Monday, February 06, 2006

Weekly Review Jan. 29th to Feb. 4th

Communication is a central aspect of any RPG, and this week that theme has come to the forefront. Dangerous ideas continue to percolate, giving rise to a discussion of encountering the very people we play with. In a related vein, ways of communicating player desires are developed.

Playing with People

With characters playing such a vital role in RPGs it is easy to forget the people involved, both the designers who craft the games and the other players. But like most social activities RPGs can offer a glimpse into views and emotions of others. Brand Robins suggests that a designers personal influence may become transparent enough to make or break a game for a particular person, simply due to differences in values between a player and the game designer.

From the other direction, Emily Care Boss talks about the types of play that expose players to each other. In particular she suggests that when we confront issue of a moral or emotional bent we find ourselves far more likely to see the person behind the character, and to seen in that same way. It is up to the players themselves to accept these glimpses, or to look away.

Signaling What You Want

While exposing deeper philosophical or emotional aspects is a part of RPGs, often communication happens in more practical manners as well. Matt Snyder talks about the cadence of play, how players try to work out together how much and when they should contribute. He suggests that cadence should be more overt, and not left to inter-player subtlety. Chris Chinn presents a system for flag framing. This tool gives GMs a way to solicit interest from players, and in so doing produce improvisation, much like a conventional player does with a character sheet.

No comments: