, losing, maximizing strategy, etc.

Second point: yes, I'm saying that your statement about an object being required, but not in all cases, is causing me confusion. I'm not arguing with you here, though. I'm just asking for clarification. A game either requires an object or it doesn't, right? If it's the latter, and I'm simply mis-reading you, then that's on me. I can live with that.

Finally, yes, I'm saying that I think it might be useful for some RPG designers to think of their "games" as something different than "games" in the sense of a traditional board or card game. I'm not saying that all RPG designer should do this, or that there isn't plenty that we can all learn from board and card games. However, I do think that many RPGs, especially the ones that I personally enjoy playing, approach design from a different perspective with different priorities. I own and enjoy many board games. I attend a weekly board game group. I also own and enjoy countless RPGs. In my experience, there is some crossover, but not necessarily as much as you seem to be claiming.

I hope we can talk about this. I'm very interested in the topic—not in the sense of "we need to define what a game is" type of BS, but rather in the sense of: the way we approach design and marketing can have a fundamental effect on how these things we call games are experienced, played, and enjoyed.


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