Monday, April 24, 2006

Weekly Review Apr. 16th to Apr. 22nd

This week seen some intriguing contributions to RPG theory. While some focus on the mechanical, others are built on questions of gender and inclusion in RPGs, both for theory and in general.

Process of Mechanics

In an attempt to distinguish system and mechanics, Jere Genest presents a process view of mechanics. His flow indicates mechanics as the culmination of an objective, either finding an existing mechanic, or designing a new one for addition. In particular he suggests that design during play is viable, and can follow a precise flow, from objective, to individual components which can be combined to produce a new mechanic for that objective.

Plot Twists

Thomas Robertson introduces a feasibility question for the design and play of plot twists. In particular he asks if it is possible in an RPG context to produce a consistent campaign of misdirection to permit a reveal, not unlike at the end of a mystery. He suggests that planning out the misdirection is next to impossible given the volatile nature of RPG play.


A major theme over the past few weeks around RPG theory has been the subject of the RPG communities' interaction with women. This has drifted from advice to discussion, and even debate. Recently several topics have been broached which suggest ramifications in the realm of theory. John Kim discusses the inclusion of women across different subgroups of RPGs, and also points to the distinction of including women better, versus an actually feminist approach to RPGs, which "would encourage non-normative statements about gender and gender roles." Meanwhile, Jonathon Walton shows just how difficult inclusive communities can be. Indeed, while a potentially global community is likely more difficult to build, those same problems reflect those of forming the smallest RPG communities, groups of players.


Christoph Boeckle said...


I'd like to report the first link in the article as broken.

While I'm at it, I'd like to congratulate you for your efforts so far, I really appreciate the neutral tone of this site and the overview it gives of what's going on!

Mendel Schmiedekamp said...

Thank you. The link should be fixed now.