Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

origins report

So I had a great time at origins. I played in a few games, picked up a few books that had been recommended to me. Had a chance to meet up with paul and discuss our games.

He brought up a question i had a hard time answering: what do i want my game to feel like (or what do I want a session of my game to be like). I was able to answer, but not as confidently as I would have liked. Fred Hicks said he wanted his game to feel like an “over-caffinated insomniac,” which I thought was pretty appropriate having played game.

So what do I want my game experience to feel like? Empathy was one of the first things that came to mind. I want to have players feel something for their characters and the other characters at the table. I don’t quite know where I’m going with this yet. I might be rambling a little (I just got out of the con as I’m writing this). I’ll write more when I figure it out a little better.

The other thing I wanted to focus on expanding a little more was game framing; what happens between the beginning and end of game. I think I’ve got this built in to the game already because of how secrets work. I’d like to refine it more.

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July 8, 2007 - Posted by | Kingdom of Nothing

5 Comments »

  1. I’m glad to know our lunch conversation was useful. There’s one thing that you said that I especially want everyone else to hear. When I was asking about what you want the experience of playing your game was like, you commented that this is really the same thing as the first question of the Big 3. I agree, and I think this is important. When designing a game, you should know how you want it to feel. When I was at OrcCon in February, I got to playtest a dice game with board game designer extraordinaire Reiner Knizia. At one point during the game, right when I was feeling like it was taking too long, he turned to me and said, “Should the game be over now?” After we finished, we kicked around some suggestions about how to change the game. He rejected a number of suggestions because they were good but “not for this game.” It was obvious to me that he had a clear idea of what the experience of the game he was trying to make should be like, and he was focused on making that happen at the table. I think this can be hard to figure out at first, but the nuances of rules can be a distraction too early on. I was fortunate to have a conversion with John Wick and Joshua BishopRoby at that same convention that shook loose a bunch of thoughts that have served me well in that regard.

    So, to bring this back around, it seems to me that you do have an idea of what you want the game to be about, and as you refine how to articulate it, you’ll figure out how to fix your rules problems.

    Comment by ptevis | July 9, 2007 | Reply

  2. When you say “I want my game to feel like empathy”, I start to wonder, “Hmmmm… enforced immersion?”

    Discuss. šŸ™‚

    Comment by fredhicks | July 15, 2007 | Reply

  3. Interesting…

    I consider myself to be a pretty immersive player. I larp more than I play tabletop, and when I do play TT rpgs I tend to bring a lot of elements of larp to it.

    This got me to start breaking down systems I find to be more immersive than others (my defenition of immersion is identifying with your character as much as you can, similar to method acting).

    Can every game be immersive? yes, but some do it better. I really feel like the defining element that makes some games do it better than others is the amount of mechanics and rolling. I have a hard time identifying and really getting into my character if I have to keep rolling to see if he’s able to do something.

    that’s why I almost feel like ‘forced immersion’ is an oxymoron. Anytime the rules interupt the flow of the game to say “get back into character!” they’re doing more harm than good. “Encouraged immersion” however, is an entirely different story.

    I do really want players to create characters they can identify with. I’ve played with having them inject parts of themselves into their concepts, but it hasn’t created any real results to speak of. Maybe this is because none of the playtests have gone over the first game though. I know that usually the first game I play I’m so preoccupied with learning the rules and settling into my character I can’t indentify with him yet.

    There are other things in there encouraging immersion too, like players being able to give tokens to reward elements others are bringing to the table they think are cool. I tried this during the playtest but the tokens weren’t flowing as freely as I would have liked. Maybe it was because the rest of the system was a mess. It’s something I haven’t abandoned yet.

    There could be other things I could work in along these lines, mainly because this is probobly the most rewarding aspect of role-playing games in my opinion, and I want my game to be an outlet for those who feel the same way.

    Comment by jhimmelman | July 15, 2007 | Reply

  4. Have you ever looked at John Tynes’ game Puppetland? There’s a certain amount of “enforced” immersion there, in that nothing in the game can be described in an out of character voice — it sort of forces you to (wait for it) get seriously immersed *as a puppet*.

    Comment by fredhicks | July 15, 2007 | Reply

  5. Here’s a link to Puppetland in HTML form: http://johntynes.com/revland2000/rl_puppetland_www.html

    Comment by fredhicks | July 15, 2007 | Reply


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