2012-01-09 : 2011 here at anyway
In 2011 I tried to talk about rpg design instead of rpg theory, and it was tough going!
Social Context Begins At Home
2011-01-10 : Social Context and Design
Designing for a social context means design, long before it means publication and marketing.
2011-01-20 : RPG Design, Craft and Discipline
My kids are growing up thinking that publishing a book is appropriate and reasonable behavior.
2011-01-25 : Social Context and Design Scales
If you hope to reach a certain target audience with your game, and your game works great in internal playtesting, but your target audience isn’t seizing upon your game the way you hoped, then…
2011-02-07 : Design scales: to the text!
I’ve gone to my game shelf and brought down a likely assortment of games. I’m going to pull passages from them for us to compare: first a passage that says what we do in the game overall, then a couple of passages that give examples of what we might be doing at any moment of play. Ready?
2011-02-14 : Tablut
The player who captures more and loses less benefits, yes, and so does the king’s player. This means that the king’s player can go more blithely into danger, despite having fewer pieces, more freely making bold and aggressive moves. The enemy player has to weigh constantly whether to engage in kind or to hold discipline.
2011-02-21 : Into the Unknown?
[As player, you] solve weird problems…
[As GM, you should make] the new utility ... be an option to solve the scenario’s Problem.
One of these is a lie! Do the players solve the problems, or does the GM?
2011-03-17 : My First-time Publishing Advice
If people are going blank during your pitch, change your pitch; if people are excited by your pitch but go blank when they look at your game, there’s nothing to do but go back to design. If you publish it as-is you’ll just get the same response.
2011-04-08 : Freeform
You can change people’s normal social system with content... You can change people’s normal social system with principles... You can change people’s normal social system with procedural cues... You can change people’s normal social system with mediating cues (popularly, mechanics).
2011-04-12 : A background in Principled Freeform
Meg, Emily and I played a pretty intense and long-running principled freeform game from let’s say 1998 to 2005. We wrote approximately one million billion words about it, back in the early days…
2011-04-25 : We are creative equals
If you want to play this way, grab some friends to be your creative equals and go for it. Nothing’s stopping you, and there’s no sense waiting for a game text - it wouldn’t help you anyway.
2011-05-11 : The Un-frickin-welcome
When we want to let our characters off the hook, we need rules to threaten them; when we want to kill our characters, we need rules to protect them.
Design vs Mere Instructions
2011-05-17 : Game Design vs Mere Instructions
Telling someone that they have permission to do a thing isn’t the same as changing the group’s social system so that they really do have permission to do it.
Concentric Game Design (or: GM Agenda, cont.)
2011-06-07 : Concentric Game Design
Okay! Here’s a cool thing about Apocalypse World’s design in particular, if I may say it myself: Apocalypse World is designed to collapse gracefully downward… The whole game is built so that if you mess up a rule in play, you mostly just naturally fall back on the level below it, and you’re missing out a little but it works fine.
2011-06-13 : A roleplaying game has two centers
Oh, of course it does! It has the center of what we’re here to do with this game, which is the core of its reward system, and it has the center of what we’re doing right this minute, which is the core of the creative relationship it creates between the players.
Guest Posts by Ben Lehman
The much-misread 2011-02-17 : Ben Lehman: Playtesting: Stop
Playtesting is fucking dangerous, and you need to stop doing it, stop talking about it, and stop using it as a substitute for the hard work of game design.
2011-05-18 : Ben Lehman: Rules and their Functions
There is a tendency among role-players, particularly those who identify with freeform play as a thing, to classify immediate rules as “rules” and continuous rules as “not rules.” Someone who says “we didn’t use the rules once in the entire session!” is only referring to immediate rules: the only way to avoid use of continuous rules is to not play the game at all. There is also a tendency among rules-focused game designers like, say, me, to consider all of these things just “rules” and not to distinguish between them. To someone like me, “we didn’t use the rules once in the entire session” doesn’t make any damn sense at all: of course you were using the rules! You divided responsibility, decided what happened in the fiction, and so on.
Yep. Tough going. Social context and game design are the crux of what we’re doing and what’s its future, but I didn’t make much headway here.
Please don’t reopen those old threads. Please comment in this thread instead!
1. On 2012-01-09, Marshall B said:
2. On 2012-01-09, Micah said:
3. On 2012-01-10, David Berg said:
4. On 2012-01-11, Paul T. said:
5. On 2012-01-11, David Berg said:
6. On 2012-01-11, ara said:
7. On 2012-01-11, Paul T. said:
8. On 2012-01-16, Carsten said:
9. On 2012-01-17, David Berg said: