Monday, March 27, 2006

Weekly Review Mar. 19th to Mar. 25th

This past week has seen an increase in theory developments. In particular, discussions about whether players get what they want from play, and what they put into it.

Getting What We Want

This week several less than conventional suggestions were made about what players get from RPGs, and how to ensure that they get what they want. Vincent Baker discusses the idea of flinching, and described how mechanics can ensure that politeness does not negate the depth of consequences. He describes how one risk of player decided outcomes is that if you want emotional confrontation other players may "flinch" from inflicting it.

Clinton R. Nixon suggests to the contrary, that mechanics can be too well tuned. He argues that a significant segment of players wants to tinker with the structure of a RPG. Indeed, he implies that rule hacking is a major source of enjoyment for many players.

While rule hacking may often happen before a game begins, Moyra Turkington talks about what players need at the end of game, or at least of a character. She talks about the needs of closure and mourning for a character, especially in how characters reflect a part of their player. She reflects that this need also derives from the potential of a character, and that a poor end is equivalent to unresolved potential left in the character.

Putting in What We Need

From the opposite direction of getting things from play, Frank Filz discusses what we put into play. In particular, he classifies different types of play preparation, as an overture to classifying games based on their preparation requirements. He presents four preparation categories: research, creative, mechanical, and organizational, and applies them to several different RPGs.

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