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I wanted to comment on some of Eero's observations, specifically this idea of parlor narration and what he calls this bunch of "strongly structural story games." I have noticed that there are a lot of new(ish) games out there that subscribe to a similar design philosophy. At times I've derisively called it "wind-up toy" design. I realize that I use that term more as a way to express my personal preferences, and that a lot of people like this type of game (to each his own).Let's discuss this! As a wind-up toy fanboy I'd like to, anyway.
Typically, these games rely on a bunch of structured techniques that move the players through a set of somewhat scripted events. At the end, you have something you can call a story. There isn't as much room/need for the hard creative input that more open-ended designs provide. As a result, it seems to me that the games are less concerned about learning something thematically important about your fellow players as it is about simply sharing a common experience with them (i.e., playing the game). As Eero puts it, it's about the act of shared narration ("to tell stories and nothing more") more than any other creative goal.
Another common thing I've noticed is that these games all produce similar output with different groups of people. So if Group A plays the game, they can then talk about their experiences with Group B in a very similar way. It's not only about sharing the experience with the members of your own group, but about being able to describe a similar experience to everyone else who has played the game.
My questions are somewhat similar to Eero's. Why the trend toward this "wind-up" type design? What's the attraction? Is there a real desire for this type of play? Is it because it's creatively easier? Is it a board game influence?
My goal is not to bash anyone here, just to find out what's up.