Okay, thought for the day (which I thought the lovely people here could help me refine!) - all rules and table stuff (for me!) come down to either:
- Agreement, or
Any rule or table moment (“story speed bump,” if you will) ends up being about resolving an issue one or the other, for me. I’m meditating on how to categorize all the things I do as a GM AND designer using these two as catch-all.
Some quick examples:
A kid wants to play a Pokemon in a game - and insists that he can only say his own name. This is about both agreement and engagement - his insistence on playing a Pokemon is about engaging in the story: “If I can’t play this character, I don’t want to engage!”
My response was about agreement AND a bit of a lesson on engagement (in story games, I think you sometimes can add “Yes, but” to the “Yes, and” approach, as in “here’s the condition you’ll need to meet if that’s a requirement for you”):
“Okay, but if you can only say your name, you may have a hard time engaging in the story - getting into scenes, having opinions, figuring out who you are, and so on. If you REALLY don’t want to be able to talk, it’ll be a challenge! You’ll have to figure out OTHER ways to engage - describe how you act and look and HOW you say your name in ways that help you and others engage with the story. If you think you can do that, go for it!”
A lot of design elements sort into these categories for me, as well. A lot of rules in classic games are designed to overcome “agreement speedbumps.” Can’t agree on who wins? Roll! Some are also about engagement. Can’t figure out what to play? Choose one of these options!
I’m interested (in an FKR sort of way) in how to articulate approaches to story gaming that will help lessen the rules in place of teaching good practice - especially to new (kids, first-timers) gamers. Another interesting way in which this plays out is in design - if the document ITSELF (or board, cards, whatever artifact the game communicates itself with) doesn’t engage the reader, then it can be hard to get people to invest the necessary time and energy to learn what could, eventually, be a highly engaging way to hand with friends and generate amazing stories.
Anyhoo, things I’m thinking today I thought I’d kick out to the crew to consider! Hope y’all are having an amazing morning, and thanks for letting me ramble in public!
Thoughts? Resources? Links? Cheers!