Monday, September 04, 2006

Weekly Review Aug. 27th to Sep. 2nd

Over the course of this week, various theory discussions have emerged. From the relationship between stakes and conflicts to the clarity of mechanical intent.

Stakes and Conflicts

Over at Story Games Ron Edwards reprised and expanded on a GenCon discussion about stake setting. In particular he critiques the use of stakes setting that go far beyond intent. He describes this as a natural hazard of setting stakes, where players can competitively build greater and greater consequences as a form of pre-resolution narration.

Isolating Immersion

Brian Hollenbeck discusses a particular form of immersion in contrast to his earlier characterization of immersion as conjoining of aspects of play. What he refers to as isolation takes a single aspect and rather than merging the other aspects with it, isolates those other aspects away. Elsewhere, Jim Henley describes a concern about how immersion is characterized. In particular he indentifies a trend in examples where immersion is evidenced by causing player conflicts. He suggests this is an edge case, not fully descriptive of immersion that is more functional and cooperative.

Mechanical Intent

Thomas Robertson expands on the ideas Chris Chinn mentions about how some play groups pick and choose rules, while others will attempt to play the rules as written. In particular, Thomas suggests that the clarity of a rules intent is much more important for a "pick and choose" adoption, preventing unexplained rules or rules addressing uncomfortable topics from appearing in play. He argues that leaving out the explicit intent of rules allows the introduction of unexpected outcomes and interactions, helping to expand a play group's horizons beyond the comfortable.

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