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DanMaruschak

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  • For that reason, I do very much feel that the GM in these games is an active and conscious participant in the creative goals of the game. And if I was arguing that they weren't an active participant then this might mean we disagree. But I'm not ar…
  • While I follow what you're saying, wasn't your curiosity in formulating those situations away of posing moral questions? Here's an analogy: deciding to write a murder mystery novel is an aesthetic expression about form. But if you're writing a chara…
  • Also, I made a blog post about my criticisms of Positioning and Currency that I mentioned earlier in this thread.
  • I like your distinction of "meaningful", being partially a creative gauge and partially a social measure. It doesn't sound all that distinct from the Big Model's take on things, to me, but maybe a nice slightly different perspective and set of vocab…
  • When I was formulating my theory I made a conscious choice to focus on meaningfulness rather than "reward" for a few reasons. First, what exactly a reward is can be hard to pin down. I was thinking of games like the computer game X-Com which has a b…
  • Early in the thread someone asked about Big Model criticisms that weren't GNS-focused, so I'll toss out a few: With the stances, calling it Actor Stance has led at least some people (e.g. the hosts of The JankCast) to investigate the techniques of s…
  • Yes, the ReForged approval process is mostly to keep out spam accounts or sometimes people who don't seem like they're really interested in the Community's subject matter (e.g. app or video game developers who don't seem to have any interest in non-…
  • But what are a traditional GM's aims in play? They're all social -- the fiction poses no challenge or obstacle. So the only button a GM is going to want to press is one that earns consistent excitement or appreciation from the players. Sounds lik…
  • The skill-system-as-conflict-resolution mechanism that you see in games like Burning Wheel is one way that some games handle this: the pressure to use the mechanics to resolve important things encourages the group to synchronize on either "what we'r…
  • I thought that making it private rather than public would give it a more "participatory" than "broadcast" vibe, since both approaches are possible on G+. I also thought it would make moderation seem more legit than if it was a public forum, if I nee…
  • I just created a Google+ community: ReForged: An RPG Design Community of the Old Forge Renaissance, more info at the link. While I'm not certain it will end up any better than things that have been tried before, I felt like it was worth the effort t…
  • There's a reason why this isn't happening More than one, and not the one you seem to assume, but I don't think I can respond in more depth without getting snarky, so I'll need to drop out of the thread in order to satisfy my self-imposed no-snark ru…
  • The problem with the "illusion of choice" approach is that when Player 1 thinks that something is meaningful and Player 2 doesn't it can easily lead to a breakdown in the game. First, if the person whose fun was predicated on believing they made mea…
  • 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 ha…
  • Final Hour of a Storied Age, which I haven't played, seems to have a hard-coded general act structure which is then customized by the group. (Please correct me if I'm wrong, @DanMaruschak ) Eh, not exactly. In Storied Age the protagonist and antago…
  • DITV caring "a medium amount" seems right to me. That wasn't how I read your original comment, which I thought was implying it barely cared at all.
  • Usually when we talk about something like this there's always somebody who tells us that of course Dust Devils or Dogs in the Vineyard or whatever cares about fictional positioning, but to me it's pretty obvious that these games specifically only co…
  • Yes. "Positioning" in RPGs plays the same role that position plays in all games. If we're playing soccer and I have the ability to alter the terrain or the boundary lines then the importance of your position on the field is extremely attenuated. If …
  • Here is a blog post I wrote a few months ago which tries to link some ideas from some psychology research papers I read about humor to the field of game design, although it's more conceptual than concrete and practical.
  • One of the problems with interpreting self-reports of things is that not everyone has the same baseline, e.g. my "negative" may not be the same as someone else's "negative", and it's hard to get a good objective overview of your own actions. I think…
  • When I read an in-development draft I try to keep the mindset that the question I'm primarily trying to answer is "would I be able to run/play this game?" and not worry about making conclusions like "is this a good game?", "how does this compare to …
  • There's some entrenched emotionality in gamer culture over whether a role is called a GM. Historically, more than a few games gave their GM's cutesy names while being functionally identical, which invited a "find the GM!" backlash in the way many pe…
  • I think the "invulnerable dragon" and "attacking helpless victims" corner-cases tend to cast too big a shadow over this. The common case is that monsters are both dangerous and vulnerable to the equally dangerous PCs. That means that Hack & Slas…
  • [...] seems like treating the symptom rather than the cause. I don't disagree. So what do you see as the cause, and how might it be treated? I think the root cause is one of player alignment/stance toward the game. DW does a good job of aligning the…
  • Well, that's the default mode in Apocalypse World Yes, the setting of the original game facilitated the gameplay. Dungeon World is a good game, and can be fun. If the participants aren't playing the way the game needs them to play it isn't fun, and…
  • I haven't run DW myself, but shouldn't the "safety-seeking" characters cause the various Fronts to advance until they intersect with the characters? For instance, if the characters are boarded up in some house up the hill from the village, shouldn'…
  • Ricardo, don't overlook the fact that the GM makes moves. Players don't get to just load up on advantages in preparation for the GM's monster.Sure, first they will try it on the spot and get slammed with a move by the GM. Next time, they'll try to d…
  • I agree that "fictional" vs. "real world" is not necessarily a great way to think about the clouds/boxes distinction, but I do think the clouds/boxes thing at least raised some interesting questions and is talking about an interesting and important …
  • So it seems like a core reason to do an ashcan ... is to signal potential playtesters or customers that this is a project that will complete. I think I had the opposite impression. I thought it was supposed to be a signal that the project was at a …
  • While there's no direct mechanical input path from the "extra description" associated with a DW move, the fact that there's no formalized initiative system or monster actions means there's a lot more impact from ephemeral stuff like the ebb-and-flow…
  • This is perhaps a quibble and kind of a sidetrack to the discussion, but whether or not a Dungeon World move gets invoked is not a decision for the GM alone: Everyone at the table should listen for when moves apply. If it’s ever unclear if a move ha…
  • I'm not sure you actually disagree with the clouds and boxes thing, except perhaps by reading too much into the "fiction first" catchphrase. Read page 12 of Apocalypse World, it is very explicit that the fiction and mechanics always go together and …
  • It occurs to me that the game I've been working on since last year, Getting There in Time, might be easily adapted to Chtulhu play. I think of it as a standalone game which has some mechanics inspired by Apocalypse World, but I've long suspected tha…
  • Y'know, I have no idea which games were technically released in 2012. Is that info conveniently available somewhere? It's probably not perfect, but you could probably do an RPGGeek search: like this. I can't think of anything in their database that…
  • In East Bear Creek it seems like nearly everything is about the Steward escalating the situation, which makes him kind of the tentpole of all the tension -- if he is removed a lot of it goes away. What I found with the town creation process is that …
  • I don't know if this was exactly Vincent's intention, but I think the advantage is in excising the problematic "is this interesting?" question. I hate feeling judgmental about other people's contributions. I'm much more comfortable with categorizing…
  • I designed Brick & Mortar: Last of the Independents for a design contest. It's a satirical game about retail stores wrapped in the guise of a survival-horror-comedy scenario set in a failing retail store. I was trying to do some funky stuff with…
  • I think it was probably a mistake for this site to have "job board" style functionality at all. I think the vision of the site was that it wanted to be an analog for PayPal, i.e. a financial backend for people who were already interacting with each …
  • How much throat clearing and "uhm..." when people are thinking about a response should I leave in? I think that people stop sounding natural if you cut out all of these. When I edited AP I would try to chop out multiples (so "um... errr... ah..." wo…
  • Every game with character creation?
  • The best RPG podcasts right now are Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff and The Jank Cast. (The Jank Cast is more interested in the kind of games I like and also put out really good AP content, but Ken and Robin have a well-produced show with sharp and e…
  • Now I'm not sure anymore if you're saying that it's problematic, and "hole-like" seems to have morphed into sheer randomness, based on the poker example above. But maybe it's just a bad example. Callan believes that "the fiction" is meaningless nons…
  • As a community of designers and players, we'll do well to keep sharing our best practices and ideas about how to playtest and what to watch out for. I have a blog post where I tried to distill what I consider some good practices for game development…
  • I'll drop my general point here: with those things I can define criteria that is a non-subjective as anything in the world. Can withstand a 9.8 earthquake. Nine nines of reliability. etc. Would you have said that about airplanes if you were hanging…
  • I'll drop my general point here: with those things I can define criteria that is a non-subjective as anything in the world. Can withstand a 9.8 earthquake. Nine nines of reliability. etc. Would you have said that about airplanes if you were hanging…
  • They're not software or buildings or airplanes. Why do you believe these things are innately testable and other things are not? (I agree with you that quantity of testing is a terrible metric.)
  • Don't judge quality by measuring the inputs. It's not reliable. "Spent $X on consultants". "Playtested N times". "In editing for Y months". These are not good metrics for a financial backer or a designer to care about. A million poorly conducted pla…
  • he's right that you have to describe your play in a way that the GM will agree, "Yep, that's Go Aggro" based on the GM's understanding of what that move means. AW intentionally moves away from the "who decides?" paradigm and embraces the "how is thi…
  • So, sure, technically he's right about the mechanism for triggering actions in fiction-first games. No, he's technically right that it's possible to play incorrectly and not have your incorrect (cheating?) play immediately detected. So? Treating "th…