Elsewhere, I said:Can we also agree on (1) designing a game for other people to play being pretty far removed from (2) designing a game for you and your friends to play and (3) tweaking an existing game to do what you want?
Either everyone considered this too obvious to comment on, or Levi Kornelsen was voicing the opinion of the silent majority when he disagreed. This thread is about these different degrees and contexts of design -- the ways they are the same and the ways they are different.
Obviously the similarity of "having to consider game design issues" is huge, but I see equally huge differences as well:
* As opposed to #1
, in #2
the end result does not have to be a text that another human being can understand. In #2
pretty much all communication involved is direct and personal.
are much more contextual. Since you know your group you know the social dynamics that are working both for and against you. You know the prevalent culture, so you know what is accepted practice and what is exotic and new. You know the strengths and weaknesses of the people involved (including yourself!): you can both play to them, and challenge them appropriately. You have infinitely more knowledge to work with -- but of course this knowledge is so specialized as to be worthless outside your immediate circle.
can happen both during play and between individual sessions. Just like you don't need to (and probably should not...) plan a huge campaign in excruciating detail ahead of time, but bit by bit as play proceeds and different things fade in and out of relevancy, you don't need to design the whole game or ruleset beforehand -- only as things become relevant. (Of course a specific homegrown ruleset should be pretty well thought out before play, but tweaks in particular can be retweaked as they prove themselves functional or not -- and a huge part of game design is setting design, which most certainly can be done between sessions or even on the fly instead of ahead of time.)