2005-05-06 : Iron Game Chef Returns!

THE GAME-CHEF CHALLENGE is back! This is the innovation powerhouse that brought us Polaris and The Mountain Witch. This is the living breathing bloody moment of theory into practice.

I want to figure out how to mobilize in its support.

So first: who's thinking of participating? I am, who else?

(This isn't a commitment. When they announce the theme ingredients, some of us will drop out uninspired and others of us will jump in, surprised. That's how it always is.)

Second: if you're thinking of participating, are there any quick, dirty and above all practical topics you want me to hit before the contest? We have two weeks.

1. On 2005-05-06, Ben Lehman said:

What elements are required for a role-playing text to be considered complete?



2. On 2005-05-06, Ninja Hunter J said:

I'm in. I also need to know the answer to Ben's question.


3. On 2005-05-06, Andy said:

When they announce the theme ingredients, some of us will drop out uninspired and others of us will jump in, surprised.
Let me put it this way- I've been working on some ingredients now that I think that, particularly, readers of this blog will find extremely interesting. Yes, that's a hint.  No, you'll probably never guess it (the main one, that is).

And to be a "complete" text... do you mean "in general", or "for the purposes of the Game Chef Contest"?  If the latter, then "complete enough that you think you could show it to one of us, who would flip through it and go, "Yep, this is definitely a Role-Playing Game".



4. On 2005-05-06, Ninja Hunter J said:

Where will this stuff be posted?


5. On 2005-05-06, Vincent said:

6. On 2005-05-06, Emily Care said:

The site looks great, Andy. I'm psyched to see what'll be cooking!  It will be good to open it to a wider audience: both participating & viewing. Being able to have many threads will help us follow individual games, I expect. I'll have to see if the muse strikes when the curtain goes up, to tell which side of the fence I'll be on, but I'll be sure to in the ring one way or the other.

J: Check the link. Once through the contest, it's up to you to bring it into reality—but there's been talk in the past about putting them out as something like the successful No Press Anthology.

Anywaywise: I'd love to have us talk about how to put that good old A+B+C into action via mechanics. Or appropriate challenge for those otherwisely inclined....

And also, to talk about transforming what you love about a game concept into rules that help bring that into play.


7. On 2005-05-06, Eric Finley said:

Heck, yeah.  Although having been introduced to the IGC concept at Origins, a week feels incredibly strange.  At Origins you got two hours to play with.  And they hassled you with interviews throughout even that.  The manly man's IGC. (Grin.)

I'm with Emily on how to embed those dynamic situations and the rest of that essay, directly into the mechanical level (where they belong!).


8. On 2005-05-06, Judd said:

It should be perfect timing for me.

I'm looking forward to participating should the muse whisper sweet, sweet words to me.  And if no muse, SWEAT and BLOOD!

I feel like this is the arming of the hero scene before going into battle.


9. On 2005-05-06, Ben Lehman said:

I'm already making plans.  I have these little subsystems in my head, which I'm consciously not patching together into anything real, idea being I can use what I need for the IGC design.  Clever, eh?



10. On 2005-05-06, ethan_greer said:

Yeah, I'm planning on giving it a whirl. Kudos to Mr. K for doing stuff, like he does.


11. On 2005-05-07, timfire said:

I... might... be in. I have alot going on right now. I'm not sure I dedicate a week to the IGC like I did last year. But we'll see. I'm really curious what the ingredients will be.



12. On 2005-05-07, Albert said:

I'd like to participate, but I'm not sure I will. My Kabuki larp hits on either the Friday or Saturday of the opening weekend, so I might be burnt out on game writing for a while, or just in need of time to catch up on school and such.


13. On 2005-05-07, C. Edwards said:

My participation depends entirely on how inspirational I find the ingredients to be. If they don't cause a little cluster bomb of creative fire to go off in my brain then there's no game.


14. On 2005-05-07, Valamir said:

Allez Cuisine!

Could I give a tantalizing hint of the delightful delicacies that will dance across the tastebuds of your creativity?

I think I might...

Then, I think not.


15. On 2005-05-08, Dave Ramsden said:

Assuming I get any inspiration whatsoever from the ingredients, I'm in.  It'll be a useful way to force myself to organize all the fragments of design in my head, at least.


16. On 2005-05-09, Tobias said:

Depends on the list of ingredients, but first thought in my head was "finally!". So very likely I'm in.


17. On 2005-05-09, Jasper Polane said:

Mmmmmmaybe... Like everybody says, depends on the ingredients.


18. On 2005-05-09, Emily Care said:

...depends on the ingredients..."

Oh, we all know it will be tasty & good! But Ralph—you tease!


19. On 2005-05-09, anon. said:

The ingredients are There. They are not "Maybes".

They are not to inspire, they are there to be obstacles; to constrict, to obstruct, to obfuscate, confuse, belittle, and taunt.

The point of the IGC contest is to know this, and overcome those obstacles.

So, if you want to be in, you should plan to be in All The Way.  Even if we shack you up with:
Genre: Romance RPG
Ingredients: Dog shit, gingerbread men, Tunisia
Limitations: Resolution mechanic must involve interpretive dance

...then you should... well, first you should cry. But when you're done, you should think, "My! What a challenge!" and blow our minds by combining all the above in an exciting and interesting way.



20. On 2005-05-10, Tobias said:

And as to the 'practical advice question' - I got one. But the answer's probably 'As the combination of words hits you'.

How do you decide whether a keyword is a setting word, something you'd like to translate to a mechanical effect, or a theme you want to explore?

Since I've moved the answer away with my own, I'll focus on a specific sub-question - what tips and tricks are there to turn a keyword you think would be lovely to turn into a mechanic, into a mechanic?

In other words, how do you design a mechanic? As a model of reality (the keyword?). Based on the probability range you wish to generate? Based on the power it bestows on the player?

Where do you start? (Again, the answer may depend on further restraints we may get from the IGC honcho's.)

Oh, and on Andy's post:

I'm thinking a game about the ancient building-relics spread across the world - from before the time of mass-communication, but with remarkable similarities. We can then move on the gingerbread houses (which actually exist, life-size, as well as houses made of every kind of shit). Then we add a site in Tunisia (Carthage!) where another ancient complex will be uncovered. The thing linking these cultures? Dance rituals! One subtype being - interculture marriages as information transmitter - romance in the making.



21. On 2005-05-10, Tom said:

Andy Writes:

> Genre: Romance RPG
> Ingredients: Dog shit, gingerbread men, Tunisia
> Limitations: Resolution mechanic must involve interpretive
> dance

Corpro-zoophiliac whirling dervishes in love!

Bring it!

On a more practical note—hey Vincent, let's talk reward mechanisms.  Specifically, let's talk about reward mechanisms that reward the GM.  This is something that you talked a little bit about in a previous essay, mostly to say "it'll be big but durned if I know how it works".

I've got a couple of vague ideas.  Something that's less of a direct reward and more of a way to monitor the game. So you can easily determine that "yeah, people liked this plot, person, theme, whatever", but also something that goes "hey, they're getting fed up with this plot, person, theme, whatever and I should transition out of it maybe".

Robin Laws was recently talking about GM Mannerisms on his LJ and it occurs to me that providing player-driven tools to help GMs broaden their horizons might be a good thing.  The reward here being improved GMing skillz and a better sense that people were enjoying whatever was going on.


RSS feed: new comments to this thread