Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Weekly Review December 30th to January 5th

This week's theory developments have focused on social investment.

Buying In

Chris Chinn talks about player buy in, the moment to moment activity where players support one player's contribution to the game. He suggests that with the exception of GMs giving bonuses this sort of buy in is not mechanically supported in most RPGs. He describes how some new games use player driven rewards as a means to give everyone a way to support each other's ideas.

Social Mandate

Over at the Forge is a discussion about the minimal social assumptions needed for a particular RPG to function, sometimes called the social mandate. One item debated in that thread is whether the social mandate is a set of assumptions missing from the game text or whether it is a requisite for all RPGs.

Role of Creative Agenda

Also over at the Forge, Ron Edwards wrote a post describing the role of creative agenda in play. Particularly he describes how creative agenda acts as a "reverberation" which flows down from social concerns into the moments of play and back up to social recognition of the fun. He suggests that one error in looking at play comes from our tendency to only notice the return path as we play, the results rather than the whole process leading to them.

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