Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Weekly Review February 17th to February 23rd

This week has seen several developments about arriving at play, whether individual games or generally.

Expectations and Permissions

Vincent Baker discusses how a game does more than impart system and mechanics by shaping expectations and giving permissions to the players. Thus an important part of design is to not only make some behaviors in play possible, but to encourage and discourage them according to the design goals of the game. Emily Care Boss expands on this idea, and describes how games can give players permission to act evilly in character, especially to other player characters, even when the underlying game is cooperative.

Personal Rules

Chris Chinn describes the fluidity of rules and system in most RPGs as people play them. He suggests that a common problem with reliable play is that each player is pushing the rules of the game to contain their own personal preferences, leading to the GM seeking to forge a compromise. He argues that this fluidity can be avoided by treating RPGs like other games, accepting the rules rather than bringing personal ones.

Describing Characters

Gordon Olmstead-Dean talks about the theory behind character, specifically Forge Theory, applied to larp. Of note, he discusses the difficulties in large scale coherence of creative agenda, as well as, the difficulties that can arise in an larp context with mechanically defining a character. He stresses, in particular, that a character should have some existence beyond the mechanics of resources and effectiveness, being described by these, rather than defined.

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