Archive for September 3rd, 2006

September 3, 2006: 7:59 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

Ben Lehman (creator of Polaris) talks about designing RPGs in terms of social context.

It’s also important to realize that these are, explicitly, design concerns, reaching through creative and technical agendas and operating at all levels of a text. This is not a simple case of going “okay, this game is going to be outreach to non-gamers” and then feeling good about yourself. To function, your social context level goals have to completely suffuse every game design decision you make. And even then it might not work (more about that later.)

It’s interesting stuff, whether you’re designing a game or not.

: 4:23 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

I finally got around to reading the “Big Gencon stakes discussion” thread over on Story Games, which is based on things Ron Edwards had to say at the con about the idea of “stakes.”

As is often the case with things Ron says, it’s the comments and questions from others that really help lead me toward understanding just what he’s talking about, and in this case there are especially illuminating contributions from John Harper, Nathan Paoletta and a few more. I had some definite “Oh, I get it now!” moments while I was reading.

If you’re at all interested in setting “stakes” in RPGs, either as a player or a game designer, it’s well worth the time it’ll take to get through.

ETA: There’re also some good points on the same topic in this Forge thread.