[?] Methods of Player recognition in non-competitive/non-gamist play?

edited January 2014 in Story Games
So, in another thread, I asked about giving players instructions about playing villains who were expected to lose.

A comment in that thread got me thinking about the subject of this thread.

What methods do people use to officially recognize player contributions in games where the goal isn't necessarily an in-fiction win condition?

Are any of those formalized in systems/approaches you've used? Who decides the categories of recognition and rewards it?

Comments

  • Many lARPs have a post-game powwow at which everyone talks about the best moments and the failed efforts and generally decompresses. At such sessions, it's common for various participant awards to be given by vote (or by the GM staff). These are similar to Burning Wheels' Workhorse and MVP and Personification Artha awards (without the Artha).

    In short: recognition of acting and efforts and volunteerism by one's peers. (Note that this is the SAME reward for 'gamist' play! Increased efficacy through "XP awards" is orthogonal to the actual social goal of the gamist agenda.)
  • edited January 2014
    »Fictional positioning« and »the recognition of it«.

    The recognition is the important one. Take "likes" in Facebook, for example. If you write something and it gets liked a lot, you will get a positive feeling about it. The same thing happens during a session, if several people says what you've done is cool. (You don't need XP for that - it's just damaging that intrinic reward.)

    Recognition could also be in form of someone else giving your idea a spin.

    These two things happens if you write something on a forum too. The endorphins that's released in your brain when you get recognition is like a drug (and you can grow an addiction), but it's connected to how we learn stuff.

    Sadly, very few roleplaying games handles this well. I can't think of any, actually. Instead, we got these (damaging) fan mails and keys and whatnot. Researched has shown that getting physical rewards for non-physical and non-competetive tasks either does nothing or even decreases the intrinsic reward (the positive feeling you get).
  • edited January 2014
    The social rewards are the most important. To facilitate those, you need to create an environment in which two things are clear:
    1) what things deserve esteem
    2) when one of them has occurred

    Unfortunately, you can't just tell people what to like. You have to either (a) let them like whatever they already like, and give them an activity that involves that, or (b) give them some game goals that get them to like stuff they otherwise wouldn't.

    That's where formal reward systems come in. To create (b). Would anyone celebrate killing monsters in D&D if you couldn't die from HP loss or level up from XP gain? No; it'd just be talkin'.

    Get your group to invest in villainy -- whether it's via points, gold stars, obstacles to overcome, or just a rallying pep talk -- and they'll reward each other for being villainous.

    Note: If esteem is felt but not communicated, then fanmail is good for that.
  • edited January 2014
    Would anyone celebrate killing monsters in D&D if you couldn't die from HP loss or level up from XP gain? No; it'd just be talkin'.
    /.../
    Note: If esteem is felt but not communicated, then fanmail is good for that.
    Here are some links about research on intrinsic and extrinsic rewards.

    http://onlyagame.typepad.com/only_a_game/2005/08/designing_rewar.html
    What kind of rewards that are the strongest ones.

    http://www.psychologyofgames.com/2011/04/the-psychology-of-loot/
    A sort of continuation of the above.

    http://blog.ihobo.com/2012/07/does-overjustification-hurt-games.html
    When rewards creates intrinsic rewards (an emotion of feeling good).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overjustification_effect#Controversy
    A nice diagram to strengthen the above.

    The surprising truth about what motivates us
    When extrinsic rewards does work and doesn't work.

    In short: tangible rewards gives intrinsic rewards when it's about physical activities or competition (for example, combat in roleplaying games). Tangible rewards will either do nothing OR even hurt the intrinsic reward when it's about mental or social activities (for example, everything else in roleplaying games). What's better to use is social recognition, like verbal praise or to take what someone else has done and build on that. Likes in Facebook are nothing more than this kind of social recognition. Creating a bad guy from a personal character's background is also social recognition. You make the player feel useful.

    I can't argue that fanmail and XP for keys doesn't show how to play the game: you're totally right about that. But what's weird is that those who think fanmail is good, are also those who look beyond the reward itself and see that it's about recognition. But there are other ways to create recognition than a pesky reward system. Just because tangible rewards creates a feel good emotion for combat (competition), it doesn't mean it automatically does the same for mental or social activities. That's just thinking based on tradition; a rest from OD&D.

    What I'm proclaiming is that, for some people, rewards like fanmail and it's implementation will hurt the whole gaming experience. I don't need your +2 bonus because I did a good speech. It's insulting towards me to get that kind of dog treat. Getting tangible rewards for a mental or social activity may also make some people do it for the reward instead of because it's fun to do it. You should do it because you want to, not because you get a treat for it. Thirdly, the reward will make some people not wanting to contributing at all. They are just to shy to be judged in front of the others. Finally, rewards in that matter are also a kind of lure, and I think that's deceitful design. If you want me to do something, don't lure me to it. Make it a requirement.

    Build a structure within your game where you need to build a group relation; to make everyone understand how to think while playing the game; on how to build an atmosphere within the game; creating a positive and creative environment where people recognize what others contribute; make people explore the procedures in the game and let them discover the emergence that comes out of the interactions. Because with learning, you will get a positive emotion back. If people build on your ideas, you will learn what will work while gaming. When you learn how to get recognized, endorphines will be released in your brain. Endorphines will make you feel good. That's intrinsic reward.
  • What I'm proclaiming
    You are, that. It's blindingly obvious that you feel strongly about this; consider directing your energy toward making a game that demonstrates the superiority of this approach instead of slagging games that don't.

  • The issue of overjustification is an interesting one; it's certainly true that a number of studies have been finding that direct, extrinsic rewards are not as effective for long-term motivation.

    However, that's hard to square off with the obvious effects rewards systems have in games, in the workplace, in the economy, and so forth. I suspect that there are some pretty important missing elements in this analysis.

    For instance, in RPGs that use direct rewards systems (D&D, Keys, Beliefs, Fanmail, etc.), the rewards aren't designed to force players to "desire" things which they are not interested in (as does, say, a certain reward scheme in an experiment involving lab rats). Sure, I'm probably not going to have a great time playing a character whose Keys are not things I have any interest in. I may decide to follow them occasionally, but I'll never be all that happy about it - I'll probably be frustrated most of the time.

    However, this totally ignores the setup here: after all, *I'm* the one who chooses the Keys in the first place. Let me say, "This is what I'm excited about in the game!" and have it take the form of a Key (or whatever), and I'm not so sure that the above logic applies. It feels very different, and seems to work very well. Fanmail is similar, since it combines extrinsic rewards with interpersonal/social rewards (how is a Fanmail token different from a "like" on Facebook?), but we get to decide, as a group, how we want to use it. In my experience, Fanmail is basically a good reminder for players to speak up and let the group know when they like something (somewhat like the "Like" button on Facebook in that respect).

    I second Jason's statement, which is that all of this isn't terribly interesting until an actual practical application results. Let's see some games that do this, and then we can talk!
  • edited September 2014
    What I'm proclaiming
    You are, that. It's blindingly obvious that you feel strongly about this; consider directing your energy toward making a game that demonstrates the superiority of this approach ...
    I am. It's called This Is Pulp.

    - Each participant creates two tropes each at the beginning of the session, consisting of either people, rumors, events or places. When the game master then uses these things during play, you feel useful.

    - Anyone can say "Yes, and" or "Yes, but" to build on each others ideas or to create new situations from it. There is an exercise in the beginning of the game that introduces this, but it hasn't fell out well in playtest with other game masters. They just don't use it. I have to rebuild that structure.

    - I haven't been able to dress this in structures, but it says on all character sheets that you should praise the other participants' ideas. For the game master, there is a rule that says that the game master must praise each player at least once per session. (It's a technique I picked up as a soccer coach for children - after a few training sessions, I did it without even thinking of it.)

    Here are other examples where social recognition happens.

    - In Fiasco, you create relations that others will take up and use during the session.

    - In Fiasco, you can either start a scene and let someone else build on it or finish a scene by taking what someone else has contributed and give it a spin.

    - In Archipelago, to resolve a conflict someone else has to narrate what you are about to do. You create the situation, but someone else finishes it.

    - If I were to rebuild Apocalypse World, I would create triggers for moves. When someone uses a move and fails (2-6), that move must trigger another move for another participant as a response.

    - Any fall-forward mechanics (Yes, but) where another participant goes in and narrate. The example above is an example of that.

    And by the way, I'm challenging this design philosophy that you can find in fanmail and XP in keys because it's so deeply rooted and, most of all, unquestioned in roleplaying game design. If you don't like it, fine, but don't make snarky remarks about it. At least I'm showing research that my thoughts are based on.
  • edited January 2014
    However, this totally ignores the setup here: after all, *I'm* the one who chooses the Keys in the first place. Let me say, "This is what I'm excited about in the game!" and have it take the form of a Key (or whatever), and I'm not so sure that the above logic applies.
    But if you want to do it, then why do you need a reward for it? Why not skip the XP part and tell people how to do scenes with keys in mind?
    Fanmail is similar, since it combines extrinsic rewards with interpersonal/social rewards (how is a Fanmail token different from a "like" on Facebook?), but we get to decide, as a group, how we want to use it.
    You can't do anything with a "like". You can do something mechanically with a fanmail. Yet, "like" works. Fanmail too ... for some people that doesn't think of it as a reward.
    In my experience, Fanmail is basically a good reminder for players to speak up and let the group know when they like something (somewhat like the "Like" button on Facebook in that respect)
    To quote myself: "But what's weird is that those who think fanmail is good, are also those who look beyond the reward itself and see that it's about recognition."
  • @komradebob, has any of this been useful to you? I was going to reply to Rickard but I'd be leading this thread even further off the deep end...
  • It is useful.

    I'd rather we not side-track out too far on some of the award types discussion, as I've seen a good bit of this before.

    Not that it isn't useful; it's just a rather old disagreement.

    I suggest we leave it at this:
    Generally, there's agreement that in-game/in-fiction punishments for out-of-fiction behavior is a poor course of action for a variety of reasons, right?

    The mirror-image of that may, possibly, be that in-fiction rewards for above-fiction level actions may also be a less than ideal method.

    I don't really know if that's true or not. Let's treat it as true-enough for discussions in this thread and then table it.

    I'd rather get back to discussions of types of recognition, ideas for the same, and pairing behavior with those rewards.

    Some days, I'm just a dumb, practical guy and that's all I'm really seeking.

    So, what are some things I can formalize to let someone know "You done good! Thanks for that. You made the game even more fun because of that" ( and of course the up sides and downsides to each suggestion).
  • Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine has Emotion XP: one of the ways you advance in the game is by getting one of several specific reactions from other players, depending on which one you picked. Say, a facepalm or a thumbs-up or "Oh no, they're in trouble again!" So, really, the game codes in several distinct signals (which also invite emoting on the part of the other players) to support and reward playing to the type you've chosen.

    It's also very interesting, because it's a sneaky way to invest players in the emotion of the narrative, a bit at a time. Chuubo's in general is very much like that (which is why some analytically-minded players are 100% stymied by it), with scenes that resolve through nothing but showing emotional resonance with the setting. It's a very distinct feel of game.

    I've never seen anything like it in a game before.
  • Whoa! Chuubo sounds neat. Have you played it much? How do those XP incentives play out?
  • Let me see if I follow your request:
    * I give a Workhorse award to someone who really helped with logistics (cooking, cleanup). That award entitles them to free food or at least a free meal at the next event. (This is straight-up payment for service.)
    * I give a Personification award to someone who really stayed in character. That award entitles them to attend the next session for free or at a markedly reduce rate. (This incentivizes that player to attend regularly and continue to be an example of the playstyle I want in my game.)

    Like that...?
  • edited January 2014
    So, what are some things I can formalize to let someone know "You done good! Thanks for that. You made the game even more fun because of that"
    What's the goal here? Is it to get players to do more of that good, fun thing? Or is it just to facilitate and remind players to express appreciation when they feel it?

    Also, do you intend for "good & fun" to be subjective ("I liked that! Here's a Like token!") or game-defined ("I spotted you achieving the scene condition, so here's the Achievement token you've earned")?

    I get the impression that you may not have answers for these questions yet, so various examples may apply. Here are two rather different ones:

    Super Action Now!

    In this RPG, you get points for making other players laugh. These points are a pretty big deal, so my group definitely tried our best. But trying to make fellow players laugh was actually a pretty awkward experience. Trying to naturally laugh or not laugh as you normally would, while other people are trying to earn points off you, was even more awkward. I talked to Marshall Burns, the game's author, about this, and he said that he avoided this awkwardness by front-loading comedic ingredients in prep, and then just letting things play out naturally, with no specific "I'm gonna make someone laugh now" efforts.

    So, in his play, the points were a nice way of recognizing something that was going to happen with or without the points. It wasn't a way to make laughter happen; other parts of the game were supposed to handle that. The cool stuff you could do with the points was then simply fallout from playing well.

    In my group, however, not having already experienced that zany comedy in this game is it's own reward, we saw the points in the rules and said "We want those!" I figured this was why they were in the rules in the first place, as an incentive to motivate behavior, because I figured that's what rewards in games are. But no, that wasn't Marshall's intent, and the game was less fun when played that way.

    Within My Clutches

    This is my supervillain game (hopefully to be published before too much longer). Play is framed as being about enjoying genre fiction -- the goal is to entertain each other within the "neurotic over-reaching super-powered villain" mold. The game states that goal and then provides some mechanics to keep the chain of character decision, action and consequence roughly on that track. With that framework in place, I have three social mechanisms to help the group cohere:

    1. Giving and receiving fanmail. Throw tokens when someone does something you like (but only as relates to the game goal of entertaining supervillain fiction, not for out-of-game banter). For players who haven't played supervillains together before and don't know each other's takes on the genre, this acts as a subtle taste-meter. In some games, slapstick hilarity gets points. In other games, really tormenting a villain gets points. The informal around-the-table reactions are 80% of the taste feedback, but the extra 20% can make a difference, especially for quieter players whose opinion may show up more easily in tokens than words.

    2. Spending fanmail. When you earn 5 tokens for playing your villain, you get a bonus scene to show the group something about your villain you wouldn't otherwise get to (part of their Master Plan). When you earn 5 tokens for GMing or playing NPCs, you get a bonus scene as director, prompting another player to show us whatever you want to see about their villain. Basically, the more the group likes a given thing you're doing, the more you get to do that thing. In some games, a given villain will really steal the show and the group can't get enough of them. In other games, a player's situation creation will be spot on and everyone will want to see what scene they'll frame next. Occasionally an NPC even becomes a star and gets worked into a bonus scene.

    The key difference between this and Super Action Now! is that the cool stuff you earn in SAN is entirely personal and extremely useful in the regular course of play -- your character is pummeling mine, but if I can make you laugh, I get a badass power I can use to reverse that -- whereas the cool stuff you earn in Within My Clutches is interpersonal and separate from the ordinary flow of play. In WMC, "I'd like some fanmail" is a desire that can accumulate over time, but there's never a moment where a given player needs fanmail right now to do the thing they want. WMC fanmail is never the powerful incentive that I thought SAN points were intended to be, but it is consistently the emergent reward that SAN points were actually intended to be.

    3. Voting on feasibility. WMC has a ton of narrative freedom, so it's important to me to remind players to engage with the fiction as established instead of getting lazy and pulling nonsense out of thin air. It's also a useful constraint to guide roleplay -- what should my villain do that might actually work? So, the rule is that when a villain player rolls to achieve their goal, the rest of the table votes on whether their narrated effort seems like an effective approach. If the vote is "yes", the villain player earns a bonus die for the roll.

    The "get what you want" value of a single bonus die on a single goal roll is not huge, but the process of vote and award reinforces a style of relating to the fiction that I believe benefits play. The procedure says "this is important enough to spend a little time and thought on", and a bonus die confirms "good job, you did that".
  • Whoa! Chuubo sounds neat. Have you played it much? How do those XP incentives play out?
    Only got to play one session, but it was really fun (if mind-boggling). The presentation of XP actually feels very different. It's less of a "thing to earn" and more of a "thing that happens". XP happens as you get people to react, and as you progress your character along the story arc that you chose.

    It's very, very much like a structured version of Marvel Heroic's Milestone system, actually, with more options and more differentiation/depth. I think, more than anything, it reinforced the idea that what I was doing was meaningful, because it was being recognized as advancing the game.
  • Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine has Emotion XP: one of the ways you advance in the game is by getting one of several specific reactions from other players, depending on which one you picked. Say, a facepalm or a thumbs-up or "Oh no, they're in trouble again!" So, really, the game codes in several distinct signals (which also invite emoting on the part of the other players) to support and reward playing to the type you've chosen.

    /.../

    I've never seen anything like it in a game before.
    I dunno if it was my game master that made it up, but in Shadowrun (2nd or 3rd ED?) you got karma if you made someone else laugh at least once during a session.
  • edited January 2014
    So, what are some things I can formalize to let someone know "You done good! Thanks for that. You made the game even more fun because of that" ( and of course the up sides and downsides to each suggestion).
    The old saying "The work itself is already rewarding" comes into mind. I think it needs to change a little bit. "The result of the work is the reward". If you've done something and then can stand back and look at it, you will (may) feel proud over what you've done. May it be climbing a mountain, coming up with a solution ("it worked!") or just see the joy in the other person's face when giving that one a present. One thought I've played around with the last months, is that social recognition is nothing more than showing a consequence. But perhaps that's narrowing it down to much.

    Here are some quotes from other threads:

    Tobias Wrigstad
    The reward in a freeform game, as I see it, is peer recognition. You add stuff to the story and the other players take that in and appreciate it. When you do something cool in the game, you feel it in the room. That's the short-term reward. Plus the cool scenes when they happen. Doing something cool could be taking the story someplace unexpected, or making a great character interpretation, or having great timing, or ... You get the picture.

    The long-term reward is creating the best possible story or whatever the game is about. If it is about contemplating relationships etc. (more about that below) then doing that and coming out on the other side as a person with new perspectives or experiences, or just having gone through a personal catharsis is the long-term reward.

    Development of character could be there too, but story is still king, or the intended personal/group experiences.
    Emily_Care
    creativity: free form play, of whatever stripe, has as its primary reward the creation of in-game events, material etc. Think about how allocation of narrative rights have become a huge part of mechanical systems: people want to be able to be creative, and giving them the right to do so is a powerful reward. How this is allotted and allocated in free-form is not as regulated by reproducible procedures, though, instead it often comes down to things like the informal social networks that Christian points out. Because of:

    reinforcement and mirroring: what is real in a game world is what gets played/with. If everyone else ignores or doesn't know about what you've made up, it may as well not exist. So, the people who are the most "powerful" creatively speaking in freeform, are the ones whose ideas get picked up on and incorporated into the play of others. Those whose actions affect others and who end up having them reverberate around the shared creation. This can be done via any channel depending on the type of play: character action, background creation, informal discussion out of character, or "gming" (which in free-form, means setting the parameters of play, use of props, dissemination of information, creation of guidelines and intervention/adjudication. damn, online gms can do a hell of alot, more even, than tabletop ones, in a way, because there may be so many more people involved. same with large larps).

    positioning: this is a wierd one that seems to arise out of the way that narrative control is not parcelled out in a regulated way in freeform. Other folks may have had very different experiences, so take it with a grain of salt. Anyway, what it is is setting up in-game events and interpretations to support your following (character) actions. For example, if I want to shoot your character with a gun, I have to first establish that there is a gun present, that it is loaded etc. If I want to kill your character, I will have to establish, and get others to collaborate with me in establishing, that my character can keep yours from escaping, that mine has the ability to successfully shoot yours, that help will not arrive in time etc. Instead of a die roll, based on various things that represent all this stuff, it has to be negotiated, or simply spoken and accepted as "what has happened" in order for it to occur. So in freeform, you may be thinking (even unconsciously) three moves down the road, in order to back yourself up on future actions.

    Well, that's a couple anyway. Sorry to go on. It is a big thing for me, though, that there are systems in there, even if they are unspoken and little understood.
    For me, I don't like the word "freeform" in the quotes because these are structures that can be found, and are used, in most games, only that they aren't thought about (especially as rewards).
  • I'm still digesting a lot of this, so I'll have some better responses to individual posts in the next couple of days.

    Strangely, one of the thoughts I had while looking over some of these was that some of this really seems to ultimately come down to:
    "Invite people to play who already gel with what you're doing and take pleasure from it, and this stuff is basically irrelevant"

    I'll have to ponder more on this.
  • Sorry if this is perpetuating an unwanted sidetrack, but:

    - Anyone can say "Yes, and" or "Yes, but" to build on each others ideas or to create new situations from it. There is an exercise in the beginning of the game that introduces this, but it hasn't fell out well in playtest with other game masters. They just don't use it. I have to rebuild that structure.

    - I haven't been able to dress this in structures, but it says on all character sheets that you should praise the other participants' ideas. For the game master, there is a rule that says that the game master must praise each player at least once per session. (It's a technique I picked up as a soccer coach for children - after a few training sessions, I did it without even thinking of it.)
    I suspect that there can also be a "crowding out" effect of genuine social approval when expressions of approval are mandated by the rules. If I know that someone may be "just saying that" because they're discharging an obligation then it can be difficult for me to feel that it's meaningful. (I may be a particularly sensitive to this, in my regular life if somebody like my Mom compliments me it tends to have nearly the opposite of the intended effect).

    I've been trying to formulate a general theory of "meaningfulness" in games, and it's not fully baked yet, but I suspect that if different dimensions get too "colinear" they end up collapsing together. So an implicit "am I making good contributions?" dimension can get swallowed up by a mechanic that looks a lot like "was what I said good enough?" (especially if the answer is always "yes"). In contrast, I think you can have mechanics like the DITV conflict rules, where there's a rules-mandated dimension of categorization for each Raise (what kind of Fallout will that result in?) that makes "was that particularly vivid/poignant/apt/well-phrased/etc." feel like an independent dimension that the rules are silent about (and therefore an avenue for genuine social appreciation -- the rules shine a spotlight of attention on the contribution but don't tell you how to feel about it).
  • In regards to the "Facebook Like" feel, my home group has established a little tradition along these lines. At first how we implemented it was by basically gluing an ad-hoc "action point" system onto anything we play. Whenever someone does something at the table that garners an enthusiastic reaction from the preponderance of the table the GM would say, "Take a point." We started by using poker chips to denote this, so they flew across the table often. These could be used to give any action a post-roll bump.

    So, the reward was from social play, and benefited game play.

    As time has gone on we've experimented in a very loose fashion with variations, such as the point meaning an XP in a system (like HERO) where a single XP is meaningful.

    Sometimes the points have no effect at all in game, but we still say, "take a point" to voice a recognition of humor, entertainment, awesomeness, etc.

    At this point the job has migrated away from being the GM's duty. Players at the table often now say, "take a point!", and inevitably the GM agrees. (We do round robin style play so the GM position changes often.)

    One thing I've noticed lately as this practice has evolved is that folks are not getting points for the things they always get laughs for. One of our players is stunningly good at one-liners. He used to rake in the points, but not so much in the last few years. What he does get them for is spectacular show-stopping one liners, and for things that are other than one-liners. In this way it makes for a system that rewards people for stepping outside of their safe "look cool" boxes into other areas.

    That's my 2 cents.
  • edited January 2014
    One thing I've noticed lately as this practice has evolved is that folks are not getting points for the things they always get laughs for. One of our players is stunningly good at one-liners. He used to rake in the points, but not so much in the last few years. What he does get them for is spectacular show-stopping one liners, and for things that are other than one-liners. In this way it makes for a system that rewards people for stepping outside of their safe "look cool" boxes into other areas.
    Yeah, I noticed this behavior as well, both outside and inside of gaming.
  • edited January 2014
    http://onlyagame.typepad.com/only_a_game/2005/08/designing_rewar.html

    In the link above, there is something that I find interesting.
    Rank Rewards: /.../ Elite's (entirely cosmetic) Rank system demonstrates that a Rank reward can motivate even without mechanical benefits.

    /.../

    Narrative rewards: a little narrative exposition is effective for certain players as a reward. A cut scene can be a bigger reward than dialogue - when used well.

    /.../

    Emotional rewards: related to the above, but applicable when the player feels they have done something for someone in the game.

    /.../

    New Places: like new toys, new places are a mimicry reward for players driven to explore (a common drive!)

    /.../

    Victory: defeating a challenging foe...
    For example, giving out a clue when the players are taking the initiative to investigate is a reward. It's a response on what they do. All these above are responses to the players' actions. Well, except emotional reward but that's more a player's response to the game master's response. If the game master shows the consequence (narrative reward) for the player's action, an emotional reward may come out of it.

    All in all, it's about acknowledgment. It's about reinforcing a behavior by responding to it. Here's a thing I learned from the last 15 years on roleplaying forums. If you respond to a post that has nothing to do with your topic, the thread will derail, because you reinforced the behavior by responding; by acknowledging the other person. That will just make that person want to write more, and of course, because you gave out a reward for it. The best way to make a thread be about what you want to be is to not respond to those posts, but instead respond on what you want to talk about.

    Think about this when it comes to gaming. Did you ever had a behavior in the group that you didn't like when you were a game master?
  • edited January 2014
    This is also why I think roleplaying games are purely about communication, and that communication is built upon responses.

    Now, design a game that build responses. What is a move, but a response? What kind of responses are there out there and what does it mean to use them?
  • I know I'm coming into this discussion late but here are some ideas.

    Playing the bad guy can be real fun. You get to chew up the scenes. If there is a guarantee that you won't go down till the end of the game (in a one shot game) they are more fun to play than good guys. So the act of being bad is the reward.

    My games are always one shots so this doesn't fit campaign play. The story card mechanic I've used doesn't use victory points to reward but to determine the order of making final statements.

    The biggest reward though is jousting bad - Walter White bad.
  • It's interesting that you're talking about one-shots Chris, because that's really the kind of thing I was trying to get ideas for exactly.

    I was also thinking of ways to build one-shots, but then build player level bridges between one-shots.

    By that I mean, helping the group to gel and communicate what they liked. The One-Shot A and One-Shot B may not be linked by anything except the group of gamers involved, for example.
  • That makes me think about playing some kind of scenario building game. In a way that is what the set up stage of Fiasco is. You're definitely playing a game but it isn't the story - its the background of the story. Sometimes (like in Traveller) the set up game is more fun than the game.

    Since you use minis for your games, a set up game needs to take that inventory into account. No point in adding a character who has no mini! Instead have the set up ooze into he existing mix. Do you have an inventory sheet with pictures? I could see doing a quick scenario building game at the end of an evening where people are picking figures, terrain and big picture plot points and you then taking them and hammering them into a scenario.

    How many people do you have running the bad guys? If you as game host run them it negates the problem and makes you a D+D GM. Though without as much power. But that denies other players of getting to be Walter White - which they should miss if they really like story.

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  • edited January 2014
    Sadly Chris, I have horrible problems actually getting people together to properly test some of those idea/mechanics and scenarios, so they're floating around untried.

    I'm pretty sure I showed you one idea, related to the Scooby/Cthulhu Halloween scenario, where at the end of the game players have each a small deck of 8 cards, themed to the game and stuff I was guessing was important. The cards are all different aspects of play that I think should be recognized, then each player hands one card from their deck to each other player. The players then only get to see what is in their "treats" bag after this is done and doesn't know who gave them what exactly.

    I don't know if I ever showed you the "How'd it Play in Peoria?" cards. I mentioned it in some thread ages ago. They were a little bit different in that they were dealt around, and each player in turn answered the question or questions contained on the card of their choice ( they'd have more than one to pick from).

    An example of that ( the game had a movie making theme) would be something like:
    One minor character ended up becoming a fan favorite unexpectedly.
    Q: What was that character's quotable catch phrase that becomes part of pop culture?
    Q: An offshoot series is developed around that minor character. What is it about?
    Q: That character is recast for the movie/series. What actor ends up playing them in that?

    Anyway, there were maybe a dozen or so of those I created, and they were pretty generic. Here the idea was to give some sideways recognition and maybe help the scenario-putter-together ideas for another one-shot.

    Now there was one other not-well-developed idea I had for making more one-shots, that was meant to cope with the fact that, yes, I did intend to use miniatures for those games and that requires a bit of planning. Basically that one just hopped back up to the real people level, and was about real-people socializing blended with game prep: The Movie Plot Pitch Party.

    The movie plot pitch party was an event kinda like a character generation session, which a whole lot of people tend to do anyway.
    Basically, the minis-junkie who is most likely to be putting these one-shots together anyway gets their likely recruits together and has a low key fun shindig. Yes, it is a party. No, lots of booze probably isn't a great idea, but general sociability and snacks probably are a good idea.

    Anyway, basically, it's a change for our minis-junkie ( and any minis-junkie friends who will be attending) to show up and show off their toys. The minis, the terrain, all of that goodness. Lay those suckers out on a table or four, or bring along photos and printouts. Whatever. While everyone is chatting, socializing, and snacking, they take the time to check out what is available. The guests can work alone or in small groups with some kind of very basic worksheet. It's very basic, to create a pitch for a movie for development. It's based on the toys available.

    At some point in the evening, the guests present their ideas. They get winnowed down, people develop them slightly, and eventually you end up with a couple to choose between. Group acclaim decides which is the basis for the next scenario. If people are working fast, maybe you can start playing it right then. Otherwise, you start laying plans for a week or two out when guests will come back as players and really dig in and play the thing.

    The non-chosen pitches still exist, handy for later development or refinement.

    Like I said, not a well developed idea, but that was the concept.

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