Archive for November 21st, 2006

Something That Isn’t Pull

2006 Nov 21

Until fairly recently I assumed that what Mo meant by Pull was actually something else. This something was Making Other Players Awesome (which Mo suspects might be my primary play socket).

To me, one of the primary questions about roleplaying in practice is, to use a volleyball metaphor, are you setting the ball or are you spiking it? Are you Doing Awesome Stuff or are you Setting Up Other Players To Be Awesome?

Obviously this changes from moment to moment, but I suspect that people who are good at the latter are rarer and often less recognizable, like a basketball player who has 4 points and 14 assists. Those are the kind of people you want in the GM’s chair or, better yet, as a Producer in Primetime Adventures. But they are an absolute joy to play with in any capacity because they make everyone else more awesome. And that’s the kind of player I want to be.

Now I think I need to go re-learn what Push and Pull are.

Push Now on IPR

2006 Nov 21

Thanks, Brennan. You rock!

Communities of Design

2006 Nov 21

A thread on StoryGames inspired some reflections:

So we’ve talked a bit about how individual play groups are communities of practice that develop their own norms over time. Certain the same holds true for communities that resolve around things like design and publishing as well as play. The Forge is a great example, as is StoryGames itself. We don’t play with those people, but we are influenced by them in our design work and in our overall thinking about roleplaying.

The thing is, these communities aren’t really built to support game design. The people who frequent them (the Forge, StoryGames, RPGnet) aren’t really interested in real, bloody hands, words on the page, playtest-ready design work. They’re mostly coming there to talk about games, to talk about designs they may be working on or planning to work on, and, above all, to socialize with fellow roleplaying enthusiasts. That’s all well and good, but if you were hoping to build a community that was really about game design, it would have to operate pretty differently from the places where game designers already socialize.

In my experience, places that are used mostly for socialization are really bad at helping people finish projects and supporting them every step of the way. The exceptions are cases like Game Chef or similar design contests. THAT, I think, is one model of what a game design community could be like: people post actual work that they’ve done on a game and get response on actual design work, not hypothetical stuff. The energy level is high and engaged. Everybody is working alongside one another. There are concrete deadlines — often broken — but they provide structure to the process. People regularly review each other’s work and rate progress, recognizing accomplishments and talking through the next few steps.