What Zak said

Over at Playing D&D with Porn Stars, Zak is exploring some of the same issues I’ve experienced attempting to talk with Forge adherents about what, exactly, gaming is and is supposed to accomplish.  I pointed out Glenn Blacow’s excellent article about different kinds of gamers, which is itself an exploration of the different expectations that people bring to the gaming table.

So what’s my point?  Simple: the process of negotiating the kind of role-playing game you want to play takes place between players as a part of gameplay as a social activity.  Whatever you conclude becomes the basis for your social contract to continue – but there’s no requirement that this be codified in the rules of the game.  I would go further and argue that to codify such requirements into the rules places limits on role-playing within gameplay.  Whether or not you want those limits is collectively up for negotiation.

One thought on “What Zak said

  1. Hi Victor,
    I am by no means incredibly versed in the forge style of gaming, but I have been giving this some thought. In the few indie games I've played, and from what I've read, it seems to me that baking the type of game you want to run into the system you use is useful, assuming that other elements of the whole gaming zeitgeist are present, in particular forms.

    For example, the system dynamics allow, as an up front statement, and via play, for a particular sort of gaming experience. This doesn't mean that the social negotiation doesn't happen, it just means it's more explicit. It has the advantage of helping everyone be on the same page, which in turn means that those players who are excited to play that way will get more of what they're looking for.

    On the other hand, those not looking for that sort of experience will find themselves unhappy, but only if they play. The assumption, I think, is that the choice to play or not is central, and if this particular game is not what they're looking for, they shouldn't play.

    That may seem harsh, but only if you assume the context is a long on-going campaign. And from what I've seen, most of the time, these sorts of games have much much shorter lifespans than what you might be used to, or are con games, and so, should you not wish to play a particular game, you probably have other options, or will not have to wait long until you get something more to your taste, in the form of a different game.

    This style does place limits on role playing within gameplay. That's kind of the point. It encourages specific types of play that some people enjoy, and provide a place for a more intense experience of that particular style.

    This quite naturally means limits. But it's the limits of poetry vs. literature. And for some of us, the trade off of intensity vs freedom is worth it, at least sometimes.

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