Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Weekly Review March 30th to April 5th

This week has seen both theory related podcasts and in-depth examinations of resolution.

Switching Stances

Mel White describes and presents examples of various stances players take during play. Actor stance which uses only what your character would know, author stance that uses other information but remains in character, director stance that extends beyond one character, and audience stance that behaves receptively. He argues that these stances are very dynamic, with moment to moment changes being both common and important for their use in play.


Clyde Rhoer presents a summary of his previous theory podcasts touching upon the major terms and giving a sense for his perspective on how theory affects play.

Resolving Shared Fiction

Over at Gametime, Morgue talks about the imagined space of the GM versus that of the players. He suggests that the GM's space is generally broader than that of a player, and that an important part of play is how GMs impart their imagined space to players, and how player decisions influence that space. Similarly, Adam Dray expands on his Social-Play Model by expanding on the process of resolution. Specifically, he lays out a nine step process by which techniques are used to alter both shared and personal imagined spaces. He then presents some examples for how both synchronizing this process and synchronizing the creative goals behind it have a positive effect on play.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Weekly Review March 23rd to March 29th

This week has seen some new ground explored, both from existing models and from different perspectives.

Common Perspectives

Jeff Tidball relates a classification of comic artists and fans to those who design and run RPGs. He describes four camps or perspectives and suggests they are socially emergent, with many people traveling between them. The four camps are: classicists - who craft RPGs as a perfection of the form, animists - who craft RPGs to be affecting, formalist - who seek new forms and experiment with RPGs, and iconoclasts - who craft RPGs to educate and relate the everyday human condition.

Conservation of Trust

Rich Warren brings up the question of trust within RPGs. He suggests that trust is something which is split among (at least) the game system, the GM, and the players. He then argues that this trust is somewhat conserved, meaning a loss in (for example) trust in the GM must be made up by an increase in system or player trust. He further suggests that this balance of trust is also a matter of individual preferences, based on good and bad experiences, and that when trust need aren't met various problems can arise.

Social-Play Model

Adam Dray presents his model for how players, social contracts, and play interact. Building from the Big Model, he splits the procedures and agreements of play from the common fictional elements in play. Bridging these he uses resolution, specifically the chain of events: Intent, Initiation, Execution, and Effect that leads to resolution. As the third part of the model, he sets up the feedback loop, with the players as individuals. Thus each player has a perspective of the fiction in play and each player has their own goals from which to forge the social contract and play procedures.