Gardening / Day to day living

So I was hoping that people could suggest RPG's and or share their thoughts on these concepts.

Basically I envision a type of game where the main conflicts are set over a long timeframe but the "living" parts are not totally skipped but represented fairly equally, if not a higher percentage of "living" scenes than "main conflict" scenes. Imagine something like Stardew Valley (well, harvest moon, but I've only played the former) where you mostly play out the "chore" type parts and now and then you get little scenes with the characters or little main story scenes. The chores are still fun and allow for a lot of freedom and decisions of what you want to focus on, but the story parts are also something to look forward to.

Now there are two challenges here, as I see it. First, making the day-to-day living not boring. It needs to be equally enjoyable as any other roleplay scene, otherwise you should just skip it, which is exactly what we're trying to avoid. This is certainly a challenge, but there are many videogame designs and boardgame designs that tackle these kinds of subjects (gardening, running a business, building a town) while remaining fun. This is complicated by the second challenge, which is making it a roleplaying game. I don't think it would be effective to simply bolt on some boardgame mechanics to an otherwise rpg system. There needs to be some level of integration there and the mechanics also need to allow for player character expression, in my opinion, for them to feel like you are still playing a roleplaying game. For instance, D&D combat can, if you play it in a dry rules only kind of way, feel like just a boardgame bolted on to the RPG. Other games, and even D&D played in a certain way, make combat include just as much character expression as other parts of the game and this feels better in my experience.

Why do I want this? I suppose I'm looking to recreate the coziness I feel when engaging with certain fiction where there are parts that aren't the main plot but just feel nice to live in, and you find yourself imagining all the things that you would be doing or could be doing in those worlds if you were just a regular joe and the main plot conflict wasn't necessarily there. Not sure if that makes sense.

Blades in the Dark long term projects are an example that I think is pretty close. I like the freeform nature, the ability to express your character via the longterm projects. It works well for this game, though its a smaller part of the game and very abstract, but perhaps abstraction is what is needed in this area. I think the idea of creating things (eg. crafting, building a castle) is something that a lot of RPG's kind of include but don't pull off especially well and is related to the ideas I'm talking about.

Now Gardening is not the be all and end all of my interest in this, but I thought of it as a good example of something in this category, and I challenged myself to make a mini RPG about gardening which I've done and needs a bit more playtesting.

I have some thoughts on the matter, but I'm afraid that I don't necessarily have the language to convey my vague ideas.

So what do you think? Is this coherent? What would you keep in mind if you were making a gardening RPG for example? Do you know of examples of RPG's that do things along these lines in an interesting way?

Now I'm definitely coming at this from a more traditional rpg (using that term broadly) perspective than full on story game, but I welcome thoughts involving both. For example I think A quiet year might have some interesting elements to draw from, though I haven't played it.

Comments

  • edited October 2017
    What you want is slice of life. I haven't ever actually played the game itself, but from reading the rulebook, Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine could definitely fill this role if it's your style of game system. If not, the book's writing itself is a beautiful art object anyway.
  • Yeah Slice-of-Life is a good way of describing it, thanks. I have heard of Chuubo's but never read it. I'll give it a look.
  • Can you provide practical examples of board and video games that do thins thing in a way you like?

  • Warning: A handful of non-English RPGs that might be difficult to access for most people here, so I'll try my best to distill the relevant parts down to something useful but can't make any promises.

    So a cluster of my favorite games, Meikyuu Kingdom, Kancolle RPG, and Beginning Idol, all feature significant slice of life elements, and all take a relatively similar approach to how they use them (I also believe they all follow essentially the same line of inspirational DNA, but that's neither here nor there).

    The approach they have in common is heavily procedural gameplay, rolling on tables for random events (as opposed to their content being pre-scripted or prompted by the players' choices), and a kind of "currency + randomness" long-form character building as a main focus of play (in the vein of Classic Traveller character creation, but extended out to whole sessions/campaigns worth of play).

    The random tables driving most of the games are usually arranged as "Scene Prompt -> Skill and Difficulty -> Result of Success/Failure" and the rewards generally feedback into each game's respective currencies, which include things like re-rolls, useful items, ability score boosts, crafting materials, relationships with other characters, and cetera.

    For example: here are Meikyuu Kingdom's "Rest Tables." The game itself is largely a pastiche of dungeon crawling adventure game tropes, but rolling on these tables is one option that characters can choose while resting in between rooms of a dungeon. They function more as cool-down moments between scenes of action/tension, but I think the slice of life feel is still in pretty full effect.

    And here are the tables that make up the core of the Kancolle RPG. For context, this is based on a computer simulation wargame about anthropomorphic WWII warships, and perhaps more specifically on the large volume of fan-made works focusing on the everyday lives of the characters. These table-driven scenes usually make up the bulk of the game, with one or two setpiece battles thrown in inbetween, and spending resources on crafting equipment and/or keeping your characters "life bars" topped up.

    Since you mentioned this very concern, I should point out that this approach does end up feeling exceedingly "boardgamey" at times, owing at least in part to the fact that using slice of life events as opportunities for mechanical character growth begs for a kind of limiter on the number of times you can engage in them (otherwise you could just spam them endlessly and get way too powerful). There's lots of points-juggling, the procedure is the one in the driver's seat, and narrative player input is minimal, often being constrained to choosing between rules-defined options. "Roleplaying" is largely confined to scenery-chewing and descriptive input, and in fact these sections of these games can involve no in-character acting at all, and can just be glossed over save for the rolls and consequences (the Kancolle RPG can even be played solo, and has some published scenarios in the vein of classic CYOA-style gamebooks). I know a lot of people don't desire this amount of disconnect in a role-playing game, though I think it strikes a good compromise in attempting to meaningfully incorporate those small, cozy moments into a greater whole.

    Anyway, sorry if that was disjointed, it's hard trying to talk about games that almost nobody is familiar with and can't just pick up and read themselves to understand. Also sorry that I mentioned Beginning Idol (a game where you play as idol singers) but didn't talk about it, as it may be the most slice-of-lifey of the three; it's essentially zero conflict and all "training, working, and/or hanging out with your friends" and the most "pure" as far as the core of the game being about progressive character building, but I don't have much concrete to share regarding the game, and this post is already getting way too long with information of dubious value. If it seems like it could be fruitful to conversation I could followup on it sometime later though.
  • edited October 2017
    To a certain extent, Ryu Tama does this, and the ancestor, Rêve de Dragon 2e (Oniros). The quests are so pure railroading (you try to redo what you have seen in a dream), so that the Journey is what really matters. Eating a good meal, gathering elements for your recipe, observing natural signs, training, finding a bush of berries, partaking in village life or sleeping in dry clothe are noticed moments of the game.
    The procedures for gathering and crafting (utilitarian or artistic), climate and environment tables, make a big part of the game. This echoes with what Yukamichi said, so it maybe those procedures you are after.
  • edited November 2017
    yukamichi and DeReel thanks so much i'll reply to yours when I'm not on my phone but looks like theres some really good stuff there. I was definitely aware of this being a big thing in many Japanese RPG's so its great to hear your input about those.

    Hasamir Stardew Valley is the only one I think ive played that does the combination of character stories and rpg elements and slice of life play combined in a way that feels similar to what im aiming for. The board game example was more to show that mechanics for these kinds of ostensibly humdrum themes can produce fun gameplay, for example i have a fun game about making a tree garden called arboretum. But I wouldnt point to it as an example of doing this well because i dont think it could integrate very well with rpg play or story elements.
  • Looked a little more at Chuubo's and theres definitely some ideas to investigate there. I like particularly the genre xp actions and emotion xp, I think thats a great way of encouraging certain types of play.
    kind of "currency + randomness" long-form character building as a main focus of play
    yukamichi, firstly your post is exactly what I'm looking for. Secondly, this is really interesting, as this is in line with some of the ideas I had. This idea of constant progression along with resource management and random elements. I'll have to look at the games you mention to see if it is similar to thoughts I've had. At least my thoughts were, in order to make these things interesting they need to have impact. So progression is a good way of creating a fun feedback loop and making these actions important. At the same time, you have to balance this very differently from a lot of RPG progression which confers a significant advantage since it is happening constantly. So you need both meaningful progress, that is small or constrained enough to not snowball after a month of in-fiction play for example.

    Those tables are a cool resource, thanks for that. Interesting to look at, but too prescriptive for me in terms of RPG's. I wonder if this sort of thing could be replaced with a set of GM moves or similar, to try to move away from the board gamey feel and allow for more player choice / input.
    Anyway, sorry if that was disjointed, it's hard trying to talk about games that almost nobody is familiar with and can't just pick up and read themselves to understand.
    Not at all that was great. As for the Beginning Idol game, I'd definitely be interested in hearing more about the ways that it differs from the other two mechanically.
    To a certain extent, Ryu Tama does this, and the ancestor, Rêve de Dragon 2e (Oniros). The quests are so pure railroading (you try to redo what you have seen in a dream), so that the Journey is what really matters. Eating a good meal, gathering elements for your recipe, observing natural signs, training, finding a bush of berries, partaking in village life or sleeping in dry clothe are noticed moments of the game.
    The procedures for gathering and crafting (utilitarian or artistic), climate and environment tables, make a big part of the game. This echoes with what Yukamichi said, so it maybe those procedures you are after.
    I've played one session of Ryu Tama and I did enjoy it, though we got stuck in a time loop and it turned into a bit of a slog repeating the travel rules over and over before we realised. But the GM handled it well and the end of the session was pretty magical. We didn't get that deep into the mechanics though, would you mind giving a quick summary of the gathering and crafting part?

    As for the railroaded quest part, that sounds interesting. My ideal would be a combination of overarching play to find out type quest, and slice of life mechanics. Do you think that having the contrast of a railroaded quest is integral to making the journey matter?
  • The basic design technique you'll want to use to achieve a feel of "everyday activity" in rpgs is book-keeping; it's sort of the tabletop rpg equivalent of the trivial button-pressing routines utilized by video games like Harvest Moon. So theoretically the "Harvest Moon tabletop game" would be one where the players iterate through a garden sheet day by day, updating numbers, checking and unchecking boxes, and making simple decisions about this activity (but mostly going by routine - the intent is not to make daily gardening decisions a harrowing strategy game, but rather to let the player express themself in small ways).

    There are games that utilize this type of activity as part of their aesthetics. Two examples I'll mention here are GURPS and Ars Magica, both of which dedicate significant amounts of player time to calculating stuff and iterating through processes. This works in terms of the game's atmosphere and fiction because the situation the player is calculating on their papers has been firmly established in fictional terms first.
  • Hm, I'm not sure that I want to achieve a feel of "everyday activity". I want the subject to be "everyday activity" but the feel to be... different. I'm not sure, but maybe with more roleplaying/expression. But I think bookkeeping is probably necessary in part.

    The issue with making the feel an "everyday activity" is that it is not necessarily engaging, and probably not something you (read: I) would want to do as the main focus of an rpg.

    I think Stardew Valley, at least, uses a lot of techniques to avoid the farming portions feeling simply like checking and unchecking boxes, and updating numbers. They use sound effects, visual effects, progression, and rewards systems to make this fun. This is the part I'm more interested in. Not the checking and unchecking of a box, but how to make that fun and how particularly we can use roleplaying style play to make it fun. If that makes sense.
  • Like you and Eero both point out, the medium you want to emulate is essentially spreadsheets with an engaging interface (I hope that doesn't sound disparaging, I love these sorts of games too). With that in mind, while I don't think you will find the exact answers you're looking for spelled out, I think that komradebob's "minis+" threads might contain some fruitful ideas about how the physical materials of your game can be used to maintain player engagement.

    Rickard (and other posters, but mostly Rickard) has also made several posts over the years about 4-act "kishotenketsu" structure, something that I believe would be fruitful for constructing stories in no-conflict games. Particularly, I would conjecture that it may be a helpful way for players to contextualize events/actions that seemingly aren't connected to each other through an obvious, pre-stated objective. I'm not sure the extent to which it can be effectively baked into a system, but I do sort of suspect that it might be an issue at play in games that use a lot of random events, in impro-heavy play, and in secret-information games (like The Mountain Witch or Shinobigami).
  • Nevertheless, I stand by what I said. If you haven't played one of these form-filling games, perhaps you're not familiar with the kind of appeal they have. They do precisely the same type of thing as the video games you reference. Doing say magic item crafting in Ars Magica is no less atmospheric than gardening in Harvest Moon. It doesn't have sound effects or visual cues, but it does have other players adding little tidbits of fictional detail to the process, and talking about what your character should get as a Christmas present now that they're spending another Christmas working on that one and the same project, and so on. The game has been constructed intentionally so that it requires and rewards the player for working on pretty concrete, superficial atmospheric bits, such as whether this magic item you're working on has a wooden or metallic haft. It is very much the rpg equivalent of gardening.

    Try some Ars Magica, just for context. Perhaps it'll help you figure out that you want to do it in some entirely different way.
  • To a certain extent, Ryu Tama does this,
    Ryuutama

  • Like you and Eero both point out, the medium you want to emulate is essentially spreadsheets with an engaging interface...
    You could say something similar about D&D. The whole trick is to build that engaging interface. Creating small conflicts about resource management, abstracting the resource management enough that it isn't tedious to manage on paper, generating fictional rewards that inspire the player, and so on.
  • Ryuutama uses resources in a video-game style. The economy goes through the hoops of money, objects, climate, food, moral and health. Objects are bought, gathered or produced and transported or used. It is very simple like 1 GP = X Mana Point = = a +1 object = 1 encumbrance load.

    More realistic, Rêve 1e and Oniros (Rêve 2e) make you list your luggage in one page of "bag that contains "vial that contains (...)"" mini-game

    Gathering and crafting is more complex in Oniros and Rêve 1e.
    I will link the Encyclopedy I gathered on those two, so you can see how it works. It's in french, but the format will speak for itself : tons of tables, mineralogy, zoology ans botany tomes, culinary and alchemical recipes. Not very complicated in itself (stats x skill roll modified by climate, area, equipment, etc.). You begin heavy bookkeeping when you prepare magical artifacts (way of Narcos), which require various operations and good materia prima. For those characters, the "quest" looks like a downtime...

    The games encourage you to produce objects of artistic or culinary value and invest in gourmet and art appreciation skills, as they are the gateway to raising moral.

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bxd73wGR6qX2Q2YxZk9PM1ozcXc
    Enjoy.
  • edited November 2017
    yukamichi I'll check out that thread some more and look for those posts, thanks for the pointers. Yeah i dont expect to find the exact answers anywhere, any info or thoughts on these topics is welcome and of interest.
    Nevertheless, I stand by what I said. If you haven't played one of these form-filling games, perhaps you're not familiar with the kind of appeal they have.
    ...
    Try some Ars Magica, just for context. Perhaps it'll help you figure out that you want to do it in some entirely different way.
    Ah ok, Ive played a bit of GURPS the other game you mentioned but maybe ars magica is a better example / i didnt interact with the bits of gurps youre referring to. I suppose im more interested in the mechanics of adding those fictional tidbits. Ill read some ars magica regardless, thanks for your responses Eero!


    You could say something similar about D&D. The whole trick is to build that engaging interface. Creating small conflicts about resource management, abstracting the resource management enough that it isn't tedious to manage on paper, generating fictional rewards that inspire the player, and so on.
    This is my thinking. A character sheet is already a series of spreadsheets, and in combat youre checking off spent resources (arrows, spells) and depleting or increasing others (damage, healing) but it doesnt feel like thats all your doing. I wouldnt call d&d combat a spreadsheet mechanic, its a variety of mechanics supported by a spreadsheet. Maybe the other mechanics like ars magica dont feel like that either, though, and im just being thrown off by terminology.
  • edited November 2017
    Ryuutama uses resources in a video-game style. The economy goes through the hoops of money, objects, climate, food, moral and health. Objects are bought, gathered or produced and transported or used. It is very simple like 1 GP = X Mana Point = = a +1 object = 1 encumbrance load.

    More realistic, Rêve 1e and Oniros (Rêve 2e) make you list your luggage in one page of "bag that contains "vial that contains (...)"" mini-game

    Gathering and crafting is more complex in Oniros and Rêve 1e.
    I will link the Encyclopedy I gathered on those two, so you can see how it works. It's in french, but the format will speak for itself : tons of tables, mineralogy, zoology ans botany tomes, culinary and alchemical recipes. Not very complicated in itself (stats x skill roll modified by climate, area, equipment, etc.). You begin heavy bookkeeping when you prepare magical artifacts (way of Narcos), which require various operations and good materia prima. For those characters, the "quest" looks like a downtime...

    The games encourage you to produce objects of artistic or culinary value and invest in gourmet and art appreciation skills, as they are the gateway to raising moral.

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bxd73wGR6qX2Q2YxZk9PM1ozcXc
    Enjoy.
    Ok! Interesting about the differences; good comparison. Thanks for that link, I did a bit of french at university so might be a good test of my vocabulary too.

    E: Oh wow this is very finely detailed
  • edited November 2017
    The level of detail is due to :
    - a monster manual effect : species created as narrative devices
    - a biotech world : species created as resources (tincture, food, riding beasts, etc.)
    - a world of language : in France we pick mushrooms. So there are the rare ones everybody knows, the common ones everybody knows, the ones that look like the other ones, the not so well known (finding them communicates your skill), and so on. GM and players produced a quantity of birds, vegetables, fish, etc. The creator of Rêve made it easy for GM and players to create this ecology, in a way "a world of words" (most species are created via puns and porte-manteaus). So it's a place we populate and inhabit.
  • Something very similar idea is haunting my for years. I narrowed it down to 'doing Ars Magica right', but i see the connection with your vision of gardening.

    I dont have the answer but I think I've found a key aspect which is 'phases'.

    In Mouseguard you go on GM written missions and collect points to be able to do what you want in the player's phases.

    Blades in the Dark is the same.

    In my zombie parkour game players had to leave their shelter and go outside (GM phase, around an hour) to collect things which can improve their characters and develop their community (Players phase, around half an hour). After the second session I realized that the players are more into the freeform community developement part and what it means for them than the running and scavenging phase.

    So it's possible to design a game where the slice of life phase is quick but also a lot of thing happens in it (chores). Which could lead to player driven life events (marriage, etc.) in the player's phase.

    With random tables it's very easy to make the chores phase fresh and diverse. Here I think Fiasco and Protocol.

    I immediately envisioned my draft version of your dream game:
    1. In every season there are two phases: slice of life and life events.
    2. In the first phase every farmer has to narrate 3 'vignette' style scenes.
    3.A If the topics of scene are rolled on the season chart, the player gets a token. For example: pumpkin + pests. Or sunshine + watering.
    3.B If the player wants to invent a scene, she has to pay a token for it.
    4. After the 3-3 farmer vignette scene, the life event phase starts.
    5. Each player can direct one scene which must be about some life turning event. It can be a sudden realization, a fight between two farmers or anything like that. It's possible that these scene types can function as minigames in The King is Dead.
  • Great thoughts @hamnacb . The phases and the receiving a token for season chart / paying token for your own scene seem like they are good ideas. If I were to generalise those ideas, I'd say they both have an aspect of injecting scarcity into the personal projects / moments the players want to see for their character. This can give weight to the decision of what they want to do, even if what they're deciding to do is something small like nursing a lost animal back to health.

    I like what you've done in your example game with this, where one of the ways to buy time for your little personal projects is to create other slice of life scenes, which means the players want to do the smaller slice of life scenes in order to buy the other scenes they want to do. Creates a nice feedback loop of a series of slice-of-life scenes as opposed to other games where the more adventurey bits are what buy you slice-of-life scenes.

    Also general update, I'm looking into ars magica and I've purchased Chuubo's to read. Thanks for those suggestions.

  • edited November 2017
    I don't know how to talk about this without going really heavy into game theory. I will avoid it, and instead mention some tidbits from the thread.

    Thanks for the link to Ryutaama, Adam.

    A feedback loop is a must, if you want to increase engagement, because that increase will result in flow/investment/immersion.

    The play style is totally different than from any other kind of roleplaying game. It's more about discover the meaning. When playing Psychodrame for the first time, the pitch included French social realism, and my interest died a little bit. The game play were about having loong pauses and take time to establish anything. We did the setup, which included tensions in a family, and the first scene were about the dad - that we knew were absent from the family - sitting and sighing over a cup of tea, while wrestling with (any kind of) thoughts and looking at a photo. The scene were a couple of minutes long but the rest of the participants were still engaged in the scene. We all asked the question "Why?". We wanted to discover the meaning of this scene.

    As been mentioned before, kishotenketsu. In the Korean movie Memories of Murder, that is based on a real story about an unsolved crime, it's not about finding out who did it but about how the detective thought. In the Korean movie Hope, it's not about finding out who sexually molested the child (a horrific backdrop), but how the family coped with the situation afterwards (a sweet story). It's more about understanding how other people think, than solving conflicts. When you realize that, what felt like slow and pointless Korean, Chinese and Japanese movies, at first, turned out to be perspective changing or out-of-body experiences.

    This is why the pitch for Imagine is "Get immersed in the fiction, as you explore fictive people's memories and hopes".

    What I'm saying is that the game should make you to need to wonder what the other person's contribution (or random table) will lead to.
  • I don't know how to talk about this without going really heavy into game theory.
    I'm actually really interested to hear about the theory, if you're willing to share. I'm trying to build my knowledge on the subject. If you don't want to go into it too deeply, could you recommend some reading for those of us who want to learn more?

  • I'm actually really interested to hear about the theory, if you're willing to share. I'm trying to build my knowledge on the subject. If you don't want to go into it too deeply, could you recommend some reading for those of us who want to learn more?
    I'd welcome it as well, if you're willing. Though I might not fully understand it, I'm sure it will be nontheless interesting and highlight areas that I can investigate further.



    The play style is totally different than from any other kind of roleplaying game. It's more about discover the meaning. When playing Psychodrame for the first time, the pitch included French social realism, and my interest died a little bit. The game play were about having loong pauses and take time to establish anything. We did the setup, which included tensions in a family, and the first scene were about the dad - that we knew were absent from the family - sitting and sighing over a cup of tea, while wrestling with (any kind of) thoughts and looking at a photo. The scene were a couple of minutes long but the rest of the participants were still engaged in the scene. We all asked the question "Why?". We wanted to discover the meaning of this scene.

    ...

    What I'm saying is that the game should make you to need to wonder what the other person's contribution (or random table) will lead to.
    Thanks for this contribution, interesting stuff here I've picked out a few things.

    I'm definitely going to read Imagine, thanks for that link.

    For Psychodrame, I'm interested if the game has guidelines or mechanics that help you create those engaging scenes, and what sorts of things it does to achieve that.

    This last point is interesting, and not something I'd really considered when imagining games like this. Do you think that the wondering is enough for a game? Or should there be some amount of resolution where the meaning is eventually made more clear. I imagine that leaving it unresolved could work well for shorter games where you can let the ambiguity be something you leave the game with and each have different ideas about, while for longer games you would want the meanings to come together or be made clear through other scenes, while introducing more scenes with unresolved meaning. Though these are just throw at the wall thoughts.
  • One of the first games that I can think of that did something like this was Pendragon. The characters went on one (or two adventures) a year. There was a winter phases where daily life things where supposed to happen, like feasts and births of children, etc. If you were a noble with lands, there was quite a lot of daily life stuff as you developed your lands that was important in the game system. And players were meant to continue playing the characters of their starting characters' sons and/or daughters and later their grandchildren. "Lineage play", I guess you could call it.
  • One of the first games that I can think of that did something like this was Pendragon. The characters went on one (or two adventures) a year. There was a winter phases where daily life things where supposed to happen, like feasts and births of children, etc. If you were a noble with lands, there was quite a lot of daily life stuff as you developed your lands that was important in the game system. And players were meant to continue playing the characters of their starting characters' sons and/or daughters and later their grandchildren. "Lineage play", I guess you could call it.
    Oh yes, good point! I remember looking at this game before to try to figure out the system for this stuff. I think I only skimmed through though.
  • "Heroes of the Hearth" involves lots of slice of life exploration of the everyday. It's in "seven wonders: a storygame anthology" We play the characters who have been left behind in the village after the adventurers have gone on their epic campaign.
    I Haven't gotten it to the table yet, but it's such a great concept and reads like a game that would work very well!
    Davey
  • "Heroes of the Hearth" involves lots of slice of life exploration of the everyday. It's in "seven wonders: a storygame anthology" We play the characters who have been left behind in the village after the adventurers have gone on their epic campaign.
    I Haven't gotten it to the table yet, but it's such a great concept and reads like a game that would work very well!
    Davey
    Thanks davey I'll check it out
  • edited November 2017
    I'm definitely going to read Imagine, thanks for that link.
    Imagine can't sadly be read. It has to be played to be fully understood. It's like trying to explain roleplaying games for someone who hasn't played it. It can even be a disadvantage to read Imagine if you played roleplaying games before. The game is really that different (which surprised me, but I didn't even know if Imagine was going to be fun at all when I first wrote it. It's the result from me testing my Theory of Engagement, where it should theoretically work on paper but I had no idea if it would work in practice).
    For Psychodrame, I'm interested if the game has guidelines or mechanics that help you create those engaging scenes, and what sorts of things it does to achieve that.
    From what I can remember, and the game is (online but) in French so I can't look it up, Psychodrame doesn't do anything except giving guidelines. But other than that, it gives expectations through the setup. That's how you make someone wonder.
    This last point is interesting, and not something I'd really considered when imagining games like this. Do you think that the wondering is enough for a game? Or should there be some amount of resolution where the meaning is eventually made more clear. I imagine that leaving it unresolved could work well for shorter games where you can let the ambiguity be something you leave the game with and each have different ideas about, while for longer games you would want the meanings to come together or be made clear through other scenes, while introducing more scenes with unresolved meaning. Though these are just throw at the wall thoughts.
    I wrote more about creating curiosity in Curiosity Thrilled the Cat. A piece from that thread: "Marc LeBlanc states that to create drama, you need two things: uncertainty and inevitability. The latter is '...sense that the game will eventually end, that there will eventually be a resolution'." (btw, Past, Present, Future - that I mention in that thread - was the working name for Imagine.)

    But to answer your question. I think wondering is enough for a game, but only for one particular playstyle.
  • (I often use Imagine in my improv class as a way to focus the student's attention, improve their imagination and sensibility about tone and details).
  • Rickard,

    I haven't yet played Imagine, so it's possible that I "don't get it". However, I find the text very evocative and the examples really help establish the kind of play you're going for.

    For me, at least - again, unless my imagination is totally misleading me here - the text you've put together very clearly creates a sense of what the game is like.

    (By the way, you have a phrase in there - "consisting people" - which doesn't make sense. Is that a typo, perhaps? It's in the "Future" section.)

    This thread has reminded me that I should really try playing the game; it appeals to me very much "on paper", and I'd like to try it in real life.
  • Rickard,

    I haven't yet played Imagine, so it's possible that I "don't get it". However, I find the text very evocative and the examples really help establish the kind of play you're going for.

    For me, at least - again, unless my imagination is totally misleading me here - the text you've put together very clearly creates a sense of what the game is like.

    (By the way, you have a phrase in there - "consisting people" - which doesn't make sense. Is that a typo, perhaps? It's in the "Future" section.)

    This thread has reminded me that I should really try playing the game; it appeals to me very much "on paper", and I'd like to try it in real life.
    Agreed here, I got a lot out of reading it. I'm sure play is a different experience altogether of course, but, perhaps due to the context you've given it in this thread or my experience with improv, it made a lot of sense just through reading.
  • I'm not trying to imply that people are too stupid that they can't understand my game or the structure of my game. :) It's however one thing to read and another to see it all comes together in an emergent way while playing.

    But yeah, with an improv background, it's very likely that you understand the emotions and feelings of flow you can get out of the experience of playing Imagine. I have been reading and drawing a lot inspiration from Keith Johnstone's Improv.
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