June 4, 2006: 7:34 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

Vincent’s big scary claim:

Character ownership arises from system. Character ownership does not underlie system.

That’s it?

That’s it.

That may be it, but he does take the time to explain what he means, and it’s an interesting way of looking at character ownership. In short, Vincent says that while character ownership may not be an illusion from either an actual play perspective or even a system design perspective, it is an illusion from “the point of view of a technical description of roleplaying.” It might not sound like much of a difference, but it’s an important one (at least for purposes of game theory).

May 23, 2006: 9:25 pm: Cons

I sent out the player lists and game assignments for The Black Road 2006 this evening, about two weeks ahead of schedule. It certainly is nice when things go relatively smoothly, and now there shouldn’t be much for me to do until just before the con itself.

Except, of course, for preparing for the games I’m going to be running.

May 17, 2006: 9:38 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

As has often been the case with game theory, it’s Vincent who makes me finally feel like I get it.

I suggest, finally, that push/pull is a big deal. It’s a true development – nobody should read me as saying “we already thought of this, let’s be comfortable.” A week ago, if you’d asked me whether we can and should examine Drama resolution in at-the-End vs. in-the-Middle terms, I’d’ve shrugged: “we can, but should we? Neh. Why bother? It’ll just be basically the same as Fortune.” I’ve said such things on the Forge. I was DEAD WRONG.

In fact, push/pull has given me, understood this way, whole new insights into my group’s long-term Ars Magica freeform game. Expect a comprehensive post here about that game’s breakdown. When I find the time.

It’s basically what Vincent came up with in reponse to Brand’s recent post, taken further (and with examples). Excellent.

Of course, in comments people argue that Vincent really hasn’t pinned push/pull down at all, so I may still not understand.

May 14, 2006: 8:45 pm: Game systems

After a long period of silence, there’s a welcome update about the status of The Dresden Files RPG:

For the impatient, let me say it up front and early: The Dresden Files RPG will be published, and is still under active development effort. Our timetable has slipped, and we’ll probably see it coming out towards the end of this year. We’re very sorry about this delay, but we appreciate your patience.

Now as to the details…

I’m still really looking forward to this, and I’m glad they aren’t even attempting to try and rush it out before GenCon.

: 8:41 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

There’ve been attempts over on Story Games to bring the whole push-pull thing back onto the front burner, so Mo has taken another shot at defining what she meant.

Here are your no-nonsense definitions:

Push is an assertion of individual authority.

Pull is a directed solicitation for collaborative buy-in and input.

After reading her post, and looking through some of the discussion, I think I’m pretty sure this isn’t something that’s going to be useful for me personally. Judging by some of what I read, I’m not the only one who feels that way.

ETA: Brand has an excellent post that builds on this in important ways. Be sure to read the comments too. Vincent manages to clarify some things quite nicely (at least for me). Very cool.

: 8:34 pm: Miscellaneous

Here’s the shortlist for the 2006 Diana Jones Award:

The Gamechef game-design competition
Irish games convention charity auctions
Magic the Gathering, 9th edition (Wizards of the Coast)
Perplex City (Mind Candy Ltd)
Spycraft 2.0 by Patrick Kapera, et al (Alderac Entertainment Group)
Twilight Struggle by Ananda Gupta and Jason Matthews (GMT Games)

I’m not really sure how you can compare a game design contest to a collectible card game to a charity auction, so I have no idea at all which of the nominees is likely to win, but I still think it’s pretty cool that Game Chef made the list.

May 7, 2006: 8:54 pm: Cons

The last game for The Black Road 2006 has been submitted (by me), the game schedule has been decided on, and the game selection form has been finished. Now I just need to get the game book put together and posted….

May 3, 2006: 10:10 pm: Game systems

This looks like a pretty cool idea.

Truth or Scar (a scary little PBP game)

“Prof. Stanson has found a set of curious scrolls and tomes of unknown antiquity and origin. Luckily, one of them appears to be a tranlation to a peculiar precursor of Latin which he specializes in. Feverishly working backwards he is able to decipher fair portions of the other materials.”

(my friend narrates the “weird occurance”)

“He falls into a vision- he seeks an island and it’s inhabitants, all engaged in a festival- no, more ordered than that- a ritual. A dance, a chant… a spell. The Island disappears, and in a remote part of Russia, the Island crashes to the earth.”

(at this point, I choose Scar, to give my friend an example…)

“Awakening from his dream, he realizes that one of the scrolls he has been translating is a copy of that very spell. And, that the strange hand postures he saw in his vision were only possible to a person possessing 6 fingers… It is with that realization that a sharp pain begins in the center of his left palm, shooting to the webbing between his ring and middle finger, before a new growth begins to seek its way out, bone and muscle forcing its way into place, like his hand is splitting slowly. The new finger twitches and sort of nestles its place comfortably…”

Guess we’ll see if it get developed further, but I certainly like what he’s got so far.

April 24, 2006: 9:14 pm: Miscellaneous

Over on Livejournal, Madeline has posted a really long discussion on specific things to do to better include women in gaming, in which she draws parallels between a study of gender inequality in British physics departments and the world of gaming. There’s lots of good stuff in there, though I did get snagged here and there on some of the generalizations.

I also wished that she hadn’t chosen to use Story Games as her example of a board community, since I’ve found it to be a unique and odd place to which several of her suggestions can’t actually be applied (for example, most anything involving diversity among mods, since Andy is the one and only). I get that much of the recent commentary on inclusiveness got started because of a thread there, but I still don’t think it was the best choice for an example.

On the substance of the issue though, I agree with the overall goal of trying to make gaming more inclusive of women (and lots of other folks). It seems kind of obvious. At the same time, I can see why people might reflexively defend a community they’re a part of when it gets accused of not being welcoming enough, and there were unhelpful comments on both sides of the debate in various parts of the internets. Let’s hope that the reasonable people can have a discussion that actually gets us somewhere.

And no, I hadn’t really intended to end up with what is in large part a “me too” post, but I decided I didn’t want to get involved in debating certain people either.

April 23, 2006: 10:04 pm: Miscellaneous

Indie Press Revolution is having a May Day sale, which means 20% off everything from April 23 until May 6!

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