Monday, October 02, 2006

Weekly Review Sep. 24th to Sep. 30th

This week has seen several developments of RPG theory, all in different ways looking at how we perceive play.

Conflict

Victor Gijsbers discusses the influence of conflicts and their resolution on RPGs. He suggests that a conflict-centric view has developed, focusing on encountering and then resolving sequences of conflicts. He argues that this distracts from forms of play which where resistance is encountered without any conflict of wills, a form which implies different values and perspectives than a focus on direct conflicts.

Min-Maxing

Troy Costisick brings up the value and dangers of min-maxing as a strategy. Particularly, he suggests that min-maxing is a strategy, and so not wholly good or bad. Instead the context determines when it is appropriate. If min-maxing is opposed to the social contract of the group it is made negative by that contract. Likewise, he argues that a RPG which for which min-maxing is the only viable strategy is poorly designed.

Mental Models

Brian Hollenbeck mentions a players metagamespace, where a player's view of the RPGs is formed and shaped by their own play and their observations of others. He argues that RPG theory grows from this space, and by consciously extending our perspectives we can open up new vistas of RPG play. He suggests that this process must be ongoing, pointing to the mutual incomprehension of different theories as hiding from each other the potential for new opportunities.

Disclosure: Brian Hollenbeck's post refers to the editorial posted here this past week. It is my policy with this site to avoid referencing my own theory work. However, I believe that Brian's post goes far enough beyond what I presented to merit reporting.

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