Without question much of what is said within the article is factual truth. Objective reality even. Chess is NOT an RPG. No argument. If the piece had maintained that track it would have been incredible to me, but probably much less interesting to most. The reason being it devolves into opinion being forwarded as quasi-fact based on an appeal to authority. That doesn't mean I don't find value in it, even with its subjective points. It just irks the academic in me to see people intersperse opinion with fact and treat it as a single entity.
While most here probably aren't interested in my rebuttal I felt compelled to offer it somewhere, and here seemed as good a place as any (especially because I think many will LOVE the article as is, so I'm spreading a good word for them). What follows will be a multi-part analysis of the article.
Now, this isn’t an article about game design, but rather, an article about being a game master. But, in order to get to that advice, I need to spend a little bit of time talking about game design. Trust me, it matters.
I certainly agree that it matters, but I notice something immediately about this: the author is espousing a more modern/indie story games mindset throughout most of the piece, and yet he categorizes it as an article about/for game masters...something that frequently is at odds with indies and story games. What's more, he'll eventually offer a challenge to game masters to hack/mod games to fit his paradigm...in essence he's calling for a universal Rule 0; which is another thing not usually associated with the tropes he's trawling. These things can be extrapolated to others, but still we're faced with an immediate foil to easy categorizations.
However, i think that's a good thing. Any time something falls immediately into a category I question its validity and/or importance. So I dig deeper to see what this paragraph can say to me that matters, and here it is: Everyone is different.
Seems obvious, but I think this article REALLY
brings out the importance of this mantra (although it actually fails to understand/accept it). 'Story game' enthusiasts don't have a single preference, meaning there is no single definition. The author highlights many old school games for having ideas generally considered modern/indie. There is no singular 'grognard' period. There simply are no absolutes in generalities. This article emphasizes that even within a single broad demographic you'll find outliers and further sub-categorizations (much like gun-toting Democrats, and homosexual Republicans here in the US).
I cannot overstate how much I believe this to be a great (if unfortunate) thing. The moment 'indie gamers' (or whoever) are really all the same we reach an unassailable division between people, and that's just never as good as open-minded diversity with fluid dynamics.