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Other Games, Development, & Campaigns => Design, Development, and Gameplay => Topic started by: RPGPundit on October 17, 2007, 02:05:28 PM

Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: RPGPundit on October 17, 2007, 02:05:28 PM
For the purposes of this forum, which are not to philosophize about nonsensical theories pulled out from one's ass, there must be certain "Landmarks" that one can use, as the foundational basis by which one can establish what can be legitimate gaming theory and what is explicitly to be discounted.
A Landmark is a go/no-go test based on simple statements about the reality of RPGs as they apply to the mainstream of people playing them today!
If a theoretical proposition violates the Landmark, by suggesting that in some form or another RPGs as the vast majority of people understand or play them are currently wrong, said proposition is automatically illegitimate, with no debate. The landmarks are, in other words, an attempt at defining what the Gaming community is like and how it works.

Here are my "Landmarks of Gaming Theory":

1. The vast majority of gamers are having fun gaming.

2. The vast majority of gamers are satisfied with the majority of their game as it is played.

3. D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG, and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG. It can be improved upon or changed, but any theory that suggests that D&D as a whole (in any of its versions) was a "bad" RPG is by definition in violation of the Landmarks. You don't have to say it is the "best" RPG, but you are obviously not in touch with reality if your theory claims that D&D is a "bad" game, and then try to invent some convoluted conspiracy theory as to why millions of people play it anyways, more than any other RPG.

4. Given number 3 above, it is self-evident that games that have a broad spectrum of playstyles (as D&D does) are by definition successful games. Any theory that speculates that games must be narrowly-focused to be "good" games is automatically in violation of the Landmarks. Note that this doesn't mean that you must say narrow-focus games are "bad", or that narrow-focused games can't be considered appropriate, only that you cannot suggest that gamers don't want to play in RPGs that have a broad spectrum of playstyle, because they obviously do want to play exactly those kinds of games.

5. Conflicts do arise in gaming groups; these conflicts are usually the product of social interaction between the players and not a problem with the rules themselves. The solution to these problems is not to "Narrow the rules", but to broaden the playstyle of a group to accomodate what the complaining players are missing. Thus, it is a Landmark that all correct gaming theories, if they deal with "player dis-satisfaction" at all, must focus the nature of that dissatisfaction on the rules ONLY to suggest that a given rules-set is too narrow; and even then only because it is a symptom of an interpersonal social conflict within a group.

6. Given point #3, above, any gaming theory that suggest that the GM should get disproportionately more or less power than they do in D&D in order for a game to be "good" is inherently in violation of the Landmarks. The vast majority of players enjoy a game where the GM has power over the world and the players over their characters; and while a theory can suggest ways that GMs and Players can experiment with interactively creating the setting, it cannot suggest that the Players should have the power to tell the GM what to do (except for the "power" to walk away from a game).

7. Any gaming theory that tries to divide gamers into specific criteria of "types" must make it clear that this is only one kind of categorization, and not an absolutist and literal interpretation that is a universal truth; it is only one form of categorizing gamers.

8. Any theory that suggests, therefore, that its "types" are mutually exclusionary in gaming groups is in violation of the Landmarks. Individual people can end up being mutually exclusive to each other, unable to play in the same group, etc; but that is because of individual personal issues, not because of an issue of playstyle.

9. Any gaming theory that suggests that a significant element of what many players find entertaining is in fact a "delusion" or unreal, or that the gamers themselves don't know what they're doing or what they're thinking, or what they want from gaming, is in violation of the landmarks.

10. Given points #9 and #1, the suggestion that so-called "immersion" is not a real or viable goal in an RPG, or that "genre emulation" is not a viable priority in a game, is in violation of the Landmarks.

So there are my 10 Landmarks. That's it, fuckers, game over. From now on any future gaming theory should be designed with them in mind, and any existing or future gaming theory that is in violation of those landmarks should be instantly rejected as a product of a brain-damaged mind. The clear line in the sand has been marked, on the level.

So please do NOT come in here talking about GNS or other Forge theories as if those were acceptable theories or proven fact that everyone takes for granted. They do not. Especially here. In fact, here it is taken for granted, due to the miracle of common sense, that GNS and almost anything else that's come out of the Forge is utter bullshit, mental diarrea of the worst kind, and that there are turds floating in gutters with more claim to being viable gaming theories than GNS. This forum is an attempt at working with theory to actually do something productive, and to be quite possibly the only place on the entire net where you can talk about theory without having to pretend that GNS works or is real.


Feel free to try to design new theories, with the goal being that these theories actually be useful for making RPGs (or improving existing RPGs), but keep in mind that any theory that doesn't take common sense (and thus, the Landmarks as a guide to common sense) into account would probably be better suited to reality-free zones like the Forge.

Here, we actually LIKE reality.

RPGPundit
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: RPGPundit on October 17, 2007, 02:06:09 PM
Note that I have been informed by my tech admins that the accidental deletion of the previous thread is impossible to undo. I'm very sorry to everyone who was involved in that excellent discussion.

RPGPundit
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: jrients on October 17, 2007, 02:28:23 PM
I was the one who screwed up and accidentally deleted the thread.  Please accept my apologies.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: John Morrow on October 17, 2007, 02:33:45 PM
Quote from: jrients
I was the one who screwed up and accidentally deleted the thread.  Please accept my apologies.

I was able to recover replies 1-99 and 101-108 from my Firefox cache as HTML files. If you want to give me an email address via IM, I can email them to you if you want to try to piece it back together or put them up somewhere. Not sure what happened to 100 but maybe someone else could recover that (the stuff in Firefox's cache includes the HTML files in gzip format).
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: joewolz on October 17, 2007, 03:41:31 PM
Quote from: John Morrow
I was able to recover replies 1-99 and 101-108 from my Firefox cache as HTML files.  If you want to give me an email address via IM, I can email them to you if you want to try to piece it back together or put them up somewhere.  Not sure what happened to 100 but maybe someone else could recover that (the stuff in Firefox's cache includes the HTML files in gzip format).


Please?  joewolz AT joewolz DOT com

I knew about the conversation, but never got a chance to read it :(
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: John Morrow on October 17, 2007, 04:31:01 PM
Quote from: joewolz
Please?  joewolz AT joewolz DOT com


Let's see if the admins want to put it up somewhere first.  If not, I'll email you a copy.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: RPGPundit on October 17, 2007, 04:53:21 PM
There isn't really an easy solution to it; I'm told by the tech mods that the only thing that could be done would be to copy and paste it into a few massive posts. I don't know if that's worth it or not...

RPGPundit
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: John Morrow on October 17, 2007, 05:32:05 PM
Quote from: RPGPundit
There isn't really an easy solution to it; I'm told by the tech mods that the only thing that could be done would be to copy and paste it into a few massive posts. I don't know if that's worth it or not...


I think it would be worth it to recover a 100+ message thread that was fairly productive.  The HTML looks pretty solid and stripping off the headers and footers and various links shouldn't be all that difficult, even if it's posted as some long posts and the thread is locked afterward.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: RPGPundit on October 17, 2007, 10:25:18 PM
Any volunteers?

RPGPundit
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: brettmb2 on October 17, 2007, 10:50:38 PM
If someone does it, don't include any of the HTML. Just copy and paste the text.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: jhkim on October 18, 2007, 01:24:02 AM
Done, at least as a first pass.  

http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/theory/therpgsite/landmarks.html (http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/theory/therpgsite/landmarks.html)

Thanks to John Morrow for the cached files.  

Can admins post as other users?  i.e. Can they post as me to reproduce a post of mine that was deleted?  If so, then I can provide the 108 posts as text files, but it would take an admin to enter them into a thread.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: brettmb2 on October 18, 2007, 11:23:24 AM
Quote from: jhkim
Can admins post as other users?  i.e. Can they post as me to reproduce a post of mine that was deleted?  If so, then I can provide the 108 posts as text files, but it would take an admin to enter them into a thread.

No.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: flyingmice on October 18, 2007, 02:08:17 PM
Quote from: jhkim
Done, at least as a first pass.  

http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/theory/therpgsite/landmarks.html (http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/theory/therpgsite/landmarks.html)

Thanks to John Morrow for the cached files.  

And thank you, Mr. Kim, Sir! Awesome job, and a lot of work! :D

-clash
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Stuart on October 18, 2007, 02:43:49 PM
:wizard:



08-26-2006, 02:32 PM
RPGPundit (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=186)
For the purposes of this forum, which are not to philosophize about nonsensical theories pulled out from one's ass, there must be certain "Landmarks" that one can use, as the foundational basis by which one can establish what can be legitimate gaming theory and what is explicitly to be discounted.
A Landmark is a go/no-go test based on simple statements about the reality of RPGs as they apply to the mainstream of people playing them today!
If a theoretical proposition violates the Landmark, by suggesting that in some form or another RPGs as the vast majority of people understand or play them are currently wrong, said proposition is automatically illegitimate, with no debate. The landmarks are, in other words, an attempt at defining what the Gaming community is like and how it works.

Here are my "Landmarks of Gaming Theory":

1. The vast majority of gamers are having fun gaming.

2. The vast majority of gamers are satisfied with the majority of their game as it is played.

3. D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG, and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG. It can be improved upon or changed, but any theory that suggests that D&D as a whole (in any of its versions) was a "bad" RPG is by definition in violation of the Landmarks. You don't have to say it is the "best" RPG, but you are obviously not in touch with reality if your theory claims that D&D is a "bad" game, and then try to invent some convoluted conspiracy theory as to why millions of people play it anyways, more than any other RPG.

4. Given number 3 above, it is self-evident that games that have a broad spectrum of playstyles (as D&D does) are by definition successful games. Any theory that speculates that games must be narrowly-focused to be "good" games is automatically in violation of the Landmarks. Note that this doesn't mean that you must say narrow-focus games are "bad", or that narrow-focused games can't be considered appropriate, only that you cannot suggest that gamers don't want to play in RPGs that have a broad spectrum of playstyle, because they obviously do want to play exactly those kinds of games.

5. Conflicts do arise in gaming groups; these conflicts are usually the product of social interaction between the players and not a problem with the rules themselves. The solution to these problems is not to "Narrow the rules", but to broaden the playstyle of a group to accomodate what the complaining players are missing. Thus, it is a Landmark that all correct gaming theories, if they deal with "player dis-satisfaction" at all, must focus the nature of that dissatisfaction on the rules ONLY to suggest that a given rules-set is too narrow; and even then only because it is a symptom of an interpersonal social conflict within a group.

6. Given point #3, above, any gaming theory that suggest that the GM should get disproportionately more or less power than they do in D&D in order for a game to be "good" is inherently in violation of the Landmarks. The vast majority of players enjoy a game where the GM has power over the world and the players over their characters; and while a theory can suggest ways that GMs and Players can experiment with interactively creating the setting, it cannot suggest that the Players should have the power to tell the GM what to do (except for the "power" to walk away from a game).

7. Any gaming theory that tries to divide gamers into specific criteria of "types" must make it clear that this is only one kind of categorization, and not an absolutist and literal interpretation that is a universal truth; it is only one form of categorizing gamers.

8. Any theory that suggests, therefore, that its "types" are mutually exclusionary in gaming groups is in violation of the Landmarks. Individual people can end up being mutually exclusive to each other, unable to play in the same group, etc; but that is because of individual personal issues, not because of an issue of playstyle.

9. Any gaming theory that suggests that a significant element of what many players find entertaining is in fact a "delusion" or unreal, or that the gamers themselves don't know what they're doing or what they're thinking, or what they want from gaming, is in violation of the landmarks.

10. Given points #9 and #1, the suggestion that so-called "immersion" is not a real or viable goal in an RPG, or that "genre emulation" is not a viable priority in a game, is in violation of the Landmarks.

So there are my 10 Landmarks. That's it, fuckers, game over. From now on any future gaming theory should be designed with them in mind, and any existing or future gaming theory that is in violation of those landmarks should be instantly rejected as a product of a brain-damaged mind. The clear line in the sand has been marked, on the level.

So please do NOT come in here talking about GNS or other Forge theories as if those were acceptable theories or proven fact that everyone takes for granted. They do not. Especially here. In fact, here it is taken for granted, due to the miracle of common sense, that GNS and almost anything else that's come out of the Forge is utter bullshit, mental diarrea of the worst kind, and that there are turds floating in gutters with more claim to being viable gaming theories than GNS. This forum is an attempt at working with theory to actually do something productive, and to be quite possibly the only place on the entire net where you can talk about theory without having to pretend that GNS works or is real.


Feel free to try to design new theories, with the goal being that these theories actually be useful for making RPGs (or improving existing RPGs), but keep in mind that any theory that doesn't take common sense (and thus, the Landmarks as a guide to common sense) into account would probably be better suited to reality-free zones like the Forge.

Here, we actually LIKE reality.

RPGPundit

09-19-2006, 04:33 PM
KrakaJak (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=799)
oops, wrong thread. Delete me please.    Last edited by KrakaJak : 09-19-2006 at 04:37 PM.

10-11-2007, 08:10 PM
RSDancey (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=3326)
Quote from: RPGPundit
Here are my "Landmarks of Gaming Theory":

1. The vast majority of gamers are having fun gaming.

Agree. However, you have to admit that gamers having fun gaming are a self-selected bunch. There could be a large population of people who might otherwise be gamers who are not having fun gaming because something about the existing games offered wasn't fun to them.

It seems reasonable therefore to entertain theories about what kind of games might attract those people.

You might reasonably object that the existence of such people is as much a guess as the guess that there may be games they might like to play that do not exist. My response would be that objection is valid, but we have 3 clear historical precedents that suggest that the industry was underserving its market until a new game concept appeared:

Tabletop RPGs (1970s)

Collectible Card Games (1990s)

3rd generation MMORPGs (2003+)

Given that history, it seems not unreasonable to assume the existence of a population we cannot yet identify.

So would it be fair to discuss a game theory that did not require existing gamers to be not having fun (which is obviously inaccurate) even if it suggested that some people did not have / would not have fun with the existing games and that new kinds of games might be required to get them into the hobby?

Quote
2. The vast majority of gamers are satisfied with the majority of their game as it is played.

Agree. However, I think this statement also needs the qualification that people who aren't satisfied with those games don't play them, which essentially restates my previous point.

Quote
3. D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG, and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG.

Agree.

Quote
4. Given number 3 above, it is self-evident that games that have a broad spectrum of playstyles (as D&D does) are by definition successful games.

Agree.

Quote
5. Conflicts do arise in gaming groups; these conflicts are usually the product of social interaction between the players and not a problem with the rules themselves.

Disagree. See AD&D 2E, a game that was less popular (in terms of sales) than both its predecessor and its descendants.

Sometimes, games just suck, but people play them anyway, and house-rule problems or accept a lot of arguments as the price to pay to get at the fun part.

Quote
6. Given point #3, above, any gaming theory that suggest that the GM should get disproportionately more or less power than they do in D&D in order for a game to be "good" is inherently in violation of the Landmarks.

Disagree. Otherwise you'd have to define all games people play and have fun with as breaking the Landmark unless the GM has the same level of power as in D&D.

What I think it would be immensely fair to say is that D&D-scoped DM power levels are not de facto a problem in any way, and are always a safe place to start from when engaging in game design.

Quote
7. Any gaming theory that tries to divide gamers into specific criteria of "types" must make it clear that this is only one kind of categorization, and not an absolutist and literal interpretation that is a universal truth; it is only one form of categorizing gamers.

Agree. Humans are to complex to reduce to simple points on a chart. Such reduction should always assume imprecision and exceptions.

Quote
8. Any theory that suggests, therefore, that its "types" are mutually exclusionary in gaming groups is in violation of the Landmarks.

Agree.

Quote
9. Any gaming theory that suggests that a significant element of what many players find entertaining is in fact a "delusion" or unreal, or that the gamers themselves don't know what they're doing or what they're thinking, or what they want from gaming, is in violation of the landmarks.

Agree, with the provisio that when a new idea does catch the fancy of a lot of gamers, we have to have the flexibility to admit that previous concepts missed something.

In other words, they may not know they want something until you show it to them.

Quote
10. Given points #9 and #1, the suggestion that so-called "immersion" is not a real or viable goal in an RPG, or that "genre emulation" is not a viable priority in a game, is in violation of the Landmarks.

Agree.

Ryan

10-11-2007, 08:23 PM
Kyle Aaron (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=808)
His theory about roleplaying gamers is incomplete because it doesn't cover people who... aren't roleplaying gamers?

You're confusing a roleplaying theory with "marketing." Marketing is about people who aren't into something yet, and getting them into it. That's a different thing.

10-11-2007, 08:24 PM
Abyssal Maw (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=762)
I was impressed with Ryan's answers here, and I actually agree with his point about AD&D2e, which I didn't think I would.

10-11-2007, 08:28 PM
Stuart (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=809)
Quote from: RSDancey
Quote
5. Conflicts do arise in gaming groups; these conflicts are usually the product of social interaction between the players and not a problem with the rules themselves.
See AD&D 2E, a game that was less popular (in terms of sales) than both its predecessor and its descendants.

Sometimes, games just suck, but people play them anyway, and house-rule problems or accept a lot of arguments as the price to pay to get at the fun part.

How did the rules of AD&D 2E make the game "just suck"? :confused:

The rules of AD&D 2E were pretty close to AD&D 1E, weren't they? Are you saying AD&D 1E also sucked?

10-11-2007, 08:56 PM
Elliot Wilen (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=442)
Quote from: Kyle Aaron
His theory about roleplaying gamers is incomplete because it doesn't cover people who... aren't roleplaying gamers?
Just so. This idea certainly hasn't been borne out very well in spite of being in the air for a while among the story-game fans. They still by and large look to mainstream games as their gateway and mainstream gamers as their market.

Furthermore the idea that the market was "underserved" e.g. by the RPG industry prior to 1973 ignores the possibility that the market did not exist prior to that time. What happened to make it "RPG time" then? Quite possibly, the GI bill and general increases in college enrollment were major factors, along with increased leisure time in an era when the options for entertainment were comparatively few.

In short I'm sure marketers like to think that they're discovering new horizons but sometimes it's really just a matter of things falling into their laps.

10-11-2007, 09:24 PM
James J Skach (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=760)
I'd also point out that the three examples he gives (TTRPG, CCG, MMORPG) I doubt anyone would say were the same kinds of games, would they?

So if he's right, and if there's a huge market that remains untapped, and if Storytelling focus is the key - isn't it within the realm of possibility that it's not the same market as TTRPG?

Just a thought...

10-11-2007, 09:28 PM
Abyssal Maw (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=762)
Quote from: Stuart
How did the rules of AD&D 2E make the game "just suck"? :confused:

The rules of AD&D 2E were pretty close to AD&D 1E, weren't they? Are you saying AD&D 1E also sucked?

There's actually guidance in the 2E DMG where this girl who has been playing a lawful neutral character for a couple of months is determined (by the GM) to have committed too many good acts. The advice is she gets docked like a level and a half.

First of all, thats a lot of XP, second of all, XP and levels didn't exactly flow in 2nd edition like they do in later editions (one of the most famously broken issues in 2E was the way XP worked. And the book was riddled with crap like that.

By comparison, 1E wasn't like that. It had kinda of it's own imperfect vibe, but there was just so much that was possible.

10-15-2007, 06:44 PM
RPGPundit (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=186)
Hello Ryan. I would like to note that I have been a big fan, and defender, of you and your ideas about gaming; at least right up to the moment you went nuts just recently and did a full about-face on everything you were standing up for previously.

Still, though, maybe your ideas of gaming theory will be less insipid than the GNS-derived bullshit that the Forge has created. I doubt it, but hope springs eternal, and at least in your case I know that you really are (or at least were) a genius, unlike all the would-be genii over there. The only question is wheter you're now certifiably mad or what...

Quote from: RSDancey
Agree. However, you have to admit that gamers having fun gaming are a self-selected bunch. There could be a large population of people who might otherwise be gamers who are not having fun gaming because something about the existing games offered wasn't fun to them.

It seems reasonable therefore to entertain theories about what kind of games might attract those people.

You might reasonably object that the existence of such people is as much a guess as the guess that there may be games they might like to play that do not exist. My response would be that objection is valid, but we have 3 clear historical precedents that suggest that the industry was underserving its market until a new game concept appeared:

Tabletop RPGs (1970s)

Collectible Card Games (1990s)

3rd generation MMORPGs (2003+)

Given that history, it seems not unreasonable to assume the existence of a population we cannot yet identify.

I agree, but note that each of these is basically a new hobby. RPGs quickly stopped marketing themselves as "wargames"; CCGs never marketed themselves as "roleplaying games"; and MMORPGs are computer games which are a whole phenomenon unto themselves.

So I would suggest that whatever you could create that would be fun for people who would NOT have fun playing RPGs would NOT end up being an RPG. It would be an entirely different pass-time, and should not be marketed as an "RPG".

Quote
Disagree. See AD&D 2E, a game that was less popular (in terms of sales) than both its predecessor and its descendants.

Sometimes, games just suck, but people play them anyway, and house-rule problems or accept a lot of arguments as the price to pay to get at the fun part.

Note that I said "conflict in gaming groups"; I said nothing about whether a game is more or less entertaining. I'm talking about fights between players, or between players and GMs.
I certainly agree that some games can suck more than others. The thing I'm disagreeing with here is the idea is that when there's a conflict or power-struggle within a gaming group, its the rules' fault.

Quote
Disagree. Otherwise you'd have to define all games people play and have fun with as breaking the Landmark unless the GM has the same level of power as in D&D.

That is pretty much what I'm saying, yeah. Within a certain spectrum, anyways.

See, HERE is where I talk about games that suck. Games that give GMs an inordinately larger level of power than D&D will suck. Games that strip away the power from a GM will suck.

Quote
What I think it would be immensely fair to say is that D&D-scoped DM power levels are not de facto a problem in any way, and are always a safe place to start from when engaging in game design.

Ok.

Quote
Agree. Humans are to complex to reduce to simple points on a chart. Such reduction should always assume imprecision and exceptions.

And yet here you are now, advocating narrativist storygames?!

Quote
Agree, with the provisio that when a new idea does catch the fancy of a lot of gamers, we have to have the flexibility to admit that previous concepts missed something.

In other words, they may not know they want something until you show it to them.

It would appear that the majority of gamers have soundly rejected the supposed "concepts" of GNS theory, however. Most are perfectly happy with gaming RPGs the way RPGs have always been. Certainly, innovations come along in the rules, but every successful RPG has continued to follow the same basic skeletal structure and division of powers as D&D.

RPGPundit

10-16-2007, 05:19 AM
RSDancey (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=3326)
Quote from: RPGPundit
The only question is wheter you're now certifiably mad or what...

Here's hoping that I'm not mad. :)

[ my comment about divergence from the RPG category stripped ]
Quote
I agree, but note that each of these is basically a new hobby.

I'll agree that RPGs were not wargames, and that CCGs were not RPGs, but I won't agree that MMORPGS aren't RPGs. I find very little difference between the actual play pattern I have observed under many different settings for tabletop RPGs, and how people play WoW and other 3rd Gen MMOs. (Except for the DMs, of course, who are thoroughly disenfranchised). For many players, there's now a category shift option where you keep virtually everything you ACTUALLY do now in a TRPG, but you lose the DM, and gain the potential for much larger groups than most TRPGs can support in exchange.

I think there's a very good argument to be made that WoW shows us there were (and are) specific problems with the TRPG platform which were causing a vast number of people to self-select not to play them. WoW addressed those issues, and several million people responded with money and time committed. I think we owe it to ourselves to take a long hard look in the WoW mirror when it comes to "fun" in the TRPG platform.

Quote
I certainly agree that some games can suck more than others. The thing I'm disagreeing with here is the idea is that when there's a conflict or power-struggle within a gaming group, its the rules' fault.

Really? You really think that game rules can't lead to intraplayer conflict? You don't think that rules can be designed to avoid common sources of such conflict?

I think I'm misunderstanding something here.

Quote
Games that give GMs an inordinately larger level of power than D&D will suck. Games that strip away the power from a GM will suck.

I think you are wrong.

I do think that most of the games that have tried to distance themselves from D&D's DM baseline have not succeeded in being more fun.

But I do not believe that is the result of some intrinsic nature of the format, but rather of the effort & resources expended to try to overcome the problem.

It may turn out that D&D DM power levels, like the distance from home plate to first base ends up to be a simply perfect balancing point, but I think we need a lot more work on other approaches before we can safely make that determination.

Quote
And yet here you are now, advocating narrativist storygames?!

I am not advocating "narrativist storygames". I'm advocating the idea that we need to define the objective of the TRPG experience to be "tell a great story" then we need to take a long, hard look at the games we use to achieve that objective. And in addition, we need to look at the fact that the player network is changing rapidly in response to the 3rd Gen MMORPGs, and try to get ahead of the effects of that change.

I am on a 3rd path between classic TRPGs, and the output of the Forge and its fellow travelers. I'm trying to benefit from the best of both of those traditions while seeking a new foundation on which to stand.

Quote
It would appear that the majority of gamers have soundly rejected the supposed "concepts" of GNS theory, however.

GNS "theory" is demonstrably wrong, because it proceeds from a clearly false premise: that there are three kinds of players, G, N & S players. I trust my market research, and that research did not produce clusters of players in those particular spaces.

In addition, the theorists over at the Forge, while they got off to a really good start, seem to have failed to close. They don't have a strong set of working documents which describe what they believe to be true, and how to use it. Instead, they have thousands of messages scattered across blogs, message boards, and designer notes in games, and no two people seem to be able to repeat a standard definition or application for any of it.

I do think there are a lot of really, really good ideas in that work though. Frankly, I think the G, N & S segmentation works GREAT for game mechanics and the effects they produce when used (although I reject the idea that games must be all of one and none of the others, that's patently foolish). I think that they produced some very good, and very valid criticism of a lot of what we take for granted in stock TRPGs of many kinds, and that re-evaluating those assumptions based on that criticism would be very useful. And they have provided SOME vocabulary which will help us discuss these topics without having to stop and redefine a term every time we use it.

And I think that the logic problem they identified in the basic conceptual framework of most TRPGs (the so-called Impossible Thing) is a spot on, valid criticism, and I do think that there are a lot of people out there who really wish they were more empowered to "tell the story", rather than "experience the story".

So I am not willing to dismiss all that work, and all that effort out of hand, even if I don't agree with the finality of the analysis some of those people have reached, and if I fail to see the entertainment value in many of the games they produce while pursuing the resulting agendas, I certainly don't fail to see the entertainment value in some of those games.

I think we're less far apart than we may seem. I fully understand how powerful & successful D&D is, and what a template it has been for the whole category. But I'm also realistic as to its flaws and blind spots too.

Ryan

10-16-2007, 08:53 AM
Stuart (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=809)
Quote from: RSDancey
we need to look at the fact that the player network is changing rapidly in response to the 3rd Gen MMORPGs, and try to get ahead of the effects of that change
Is there any actual evidence to back this up? I don't believe the claim that the player network is rapidly changing simply as a result of 3rd Gen MMORPGs. If it is changing, then there are other factors to consider.

Quote from: RSDancey
GNS "theory" is demonstrably wrong, because it proceeds from a clearly false premise: that there are three kinds of players, G, N & S players. I trust my market research, and that research did not produce clusters of players in those particular spaces.
This is somewhat true, although your research isn't that far off the GNS theory. It drops the S (which is pretty roughly tacked onto GNS) and divides G and N into short-term and long-term. Combat vs Story is the same as Gamist vs Narrativist is the same as Rollplay vs Roleplay. It's the same view of the gameplay in RPGs that we've been revisiting for decades. Your survey added an axis for short-term vs long-term, but it's basically the same thing.

Social, Reactive, Immersive, Collector, Spectator, etc -- these types of players aren't included in either set of theories...

10-16-2007, 09:03 AM
Settembrini (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=220)
So, Ryan, what kind of Story ARE you talking about?

As you said yourself, your "Story-Games" are not the Story-Games-Story-Games.

Please deconfuse!

10-16-2007, 12:58 PM
RSDancey (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=3326)
Quote from: Settembrini
So, Ryan, what kind of Story ARE you talking about?

I have spent thousands of hours playing D&D in a mental condition of subconsciously asking myself "what am I doing and why am I doing it", and in the body language, comments and sometimes outright statements of my companions, seeing them asking themselves the same questions.

I have always known there was this "thing" about RPGs that captured my attention and connected with some deep part of me that no other thing in my life really did. But that "thing" was usually not fulfilled or only partially fulfilled while playing most of the time. Occasionally, things would seem to "snap" into some kind of focus, and then I would really feel the power of the experience, and I would feel very fulfilled.

Several experiences in recent years have caused me to engage in a lot of introspection about that problem, and I have come to the conclusion that when an RPG session became a shared medium for storytelling, it was great, and when it fell short of that state, it was a long way from satisfying. And that the "great" part of playing RPGs was infrequent and seemingly unpredictable. I was mentally putting up with a lot of downside because the upside was so wonderful. The "20 minutes of fun packed into 4 hours" observation resonated strongly with me as being fundamentally true, and I attribute its truth to the disconnect between what I am playing the game for (shared storytelling experiences) and what the game delivers during most of an average session.

So what I want to do is design, on purpose, RPGs that set out to make that state of shared storytelling happen more frequently, under repeatable conditions, and to drag the assumption that doing so is "the point" out into the sunlight so I have the knowledge that the other people at the table with me share the same desire (which I think further increases both the frequency, and the potency of the shared storytelling mode).

Ryan

10-16-2007, 01:21 PM
Settembrini (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=220)
Great post, Ryan.
I think I understand a little bit better where you are coming from.

I´d just want to highlight that the vast majority of people I know and game with have fun 90% of the time.

Some questions:

Do you have fun...Because I and most people I know have fun with this stuff, and that´s happening all the time, not only in a few instances. There´s a huge number of people who have a strong disconnect with the 20 to 480 ratio some people like you keep mentioning.

So from what I´ve understood, you really have mostly fun when the happenings in the game world play out in a way that it presents something that would be fun to watch on American Television? Character centered fun? Relationships? Is that the stuff you dig?


So maybe, just maybe, most people want adventure, where you want story.
Could that be?

10-16-2007, 01:46 PM
RSDancey (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=3326)
Quote from: Stuart
Is there any actual evidence to back this up? I don't believe the claim that the player network is rapidly changing simply as a result of 3rd Gen MMORPGs. If it is changing, then there are other factors to consider.

1) Unit sales volumes of RPGs have collapsed. This is not a "D&D problem". Sales have collapsed across virtually all RPGs in the market.

2) Market research indicates many people playing MMORPGs used to play tabletop RPGs and have stopped to play MMOs. Look at Nick Yee's site (http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/ (http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/)
) as a good place to start.

3) In July of 2006, I conducted a market research study for a client in the hobby gaming space who publishes RPGs. Of that publisher's RPG players, 45% reported playing an MMO, and 32% played more than 4 times a month, and of the people who had played an MMO, more than half reported that the experience was "more fun" than playing any tabletop RPG. This leads me to believe that these people will act in their own self-interest and switch from the RPG to the MMO platform.

Quote
This is somewhat true, although your research isn't that far off the GNS theory.

Wow. Now I'm going to sound like a Forgite. I apologize in advance.

You don't appear to understand what those terms mean. I will discuss these terms using games, not people, because I think it makes the definitions more clear; in true "Big Model" theory, G, N & S refer to people, not games.

"Gamism" refers to a state of play where competition is the dominant value. Poker is a pure "gamist" game; nobody is narrating or simulating anything. The only thing you do is try to beat other people.

"Simulation" refers to a state of play where the point is to create a simple system to model a complex system, and then explore how that system responds to different kinds of inputs. Sim City is a nearly-pure "simulation" game; you have no opponents, and no victory conditions, and the point of playing the game is to see how many different results you can obtain using the toolset.

"Narrativism" refers to a state of play where the point is to create an interesting story. MOST RPGs strive to be narrativist games. Few have victory conditions. Very few have competition. Most use their rules mechanics to simulate the bare minimum required to facilitate the story, and abstract as much as possible.

Our market research did not find any significant clusters of people in the TRPG player network who expressed strong preferences for "gamist" or "simulationist" RPGs. They are all basically Narrativists. Our 2-axis graph serves to further subdivide the Narrativists, not to separate Narrativists from other kinds of gamers, or other kinds of game experiences.

Quote
Social, Reactive, Immersive, Collector, Spectator, etc -- these types of players aren't included in either set of theories...

Because, in my opinion, these "kinds of people" do not exist in enough numbers to become visible as a definable set of traits & interests. And you can't design successful products for tiny groups of people when there are obvious, big groups of people who need to be served first.

Just because we may imagine a certain kind of player, or because we may observe a certain kind of player, or we may even be a certain kind of player, it does not follow that such kinds of players represent a large enough sub-group to be useful in discussing the player network.

Ryan

10-16-2007, 02:01 PM
RSDancey (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=3326)
Quote from: Settembrini
I´d just want to highlight that the vast majority of people I know and game with have fun 90% of the time.

I want to state that there's a difference between "having fun" in general, and the "having fun" because of thing you're doing generating the fun. I enjoy hanging out and shooting the breeze with my buddies as much as the next guy. If my TRPG sessions become an excuse to hang with the gang, then why not just do that, and not wrap it in the pretense that we're roleplaying?

And frankly, I think most people aren't "having fun 90% of the time" when they're gaming. I don't have fun 90% of the time when I'm doing ANYTHING, and ESPECIALLY not when I have to deal with other people's downtime. TRPGs are FULL of periods of downtime, when you're waiting for someone to decide what to do, or for a rule to be reviewed, etc.

I SCUBA dive. I LOOOOOOVE it. It typically takes me 3-5 hours of work to perform a 30-50 minute dive. If I described SCUBA diving to other divers as "50 minutes of fun packed into 5 hours", most of them would chuckle and agree. The time we spend on maintenance, gas fills, trip times, setup & tear down, and post-dive rinse & pack up is the "price" we pay for that magical interval under the water. I often "enjoy" parts of that non-dive time, but I wouldn't put up with it for one minute if it was not for the underwater time payoff. And if some technology comes along that cuts that non-dive time in half, I'll embrace it happily.

I think that some people see "20 minutes vs 4 hours" as a criticism of them, and that a lot of the response that comment gets is defensive. I never, ever meant it as criticism of people, but only of the format. It should be possible to pack "more fun" into that 4 hours. And that should not be a goal anyone in the hobby has a problem with pursuing.

Quote
Some questions:

I redacted the list. I have fun with all that stuff. I think that if you sat down behind a 1-way glass wall, with a stopwatch, and added up the time each participant in a game group spent in a 4 hour block of time doing those things, you'd end up with about 20 minutes. That stuff may be happening during 90% of the time, but it's not happing to each participant 90% of the time. (And based on observation, I don't think even that exhaustive list of stuff accounts for 90% of the time. I think a HUGE portion of the time is spent on "distractions" that have little or no value to anyone.)

Frankly, I think that if you asked people "what was fun about that game session", you'd be told about a moment or two of storytelling greatness, not "the times I got to roll dice for initiative". That kind of "fun" is like the fun I get from maintaining my SCUBA regulators; it's interesting, and I like mechanical stuff, and I like working with my hands, but it's a means to an end, not an end unto itself.

Quote
So from what I´ve understood, you really have mostly fun when the happenings in the game world play out in a way that it presents something that would be fun to watch on American Television? Character centered fun? Relationships? Is that the stuff you dig?

Nope. You're missing it. I "dig" the part where the group, collaboratively tells a great story, through the medium of the rules. Not watches. TELLS. As in "creates using our imagination something that did not previously exist".

Ryan

10-16-2007, 02:04 PM
James J Skach (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=760)
Forgive me, Mr. Dancey, if I disagree given that my entire experience, admittedly my anecdotal evidence, completely contradicts your observations. And that's almost 30 years now of playing in various home games and at conventions.

And I truly mean no disrespect. It's just that I've never been in a game where the primary point was to create an interesting story. Do I think it exists? Absolutely. Have I ever seen it? Nope.

I think, perhaps, this is the extrapolation of terms and something lost in the translation. I think if you asked people if they wanted to be a part of an interesting story when playing, most would say yes. I think to extrapolate that to "I play RPG's to create interesting stories," and then "RPG's should be written with rule sets that focus on creating interesting stories," is the leap that fails.

But, I'm just going by my experience and what I've heard/seen people say.

10-16-2007, 02:16 PM
James J Skach (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=760)
Wow. This might be a cultural divide just too broad to bridge.

And I want to thank you, Mr. Dancey, because without (for the most part) all the high-falutin condescending talk, you've nailed why I think this is, essentially, a different hobby.

Because the first time I heard RPG's described as a "shared story-telling experience," my reaction was: WTF?

I feel sorry for you that you've had to struggle so long in games that weren't fun for you. Good luck on creating some that are more to your tastes.

10-16-2007, 02:28 PM
RSDancey (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=3326)
Quote from: James J Skach
I think, perhaps, this is the extrapolation of terms and something lost in the translation. I think if you asked people if they wanted to be a part of an interesting story when playing, most would say yes. I think to extrapolate that to "I play RPG's to create interesting stories," and then "RPG's should be written with rule sets that focus on creating interesting stories," is the leap that fails.

Can you imagine having fun using the rules of D&D to do something that isn't about telling a story?

Can you imagine a game where you use the rules of D&D, but there's no story taking place? Like "4 people are in a room. They fight. Go!"

There are probably thousands of ways to use D&D to play a game that has no story in it. It is clearly possible. But nobody ever uses the game for that, do they?

Look at the GenCon program book. Page after page after page of RPG sessions submitted by people seeking others to game with. Every single one of those submissions states a premise and a story as the defining aspect of the session. None of them. I repeat, NONE OF THEM suggests that a group form to see who can roll the highest initiative, or who can assemble a character capable of delivering the highest possible damage, or any of those thousand other things you could do with D&D, but nobody ever does.

Doesn't that seem to suggest that the story is the point, and not the result?

Ryan

10-16-2007, 03:00 PM
Abyssal Maw (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=762)
Quote
Our market research did not find any significant clusters of people in the TRPG player network who expressed strong preferences for "gamist" or "simulationist" RPGs. They are all basically Narrativists.

I have made this exact point before. Everyone. Everyone. Everyone. Values story first. Absolutely true.

But here's the disconnect:

The forgie definition of story *only* includes those stories that involve tackling a social issue or a moral dilemna. Often they aren't even stories, so much as just collections of interactions. Sometimes these are essentially just one-act play, "two characters discussing their relationship while on a train" kind of level of detail.

And my point is, you can't "play" that beyond a certain point. Certainly not in a reliable way, and definitely not if the people you are playing with don't care to be thespians. Often individual characters (and the ownership of characters by individual players) is deemphasized and none of this is really conducive to campaigns.
Often the characters are themselves disposable entities and the propponents pride themselves on their courageous "striving for failure to make a better story".

But I see that as unsustainable. These groups generally ONLY play at conventions. Half the time they play (or more than half) the game is intended as a playtest, "tryout" or demo and not even an actual game like you might naturally play for fun. They almost never seem to catch on or get played in a serial fashion with established groups, unless the designer himself is a member of that group. And because there are so many of these games and they all have different rules, you have to spend a certain amount of time teaching the rules. Every single time you play.

Since most people probably aren't going to play more than once, that may be the only time they try it out.

Because.. well.. why would they? Character development (indeed, character ownership) is often discouraged, everyone has to constantly address whatever dreary social issue of the day has cropped up, everyone fails in order to be cool, and the entire thing wraps up in under 3 sessions so that nobody needs an excuse to come back. So sure, they are producing stories.. but they're all like these college creative writing "issue" short story type deals. Which is trite. Some of these guys are even doing improv exercises before they play like wiggling their bodies all around.

Campaigns are themselves stories. It seems obvious that the best way of appealing to the ubiquitous desire for story is to have games that facilitate better campaigns, rather than create these anti-campaign episodic deals.

10-16-2007, 03:07 PM
kryyst (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=42)
Quote from: RSDancey
Can you imagine having fun using the rules of D&D to do something that isn't about telling a story?

Can you imagine a game where you use the rules of D&D, but there's no story taking place? Like "4 people are in a room. They fight. Go!"

But that in itself is a story albeit a short one. You can't play any role playing game in such a fashion that it doesn't create some kind of story. The quality of the story is subject to very. But that's a function of the ability of the people telling it. The rules are irrelevantly. If you can you are no longer playing a role and are no longer telling a story. You can have an RPG that is primarily driven by the story even if the rule is as simple as each person talks for 5 mins then switches. That's a rule, that could be a game. If each person has a different character(s) that they are responsible for within the game then you now have a role playing game.

But the bottom line is that the quality of the story is not defined by the rules of the game. They are two seperate things that have two seperate purposes. But you can't use one independently of the other and still have a role playing game. You'll either get a Story with no game or a board game with no story.

The interesting bit is that you can make a fun game that doesn't drive or is driven by a story. However it's impossible to make a game that creates a good story. That's entirely in the abilities of the individual.

10-16-2007, 03:08 PM
Stuart (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=809)
Quote from: RSDancey
Quote
Is there any actual evidence to back this up? I don't believe the claim that the player network is rapidly changing simply as a result of 3rd Gen MMORPGs. If it is changing, then there are other factors to consider.
1) Unit sales volumes of RPGs have collapsed. This is not a "D&D problem". Sales have collapsed across virtually all RPGs in the market.

I strongly believe there are other factors to consider than simply 3rd Gen MMORPGs. D&D 3e launched during the EverQuest heydays, and your own research from 99/00 concluded that people would play BOTH videogames and table top games. The Board Game industry is picking up, even though people could play those games online. It's something more than just WoW...

Quote from: RSDancey
2) Market research indicates many people playing MMORPGs used to play tabletop RPGs and have stopped to play MMOs. Look at Nick Yee's site (http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/ (http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/)
) as a good place to start.

The Methodology for all Nick's surveys is to post links on the main portals catering to specific MMORPG games. It's just as reasonable to say that the people playing MMORPGs who *didn't* come at them via TTRPGs are a prospective customers.

Quote from: RSDancey
Our market research did not find any significant clusters of people in the TRPG player network who expressed strong preferences for "gamist" or "simulationist" RPGs.

How's that?

So you're saying a "Power Gamer" which you describe as "a player who most enjoys the game when it delivers a Tactical/Combat Focus" is... a narrativist player?

:confused:

Quote from: RSDancey
Quote
Social, Reactive, Immersive, Collector, Spectator, etc -- these types of players aren't included in either set of theories...
Because, in my opinion, these "kinds of people" do not exist in enough numbers to become visible as a definable set of traits & interests.

Don't you think there are a lot of collectors in the hobby games industry? And think socializing is a major reason for face-to-face gaming instead of gaming over the internet? :confused:

Quote from: RSDancey
Just because we may imagine a certain kind of player, or because we may observe a certain kind of player, or we may even be a certain kind of player, it does not follow that such kinds of players represent a large enough sub-group to be useful in discussing the player network.

I think that's true.

10-16-2007, 03:10 PM
estar (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=1895)
Quote from: RSDancey
2) Market research indicates many people playing MMORPGs used to play tabletop RPGs and have stopped to play MMOs. Look at Nick Yee's site (http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/ (http://www.nickyee.com/daedalus/)
) as a good place to start.

I don't disagree what you are saying about MMORPGs versus RPGs in terms of sales. However I don't think it is the complete picture.

I been playing MMORPGs since the beginning starting with Ultima Online. Along with the experience of running a NERO boffer style LARP. Plus my regular table-top sessions never disappeared.

The one thing I noticed what MMORPGs and LARPS shared is their lack of endurance. By endurance I mean how long players stuck with playing the actual game. Compared to Table-top it seemed that MMORPGs had a high rate of churn of players coming and going. That long-term players are rare.

Have several observations in over a decade of play. I throw in LARPS because boffer style have some of advantages and disadvantages of MMORPGS.

All game systems are limited by nature and eventually you just run out of things to do. For boffer style LARPS the problem is generally more the rule set for MMORPG it is the setting. But both rule set and settings for both are more limited than table-top.

Long term players have social connections that keeps the game interesting. Either a guild, or a group of friends. Very long term players manage to associate with multiple groups or become part of staff in the case of LARPS.

MMORPGS and LARPS have a problem with griefing either in-game or socially. Due the volume of players you WILL get a few jerks in the mix.

The combination of the above three makes MMORPGS (and LARPS) more intense but ephemeral experience. As far as MMORPGS goes many players leap from game to game especially now in the 3rd generation.

It seems to be that Table-top groups are harder to form but endure longer. That players buy more for the game itself then they would for LARPS and/or MMORPRGS.

10-16-2007, 03:16 PM
Elliot Wilen (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=442)
Quote from: RSDancey
"Gamism" refers to a state of play where competition is the dominant value. Poker is a pure "gamist" game; nobody is narrating or simulating anything. The only thing you do is try to beat other people.

"Simulation" refers to a state of play where the point is to create a simple system to model a complex system, and then explore how that system responds to different kinds of inputs. Sim City is a nearly-pure "simulation" game; you have no opponents, and no victory conditions, and the point of playing the game is to see how many different results you can obtain using the toolset.

"Narrativism" refers to a state of play where the point is to create an interesting story. MOST RPGs strive to be narrativist games. Few have victory conditions. Very few have competition. Most use their rules mechanics to simulate the bare minimum required to facilitate the story, and abstract as much as possible.

Our market research did not find any significant clusters of people in the TRPG player network who expressed strong preferences for "gamist" or "simulationist" RPGs. They are all basically Narrativists. Our 2-axis graph serves to further subdivide the Narrativists, not to separate Narrativists from other kinds of gamers, or other kinds of game experiences.
The flaw here, I think, is that you offer examples of "pure" gamism and simulationism, to show that those aren't what people who play RPGs are after. Similarly when you talk about socializing with friends. However you do not offer an example of "pure" Nar which can serve as a yardstick; instead you fall into the common naive GNS trap of assuming that any interest in "story" (conceived a certain way) = total willingness to compromise other aspects of the RPG experience.

The idea of abstracting "the bare minimum" necessarily begs the question of what that minimum is, as well.

What lies at bottom of this is that RPGs are in practice a compromise between competing interests, and attempts to move them in one direction or the other will always provoke questions of "why don't you do X instead?" This should be a sign to you that your tastes aren't universal, after all, and the observation that "we're all Narrativists" is less significant than you might think.

10-16-2007, 03:34 PM
Alnag (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=3026)
Actually based on your research Ryan and GNS, everybody (or mostly everybody) is simulationist, because they try to simulate/explore story, that is part of simulationist creative agenda in Big Model. Narrativism is about very special "kind" of story.

That is why simulationist games are more popular than narativist or gamist for that matter. Because there is huge amount of simulationists around (that kind which simulates or explores story) and fewer gamists or narativists.

And here you are. This is the problem with GNS/Big Model - it is so incomprehensible and full of smoke and mirrors you actually can not easily grasp it. The reason is exactly that kind of mistake you do. You should think, that you strive for narativism although you acutally want to explore story (or something). The experience of common player with narativist game is not a pleasant one.

10-16-2007, 03:37 PM
Settembrini (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=220)
I still think Mr. Dancey has not defined "Story" in any meaningful way that would de-obfuscate his statements.

If he doesn´t want moral dillemmata and American Television plotlines, then why call it story-game?

That´s what NARR is and what it delivers: moral questions and statements, concerning the individual. Double points if it really is more about the players than about the characters.

And most people don´t like that.

Ryan, could you provide a link or an actual play example of what you mean when saying "story"?

10-16-2007, 03:39 PM
James J Skach (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=760)
Quote from: RSDancey
Can you imagine having fun using the rules of D&D to do something that isn't about telling a story?
Yup. every time I've ever played it's not about telling a story. It's likely a story will result; but it's not the point - whcih is why I say to leap from the one to the other is a mistake. Don't get me wrong, some people sit down with the direct purpose of constructing a story. I say, "Have fun!"

But don't mistake the fact that many of us expect a story will happen with that as our purpose or goal.

Quote from: RSDancey
Can you imagine a game where you use the rules of D&D, but there's no story taking place? Like "4 people are in a room. They fight. Go!"
Aren't there like, dueling things at WotC? It's not my cuppa, but there are obviously people who do it. Besides, you've just used the setup for the fourth module in the Slavers series (A4) IIRC :D

Quote from: RSDancey
There are probably thousands of ways to use D&D to play a game that has no story in it. It is clearly possible. But nobody ever uses the game for that, do they?
Some do - as I said, I've seen..dammit...you're going ot make me look this up, aren't you...I give you the D&D Fight Club Arena (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/fc/20000102a)
!

And as I keep saying, the difference between having a story in it, and setting out with the purpose of shared story-creating exercise are two completely different things.

Quote from: RSDancey
Look at the GenCon program book. Page after page after page of RPG sessions submitted by people seeking others to game with. Every single one of those submissions states a premise and a story as the defining aspect of the session.
Wait - a premise and a story? It seems to me that they present a premise, and most participants expect a story to result. But I doubt many, except those specifically designated and story-creating endeavors, bank on people setting out to tell a capital-S-Story as their overarching goal.

Quote from: RSDancey
None of them. I repeat, NONE OF THEM suggests that a group form to see who can roll the highest initiative
So...if you're not telling a story your fighting over initiative? Excluded middle, perhaps?

Quote from: RSDancey
or who can assemble a character capable of delivering the highest possible damage
do you know how many posts in thread and yahoo groups I've seen where people discuss this very subject? It's amazing the depths to which peopole understand these rules and figure out the maximum damage.

Quote from: RSDancey
or any of those thousand other things you could do with D&D, but nobody ever does.
I've given two examples (Arena and Max Damage discussions) in which people do things that have nothing to do with sitting down in a session with the goal of collaboratively creating a story. Which, quite frankly, is besides the point, because:

Quote from: RSDancey
Doesn't that seem to suggest that the story is the point, and not the result?
No. The observations you have provided suggest nothing more than people expect that a story will result. The question is if they sit down to create a story, or experience something that will result in a story. My conjecture based on my experience is that the historical majority of the TTRPG, the players are the latter. There are certainly those who prefer the former, and, as I've said, I hope they get interesting games to do so. But to change the entire hobby for them seems like a nose-face-trees-forest-baby-bathwater-pick-your-metaphor act.

10-16-2007, 03:40 PM
Stuart (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=809)
In this interview ( http://www.theoryfromthecloset.com/s...tc_show008.mp3 (http://www.theoryfromthecloset.com/s...tc_show008.mp3)
)Ron Edwards discusses The Forge, his Theories, and the Brain Damage comment. It certainly sounds like "Narrativism" meaning "Story Now" is different from "Story Before" or "Story After" which you'll find in many, many RPGs.

You might also want to look at this game:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/1234 (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/1234)


Which is game-game-game and has a definite winner.

Quote
Once Upon A Time is a game in which the players create a story together, using cards that show typical elements from fairy tales. One player is the Storyteller, and creates a story using the ingredients on her cards. She tries to guide the plot towards her own ending. The other players try to use cards to interrupt her and become the new Storyteller. The winner is the first player to play out all her cards and end with her Happy Ever After card.

It's not Narrative (in the GNS sense). It's not Simulationist. So it must be Gamist.

And yet... story.

10-16-2007, 03:54 PM
Levi Kornelsen (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=282)
(Yeah, after some thought, this is a thread worth dropping in for.)

Quote from: Abyssal Maw
I have made this exact point before. Everyone. Everyone. Everyone. Values story first. Absolutely true.

Yes. And, to your later points, also yes, goddamit.

The "properly Narrativist" definition of story is too narrow.

The White Wolf one is bloody stupid.

But, as Stuart said:

Quote from: Stuart
And yet... story.


10-16-2007, 04:04 PM
Levi Kornelsen (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=282)
Quote from: RSDancey
I'm advocating the idea that we need to define the objective of the TRPG experience to be "tell a great story" then we need to take a long, hard look at the games we use to achieve that objective.

This is a damn tricky statement specifically because of the way that the concept of story has been appiled to gaming.

Do people want great stories from their games? Damn right they do.

But What kind of story do they mean? The kind where the GM creates glorious events, riding you forward on a gorgeous and invisible railroad? The kind where we all contribute to plot and basically give up "owning" characters or setting, to the point where some current gamers can't feel invested anymore? The awesome and always-spotaneous 'shit that just went down' that we spout to each other in the pub afterwards, which basically has to happen by accident? The stuff that comes out of a "sandbox" game that's got so much conflict dumped into it that you just can't help but create something storylike simply by resolving things? The kind that comes from characters with huge ambitions seeking to make those into reality, and being challenged every damn step of the way?

Because, see, some of those don't go together easily, and some don't go together at all.

10-16-2007, 04:06 PM
estar (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=1895)
Quote from: RSDancey
I have always known there was this "thing" about RPGs that captured my attention and connected with some deep part of me that no other thing in my life really did. But that "thing" was usually not fulfilled or only partially fulfilled while playing most of the time. Occasionally, things would seem to "snap" into some kind of focus, and then I would really feel the power of the experience, and I would feel very fulfilled.

This is immersion, the sense that you are actually there in the action. LARPS attempts to enhances this via Live-action. MMORPGs through the graphics of the setting. Both use the number of players as well.

10-16-2007, 04:10 PM
Levi Kornelsen (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=282)
Quote from: estar
This is immersion, the sense that you are actually there in the action. LARPS attempts to enhances this via Live-action. MMORPGs through the graphics of the setting. Both use the number of players as well.

Well, it's probably a flow state (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology))
, anyhow.

10-16-2007, 04:13 PM
Stuart (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=809)
I think of Flow State and Immersion as different but related concepts. You can enter a flow state playing Chess... but you don't feel "Immersed" in a medieval battlefield by playing Chess.

10-16-2007, 04:20 PM
Levi Kornelsen (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=282)
Quote from: Stuart
I think of Flow State and Immersion as different but related concepts. You can enter a flow state playing Chess... but you don't feel "Immersed" in a medieval battlefield by playing Chess.

By my lights, there's more than one kind of flow state, and immersion is one of them.

And this is based on intensive research, fella-me-lad. I've played the videogame flOw for many, many hours, and read hundreds of amateur opinions right here on this very internet.

So there!

10-16-2007, 04:22 PM
Abyssal Maw (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=762)
(There I was writing what I was certain was "my most offensive post ever. probably.." and then Levi agrees with me. Some days villainy doesn't pay!!!)


:D

10-16-2007, 04:28 PM
Alnag (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=3026)
Quote from: Levi Kornelsen
By my lights, there's more than one kind of flow state, and immersion is one of them.

IMO flow is just a part of immersion in RPG sense.

Nevermind... I think in Ryan Dancey's research there was no definition of story (although I might be mistaken). I belive that the people that time understand it in its common sense. That means not in the sense provided by GNS/Big Model for narrativism.

10-16-2007, 04:31 PM
Levi Kornelsen (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=282)
Quote from: Alnag
I belive that the people that time understand it in its common sense. That means not in the sense provided by GNS/Big Model for narrativism.

Right on. So, it doesn't mean that specific thing.

What does you think it does mean, then, in the common sense, to the people that answered the survey?

'Cause "the common sense" could still mean a hell of a lot of things - and very possibly did, to different people.

10-16-2007, 04:38 PM
Abyssal Maw (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=762)
My own (admittedly unacademic and probably stupid) definition of story is "an account of characters that go places and do things".

The more interesting the characters are and the more exciting the things they do is directly related to .. the accessibility (i.e. "fun value") of the story.

So the best games are the ones which enable the most interesting characters doing the most interesting things.

Adventures.

10-16-2007, 04:59 PM
Alnag (http://www.therpgsite.com/forums/member.php?u=3026)
Story IMO is a set of interconnected events leading frome some issue to some conclusion. It has its tone, it has its setting, it has its characters, it has an element of excitement, adventure, fun, whatever. But I belive that the most important is a meaning or conclusion. It lead to something.

But as Abyssal Maw says it. Adventure - that's it. RPGs always had the story element in themselves. The fact that some people want a very specific kind of story (about
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: brettmb2 on October 18, 2007, 02:47:28 PM
Well done, Stuart. Thanks.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Stuart on November 11, 2007, 08:43:04 PM
There should be an 11th Landmark.

#11.  If you can not articulate your theory in regular English without excessive inclusion of made-up or redefined words, there is something wrong with your theory.  You may also need to consult a doctor.

Quote from: Wikipedia
Neologism
"In psychiatry, the term is used to describe the creation of words which only have meaning to the person who uses them, independent of its common use meaning. It is considered normal in children, but a symptom of thought disorder indicative of a psychotic mental illness such as schizophrenia in adults. Usage of neologisms may also be related to aphasia acquired after brain damage resulting from a stroke or head injury. People with  autism may also use neologisms."


...

There are over 900,000 words in the English language.  You probably don't need to make up any more to talk about roleplaying games.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Levi Kornelsen on November 11, 2007, 08:57:33 PM
Quote from: Stuart
There are over 900,000 words in the English language.  You probably don't need to make up any more to talk about roleplaying games.


Hmm.

I tend to use real, but also really fucking obscure, words - and not always english ones.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Aos on November 11, 2007, 09:04:22 PM
I make up words primarily to ridicule others.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Stuart on November 11, 2007, 09:07:13 PM
Quote from: Levi Kornelsen
Hmm.

I tend to use real, but also really fucking obscure, words - and not always english ones.


I guess it depends on how obscure, and how you use them.  Maybe your reasons for picking them too.  

Also, if you've recently had a fall. ;)
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Levi Kornelsen on November 11, 2007, 09:14:37 PM
Quote from: Stuart
Maybe your reasons for picking them too.


Schaudenfreud (which I'm probably spelling wrong), Fiero, Naches...   These are really, really nicely precise words.

Also, I like saying them out loud.

:haw:
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Stuart on November 11, 2007, 09:33:38 PM
Schadenfreude is quite commonly used.

Fiero, Naches... I can't really comment on whether there are just as meaningful english words, or you're in the danger zone.  Don't take chances... call your doctor.

Quote from: Levi Kornelsen
Also, I like saying them out loud.

Do you do this in public places?  :haw:
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Levi Kornelsen on November 12, 2007, 07:22:47 PM
Quote from: Stuart
Do you do this in public places?  :haw:


Does a pub full of drunken LARPers count as public?

How about a goth-industrial nightclub?
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Stuart on November 12, 2007, 08:30:28 PM
When you're at the club if you want to shout words in other languages, ask the DJ to play more Das Ich. :)
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: madunkieg on March 15, 2008, 04:06:11 PM
You know, I can understand that every forum has its own flavour. I don't agree with the "landmarks" as described, but that's okay. I joined up here because I wanted different viewpoints. I can easily avoid discussing GNS and alternative player/gm paradigms, even if my games don't always conform to what you call "legitimate" roleplaying.

Unfortunately, the argument came across as being the very same sort of attitude and superiority complex that likely inspired it. After reading that first entry I had real second thoughts about being involved with these forums. Venting your anger is fine now and then, but it makes for a poor first impression.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: RPGPundit on March 22, 2008, 12:27:00 AM
Quote from: madunkieg
You know, I can understand that every forum has its own flavour. I don't agree with the "landmarks" as described, but that's okay. I joined up here because I wanted different viewpoints. I can easily avoid discussing GNS and alternative player/gm paradigms, even if my games don't always conform to what you call "legitimate" roleplaying.

Unfortunately, the argument came across as being the very same sort of attitude and superiority complex that likely inspired it. After reading that first entry I had real second thoughts about being involved with these forums. Venting your anger is fine now and then, but it makes for a poor first impression.


Well, I guess the good news for you is that in this forum, unlike many, you are allowed to disagree.

RPGPundit
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Kyle Aaron on June 28, 2008, 06:17:46 AM
Quote from: RPGPundit
D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG, and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG. It can be improved upon or changed, but any theory that suggests that D&D as a whole (in any of its versions) was a "bad" RPG is by definition in violation of the Landmarks. [...]

it is self-evident that games that have a broad spectrum of playstyles (as D&D does) are by definition successful games.
Given your recent comments about 4e, will these two Landmarks be altered in some way?
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: CraigLee on July 27, 2008, 03:46:21 AM
Wow, and here I thought I was the only person who found The Forge and GNS to be very annoying and useless.

Seriously, I have only been back into gaming for the last year and in that time yours was the first post I ever read from someone who had the same reaction to all of that pretentious garbage that I had.

Given the curious acceptance of this stuff, it's good to see a dissenting opinion.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Fritzs on July 27, 2008, 04:46:18 AM
CraigLee: Wow, great!

...well, these landmarks are shit, but if it makes you feel good, well, enjoy your stay there...

BTW: Wecome to therpgsite....
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Kyle Aaron on July 27, 2008, 11:18:48 AM
I think the landmarks are reasonable enough - not perfect by far, but fair and reasonable at least, not insane - I just wonder how Pundit sees them now that he's pissing all over D&D4e. It's just a it funny to say, "D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG, and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG" and then later say, "4e is shit", or whatever specifically he's said.

If X is your landmark, and then X moves, you have to readjust your landmarks, yeah?
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Saphim on July 27, 2008, 11:41:11 AM
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;228492
I think the landmarks are reasonable enough - not perfect by far, but fair and reasonable at least, not insane - I just wonder how Pundit sees them now that he's pissing all over D&D4e. It's just a it funny to say, "D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG, and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG" and then later say, "4e is shit", or whatever specifically he's said.

If X is your landmark, and then X moves, you have to readjust your landmarks, yeah?

Well, if you assume pundi is a real person and not just some internet persona, yes.
I just think that would be a wrong assumption.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Caesar Slaad on July 27, 2008, 12:14:56 PM
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;228492
I think the landmarks are reasonable enough - not perfect by far, but fair and reasonable at least, not insane - I just wonder how Pundit sees them now that he's pissing all over D&D4e. It's just a it funny to say, "D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG, and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG" and then later say, "4e is shit", or whatever specifically he's said.

Well, I don't really have on the top of my head what the specific objections pundit has to 4e; though it's also not my favorite edition, I've been given cause to disagree with his viewpoints before.

That being said, what I think think that there's plenty of room to take GNS with a grain of salt AND still not think 4e is an improvement on D&D. I've already seen cases where someone has tackled 4e based on the forge "common wisdom" that mixing "creative agendas" results in "incoherence":

http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?t=228128
Quote
Like some designers' comments hinted to it, D&D is still a confused gamist/simulationist RPG.

In opposition to 3.x, where some of the mechanical parts were confusing on the entailed playstyle, in 4E the confusion comes from the fact that the mechanics is yelling G and the fluff text of both PHB and DMG is yelling S (not everywhere I know).

Whatever bad I could say about 4e, I think this analysis is full of crap.

So, I think the point to take away here isn't "D&D is unassailable", but to challenge the notion of GNS/the big model as a realistic prescriptive of what makes for a good game.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: J Arcane on July 27, 2008, 12:34:27 PM
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;228492
I think the landmarks are reasonable enough - not perfect by far, but fair and reasonable at least, not insane - I just wonder how Pundit sees them now that he's pissing all over D&D4e. It's just a it funny to say, "D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG, and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG" and then later say, "4e is shit", or whatever specifically he's said.

If X is your landmark, and then X moves, you have to readjust your landmarks, yeah?
I don't think it's at all inconsistent, because I think that in the case of 4e, it's a matter of the designers taking bad advice from the GNS crowd and trying to create the ultimate "coherent gamist" game.

Imagine it as something akin to a bunch of opera nerds somehow taking over production of American Idol and making all the wannabe pop stars sing arias and Wagner.  If you'd previously argued that American Idol is what the music listening public wants, you wouldn't really be inconsistent if you went on to trash the new Opera Idol, because it's clearly not the same show anymore.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: RPGPundit on July 27, 2008, 01:01:31 PM
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;220399
Given your recent comments about 4e, will these two Landmarks be altered in some way?

Good question.  In answer to the first, not unless 4e turns out to be a total bomb of massive proportions.  Success or failure will determine this itself.

As for the second, that's something I have to do some serious thinking about.

RPGPundit
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: RPGPundit on July 27, 2008, 01:03:08 PM
Quote from: CraigLee;228447
Wow, and here I thought I was the only person who found The Forge and GNS to be very annoying and useless.

Seriously, I have only been back into gaming for the last year and in that time yours was the first post I ever read from someone who had the same reaction to all of that pretentious garbage that I had.

Given the curious acceptance of this stuff, it's good to see a dissenting opinion.


Welcome to theRPGsite, Craiglee!

I think you'll fit in just fine.

RPGPundit
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Kyle Aaron on July 27, 2008, 11:13:38 PM
Quote from: RPGPundit;228532
As for the second, that's something I have to do some serious thinking about.
Okay, I look forward to hearing the results of that.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Narf the Mouse on August 11, 2008, 09:17:24 PM
I would add, as a landmark, that any set of rules that attempts to define correct theory based on top-down theory is automatically biased. :P :D
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: EvilSqueegee on August 27, 2008, 08:46:56 AM
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;228492
I think the landmarks are reasonable enough - not perfect by far, but fair and reasonable at least, not insane - I just wonder how Pundit sees them now that he's pissing all over D&D4e. It's just a it funny to say, "D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG, and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG" and then later say, "4e is shit", or whatever specifically he's said.

If X is your landmark, and then X moves, you have to readjust your landmarks, yeah?


I would think, personally, that this is where a difference in Opinion and Fact come into play. These landmarks make sense - for the most part they're logically sound. The fact remains that D&D is still the most widely-known, widely-played, and widely-sold RPG on the market (at least, to my knowledge.) Correct me if I'm wrong, but that pretty much sums up the makings of a successful RPG, yes?

I mean, hell - back in the 90's, White Fail produced Vampire: the Masquerade. At the time, was that not a successful RPG?

Yet obviously (and I can't believe I actually am pointing out something this obvious), both of these games had and have their flaws. D&D 4e can be Successful and shitty at the same time. Kinda like (insert band name here.) or (insert television show here.) Or even (insert book, movie, or anything else here.) Just because something sells well, gets a lot of widespread attention and makes a lot of money does not mean it is the Champion Of All That Is Win. It just makes the game successful.

If those two were the same, my assumption would be that Amber (which RPGPundit, last I checked, was a massive supporter of) would be the most successful RPG on the market right now.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Kyle Aaron on August 27, 2008, 09:04:19 AM
He never said that D&D was the bestest g4m3 3v4h, he said that its success demonstrated it was a "successfully-designed rpg."

I mean, the whole point of a game is that it gets played. A game no-one will play is definitely a failure in game design, a game lots of people play is definitely a success in game design. A game which is played by many people is by definition a "well-designed game", in the same sense that a car model which is driven by lots of people for lots of miles is a "well-designed car".

rpg theory is supposed to be about what people like to do in play. If what people like to do in play is stuff that D&D does, then the theory has to address that.

Having an rpg theory which does not account for why people like D&D is like having a theory of sexuality which doesn't talk about heterosexuality. It can tell you a lot, but it's missing a lot, too. I mean, you could just, as GNS does, turn around and say, "well people like D&D because they're stupid or crazy", and likewise there are some in the gay community who say that straights are all stupid or crazy. But in the end we all know that's bollocks.

Theories about stuff have to account for the mainstream of that stuff. Which has no bearing on whether you or I or Jo Bloggs reckon that mainstream stuff is actually any good.

Even my half-arsed cheetoism (http://cheetoism.pbwiki.com/FrontPage) accounts for the success of D&D, so surely more well-developed and detailed theories should be able to do so.

The question for Pundit is really whether he still considers D&D to be "well-designed". His comments so far have been "no"; yet it's successful. So he has to either set aside his definition "a successful game must be a well-designed game", or fiddle about with definitions of "success" or "well-designed".
Quote from: RPGPundit
any theory that suggests that D&D as a whole (in any of its versions) was a "bad" RPG is by definition in violation of the Landmarks.
My emphasis. So if Pundit says that he has a theory of gaming showing that D&D is a "bad" rpg, he's in violation of his Landmarks.

Which is not to say that he can't say D&D suxxorz, only that he can't develop a whole rpg theory saying so ;)
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Kellri on August 27, 2008, 09:41:09 AM
Individual edition crit isn't an issue. AFAIK, GNS makes few distinctions - just damning the whole shebang. The right or wrongness of a particular edition is an issue that's only important to D&D players in this regard. A criticism of D&D as a whole does have implications about the entire hobby - and I think that's what Pundit's landmarks tries to refute.  

If P. later engages in some 4e flaming...I'd say that all falls within D&D fandom. He's not after all claiming D&D as a whole is suspect simply because the latest edition is dodgy. The unspoken intent is a hope for a better D&D. When Edwards decides to speak up about D&D, that's another thing entirely. The intent is clearly not to improve D&D but to deny its influence at any cost to further a hostile agenda (up to and including misrepresented or revisionist history).
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: EvilSqueegee on August 27, 2008, 11:26:53 AM
Quote from: Kyle Aaron;240479
He never said that D&D was the bestest g4m3 3v4h, he said that its success demonstrated it was a "successfully-designed rpg."

I mean, the whole point of a game is that it gets played. A game no-one will play is definitely a failure in game design, a game lots of people play is definitely a success in game design. A game which is played by many people is by definition a "well-designed game", in the same sense that a car model which is driven by lots of people for lots of miles is a "well-designed car".

rpg theory is supposed to be about what people like to do in play. If what people like to do in play is stuff that D&D does, then the theory has to address that.

Having an rpg theory which does not account for why people like D&D is like having a theory of sexuality which doesn't talk about heterosexuality. It can tell you a lot, but it's missing a lot, too. I mean, you could just, as GNS does, turn around and say, "well people like D&D because they're stupid or crazy", and likewise there are some in the gay community who say that straights are all stupid or crazy. But in the end we all know that's bollocks.

Theories about stuff have to account for the mainstream of that stuff. Which has no bearing on whether you or I or Jo Bloggs reckon that mainstream stuff is actually any good.

Even my half-arsed cheetoism (http://cheetoism.pbwiki.com/FrontPage) accounts for the success of D&D, so surely more well-developed and detailed theories should be able to do so.

The question for Pundit is really whether he still considers D&D to be "well-designed". His comments so far have been "no"; yet it's successful. So he has to either set aside his definition "a successful game must be a well-designed game", or fiddle about with definitions of "success" or "well-designed".

My emphasis. So if Pundit says that he has a theory of gaming showing that D&D is a "bad" rpg, he's in violation of his Landmarks.

Which is not to say that he can't say D&D suxxorz, only that he can't develop a whole rpg theory saying so ;)


The line of thought these Landmarks are based in, from what I can tell:
"Success is from sales, sales are the result of enjoyability, and enjoyability is the purpose/goal of gaming." This implies, naturally, that since enjoyment is the goal of the game, a poorly designed game gives no enjoyment and a well-designed game gives plenty of enjoyment.

Therefore, with this line of reasoning, success is the result of an effective game design, because that will in turn provide enjoyment, which results in sales, which results in success.

But advertisement and marketing does not make for a well-designed RPG. It does, however, make for a lot of sales. It would take a pretty oblivious person to claim that D&D is not one of the leading RPG's on the market.

But the fact remains that D&D has had other methods to achieve it's "success" other than playability and enjoyment. And in that, I suppose I must agree that there is a flaw in the reasoning the Landmarks were constructed with.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Narf the Mouse on August 28, 2008, 01:41:44 AM
If D&D were not enjoyable, sales would plummet.

If the sales of 4e plummet and do not recover, 4e can therefore be inferred to be not largely enjoyable.

If 4e is not largely enjoyable, it is badly designed.

Fairly simple.

However, it is entirely possible to design a game which is not widely enjoyable, save for a small section of the populace.

For example, a game which required a grounding in quantum physics would be a failure according to the aforesaid terms.

It could, however, be wildly popular among quantum physicists, who could consider it a success.

What RPGPundit seems to be looking at is commercial viability.

I submit that said theoretical 'Quantum Physics game' could be both a commercial failure and a successful game, within the audience it is intended for.

I also submit that such a game should be measured by commercial viability only within a subset of the populace, in much the same way watercraft are not measured for commercial viability among those who are not water enthusiasts.

(My laptop was in the shop; hence the lack of posts)
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: RPGPundit on August 30, 2008, 09:17:46 AM
If 4e is prolongedly successful in the long term, then it must be recognized that its design is sound.

There's also some room for comparative analysis in these things: the relative failure (note> RELATIVE, in the sense that it was still obviously a success but also could not keep up the same level of sales) of 2e in comparison to either 1e or 3e is a sign that 2e had a poorer design (due mainly to outside ideological factors having altered its design both at the onset and (other factors) at later stages in the game's lifespan).

RPGPundit
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Narf the Mouse on August 31, 2008, 10:11:43 PM
There's truth to that.

On the other hand, 4e could sell well, but not as well as 3e, due to player fatigue.

But that ends in quibbling over small things, and it can be hard enough argueing big, obvious things.

I'm kinda interested in what 5e will look like, although that's really getting ahead of myself. I imagine with the constrains of 4e worked out, it would open up to different ways of playing again.

If 4e has a weakness, it is in rigidity. I do like the game balance, though.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: mythusmage on November 25, 2012, 09:24:05 PM
Quote from: RPGPundit;148872
For the purposes of this forum, which are not to philosophize about nonsensical theories pulled out from one's ass, there must be certain "Landmarks" that one can use, as the foundational basis by which one can establish what can be legitimate gaming theory and what is explicitly to be discounted.


I would put it even more simply, does the theory, the model work? The Storytelling Model says that the players are involved in story telling as they play. I don't see it. I know that one person thinks that the players are storytelling as they play, but there is a better word for what the players do as they play, they are roleplaying. Which is to say, acting. You can take a character in a story and play his role, but telling a story in the midst of an RPG is another matter entirely.

The alternate models in my view are the Theatrical Model and the Life Model. In the Theatrical Model the player plays a role in a series of scenes in a setting with other characters. The setting is usually limited, the scenario as well.

The Life Model uses the Theatrical Model as a basis, but goes beyond that. The players can go beyond the immediate setting to a wider world, and they can ignore the scenario should they wish, forcing the moderator to adapt to their actions.

From my observation, where many mods insist they are following the Storytelling Model, in truth they wind up following the Theatrical and Life models instead. No matter how much they moan and complain, it is the Theatrical and Life Models that they follow.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Libertad on November 25, 2012, 09:37:16 PM
A theory I've heard elsewhere:

If an RPG's design does not reflect the themes it sets out to emulate, then it is a failure.

Basically, an RPG's "success" can be determined if it accurately replicates its source material or themes in play.  For example, an RPG based on Wuxia martial arts movies should make it easy to create amazing acrobatic stunts and graceful, stylish fight scenes.

I mostly agree with this link of thinking, to a point.  A game can become very popular, even if its ruleset does not emulate appropriate themes.  It is commercially successful, but it didn't accomplish what it set out to do.  Really depends upon your definition of "success."

What do you think?
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: mythusmage on November 25, 2012, 09:51:35 PM
Quote from: Libertad;602273
A theory I've heard elsewhere:

If an RPG's design does not reflect the themes it sets out to emulate, then it is a failure.


Who determines if the design does emulate the themes? I know one man who ran a "Sauron Wins" campaign using Big Eyes and Small Mouth. What are the themes, and how do you emulate them?

In Dangerous Journeys (Gary Gygax) there is a mechanism for applying damage to a character; mental, physical, or spiritual. When applying damage the moderator has to keep track of either Wound Level or Critical Level (Physical Trait) or Effectiveness Level (Mental or Spiritual Trait). If the level is exceeded the character is either disabled, or incapacitated outright. In addition, a character can fight mobs of minions taking little damage overall, only to fall victim to some mook attacking by surprise and doing loads of damage with his weapon. Which does a pretty good job of emulating the fights found in the pulp stories Gary read as a kid.

Take a story or movie or style of fiction or genre and determine the themes. Then devise rules that emulate those themes. What are the themes of Star Trek, or Gunsmoke? How would you emulate those themes?
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Monster Manuel on September 24, 2013, 09:49:44 AM
I am 100% with you (Pundit) on the points about narrow games. It's a fad nowadays to write hyperfocused rule sets, and too many people are treating that approach as if it's the only way to make a good game. I'd even go so far as to say that for my purposes, many of the worst games are the ones that are hyperfocused.

As the focus grows more narrow, the likelihood that a game remains an RPG goes down. Eventually you're left with a storygame that tells one story over and over, like "My Life with Master".
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Phillip on September 28, 2013, 01:35:04 PM
From way back, but pretty typical I think of remarks from a certain segment of the hobby:
Quote from: RSDancey
I have come to the conclusion that when an RPG session became a shared medium for storytelling, it was great, and when it fell short of that state, it was a long way from satisfying. And that the "great" part of playing RPGs was infrequent and seemingly unpredictable. I was mentally putting up with a lot of downside because the upside was so wonderful. The "20 minutes of fun packed into 4 hours" observation resonated strongly with me as being fundamentally true, and I attribute its truth to the disconnect between what I am playing the game for (shared storytelling experiences) and what the game delivers during most of an average session.

It would be easier to address this if just what's meant by "shared storytelling" were laid out clearly. There's a sense in which it means something a lot of people would call a "story game" that's "not really an RPG" (too much out-of-character decision making, to the purpose of imposing a dramatic structure).

However, someone else using such language could simply mean that the game has got bogged down in dull events. It's not a problem to be fixed by some alteration of the division of GM and player responsibility; it's a problem of people not using that responsibility well.

If I understand it (always uncertain with Forge rhetoric), the "Impossible Thing" is the supposed claim in some game texts that when the GM wants one thing to happen and the players want another, both can simultaneously get their incompatible ways.

This is not a problem in the oldest "traditional RPG" campaign framework, since the players handle their characters and the GM handles the rest of the world. The GM sets up an environment, not a program of staged scenes through which the players must be driven. This is just common sense from the wargame perspective that informed the pioneers.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: robiswrong on November 08, 2013, 03:59:54 PM
Quote from: RPGPundit;148872
For the purposes of this forum, which are not to philosophize about nonsensical theories pulled out from one's ass, there must be certain "Landmarks" that one can use, as the foundational basis by which one can establish what can be legitimate gaming theory and what is explicitly to be discounted

....

Here, we actually LIKE reality.


Can I sign this?

One thing that bugs me about fan "theory" (of any kind) is how often it simply promotes the author's preferences, and just serves to validate those preferences while providing a pseudo-academic way to dismiss the (usually more popular) things the author dislikes.

I used to work for SOE.  Lots of MMO theorists (some of whom are pretty famous in that world) predicted the imminent death of EverQuest in 1999 (I remember one quote by a famous designer giving it '2-4 months').  It's still running.  Its official sequel, EverQuest II, is still running.  Its spiritual successor, WoW, is the most massively popular MMO around, still.

The majority of games that held to the "superior" design theories aren't.

The measure of any theory in the scientific world is how well it predicts future events.  If your theory can't even predict *current* events (such as explaining why popular things are in fact popular), then it's a pretty crappy theory.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: GrumpyReviews on November 08, 2013, 07:21:37 PM
Quote from: RPGPundit;148872
1. The vast majority of gamers are having fun gaming.


Yeah, but if they are story gaming, narrativist gaming or anything like that, then they are doing it wrong and it doesn't count and they need to be kicked in the fig sack over and over, just on general principal.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: The Traveller on November 08, 2013, 08:19:13 PM
Quote from: GrumpyReviews;706508
Yeah, but if they are story gaming, narrativist gaming or anything like that, then they are doing it wrong and it doesn't count and they need to be kicked in the fig sack over and over, just on general principal.
No, they're just doing it differently enough to be called a seperate hobby and need to be kicked in the fig sack over and over until that fact sinks in.

You see here lies the conundrum, please square this circle by all means; they claim both that shared narrative gaming is new, cutting edge and the destroyer of all that came before it while simultaneously being exactly the same and no different to what came before it.

And this is without ever going into the particulars of the origins of forge "theory" or the fuckery that skidmarks like Maid revel in.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: robiswrong on November 09, 2013, 12:32:25 AM
Quote from: The Traveller;706512
No, they're just doing it differently enough to be called a seperate hobby and need to be kicked in the fig sack over and over until that fact sinks in.


Hell, I'd almost argue that linear, adventure-path style gaming is different enough from the original D&D structure to almost be considered a separate hobby.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: The Traveller on November 09, 2013, 11:05:03 AM
Quote from: robiswrong;706546
Hell, I'd almost argue that linear, adventure-path style gaming is different enough from the original D&D structure to almost be considered a separate hobby.

Hey I mean pretending to be a storyteller who is pretending to be a character in a pretend novel is a perfectly valid way to pass one's time... if that's what one is into... but there's a whole lot of water between that and a railroad campaign.

You sit around a table throwing dice in a monopoly game too, and I don't see anyone calling that an RPG.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Arduin on November 09, 2013, 11:24:30 AM
Quote from: RPGPundit;148872
3. D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG, and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG. It can be improved upon or changed, but any theory that suggests that D&D as a whole (in any of its versions) was a "bad" RPG is by definition in violation of the Landmarks.


No.  This part could be incorrect.  If 4E had been released by a different company without the "name", it would have gone nowhere, relatively speaking.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: robiswrong on November 11, 2013, 04:17:21 AM
Quote from: The Traveller;706583
Hey I mean pretending to be a storyteller who is pretending to be a character in a pretend novel is a perfectly valid way to pass one's time... if that's what one is into... but there's a whole lot of water between that and a railroad campaign.

You sit around a table throwing dice in a monopoly game too, and I don't see anyone calling that an RPG.


I'm not saying that storygames and AP style games are the same - just saying that they're both pretty different than the older D&D campaign structure.

Hockey is not skiing.  Boblsedding is not skiing.  That doesn't mean that bobsledding is hockey.  They're all sports that involve frozen water.  Bobsledding and skiing are more similar to each other in hockey in some ways, in that they both involve sliding down a hill using gravity, and are about speed, as opposed to hockey as a team sport.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Lunamancer on December 06, 2015, 12:44:27 AM
I'm still new here, poking around. I thought the landmarks were interesting because I reached a lot of the same conclusions but for very different reasons.

GNS is demonstrably false. Based on the core claim that it's impossible have G, N, and S in fullest form simultaneously, all it takes is one single counter-example. I feel like virtually all of my first-hand experience provides a counter-example.

As for requiring a broad range of play, that is a must for the simple reason most real life gamers--as opposed to, say, homo narrativus, who we just assume is always and forever satisfied by narrativism and only narrativism--can like more than just one thing. Even if you do have homo narrativus, what are the odds everyone at the table is going to fit that mold?

The narrow specialty view would have you jumping from one system to the next every time you want to scratch a different itch. But doing this would rule out perhaps one of the most universally endearing feature of the RPG. To play and develop a character over a long period of time. I dropped that bomb many years ago on RPGnet. Not only was I not banned, they agreed I was right. But rather than it being treated as a nail in the coffin to the narrow specialty view, it just treated as a problem with no answer and was soon ignored.

So maybe I can't conclude with certainty that the narrow focus view is bad. But I can say it is simply not a good approach if you value being able to play the same character over a long period of time.

As for conflict at the table, I look at it like this. You could decide to sit at the table alone. That way you get everything exactly the way you want it. For most people, that's just not a lot of fun. Adding another person brings so much more fun, that it's worth compromising in one or two places. Same with adding a third, a forth, and so on, until you hit whatever group size is most fun for you.

In other words, when gamers get together, it's adding value for everyone. Yes, there are compromises, but it's a relatively small trade-off for the greater benefit of having other players. This is a cooperative view of how people get along at the game table. Not a conflict-driven one. So there are no great conflict dilemmas to ponder and resolve in the first place.

I mean the Knights of the Dinner table seems like a pretty damn dysfunctional group. But guess what? They keep coming back to play together. Must be more good than bad.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: TrippyHippy on December 06, 2015, 05:09:31 AM
The argument I always had against GNS Theory was Pendragon RPG. I've been told that it was a "simulationist' game, when it clearly has aspects that are narrative driven and game driven too.

So why categorise it at all?

The major drive of Forge-style game theory was to balkanise gaming into categories (largely defined by themselves), and then label games as being 'incoherent' if they didn't support these theories in the design process.

So Vampire: The Masquerade was 'incoherent' because you could play it in different ways, rather than being straightjacketed into a specific 'personal horror'...er...'narrative' game. D&D4th, however, was 'coherent' because it was purely about winning the game (and little else) and was therefore solidly 'gamist'. In short, I felt that GNS theory is a recipe for bad design, not good.

I also take issue with the 'Indie' moniker, where games like Fate and Apocalypse World games are every bit as commercialised, supported by third parties and written by committee as any other game on the shelf. But that's another story...
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Lunamancer on December 06, 2015, 08:45:48 AM
Me, personally, I always thought G, N, and S were BEST achieved when they were all achieved together. Conversely, a narrative, for example, that lacks internal consistency falls flat.

But the nice thing about GNS making up new terms is, whenever you present an argument that clearly debunks the theory, they can say "well, that's not what we meant by narrativist" or "that's not what we meant by creative agenda." It's a game of three-card monty, you can't win.

Take a look at the wikipedia version of GNS, for example. Narrativism seems to have little to do with narratives or stories. It's about how character motivations affect play. So for some reason, under this scheme, following through on what logically happens is simulationist when it involves the game world but narrativist if it involves a select few characters from that game world.

The difference between Gamism and Narrativism is a little bit more reasonable, but still falls apart under close scrutiny. It seems like narrativism concerns itself with the goals of characters (I know it didn't say the word "goals" but motives always imply goals). But gamism is about the goals of players. Now what happens if a player's goal is to put himself into his character's shoes and drive that character towards that character's goals? In other words, I'm asking what happens if he's playing a roleplaying game. It would seem the distinction between G and N would disappear just as surely as N and S.

Showing G and S as one is almost too easy. In the early days of the theory, it took a lot of work to try and distinguish the two. But I will say again, suppose, as is the case in a roleplaying game, that the rules, conditions, and obstacles of the game were that of a consistent game world? And why not just throw highly motivated characters in as well.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Catelf on December 06, 2015, 03:13:25 PM
Sheesh, Lunamancer, I finally now understood why I easily got headaches when trying to understand the "GNS theory" when I was at the Forge.

That explanation is ludicrous!

As I saw it, G is Gaming, N is Narrative, and S is Simulation, or more precisely:
Rules, Story and Roleplaying!
And here I mean Story in the looser sense of the word, including plot hooks, any planned timeline, what happens and any retelling of what happened after it is done.

And I always thought a RolePlaying Game was best achieved by combining all those three, as well!

Oh my ....
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: apparition13 on December 07, 2015, 04:29:46 PM
These aren't landmarks of gaming theory, they're axioms of A gaming theory.

I don't see any point in ronedwardsing "landmark" like he did "incoherent". You're talking in axioms, use the right damn word. There are enough problems with postmodern academia redefining words left and right, there's no reason for you to get in the act.

And something doesn't have to be "right" to be a landmark, it just has to be important and influential. Aristotelian physics is a landmark of physics, and it's dead wrong. GDS and GNS were landmarks in RPG theory, they were important and influential. Whether or not you think one or the other or both are misguided is immaterial to whether or not they are landmarks.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: TrippyHippy on December 07, 2015, 04:46:27 PM
Quote from: apparition13;867800
These aren't landmarks of gaming theory, they're axioms of A gaming theory.

I don't see any point in ronedwardsing "landmark" like he did "incoherent". You're talking in axioms, use the right damn word. There are enough problems with postmodern academia redefining words left and right, there's no reason for you to get in the act.

And something doesn't have to be "right" to be a landmark, it just has to be important and influential. Aristotelian physics is a landmark of physics, and it's dead wrong. GDS and GNS were landmarks in RPG theory, they were important and influential. Whether or not you think one or the other or both are misguided is immaterial to whether or not they are landmarks.


Aristotle's work wasn't a landmark in physics, it was an antecedent.

In the case of GDS and GNS, I'd say they weren't quite as influential or as important as they were made out to be.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Lunamancer on December 08, 2015, 11:15:08 AM
I don't know that axiom is the right word.

I know pundit uses the term "self evident" but that doesn't mean everything on the list IS self-evident. I'd consider an axiom to be something like "A game has players."

Axioms are so irrefutable as to seem trivial. But good theory makes good deductive arguments from irrefutable axioms to develop ideas that are non-trivial. The axiom "A game has players," for example, can obliterate a lot of BtB/RAW arguments of particular RPGs.

For instance, if you've never played before, you might look at AD&D and say, "Woah, it looks like Clerics are pretty good fighters, and they cast spells, and they take less XP to level than a Fighter or a Mage? What? And they can turn undead to boot? Why would anyone play anything else? BtB/RAW, all the incentives are to play Clerics!"

Only it turns out in practice the Cleric is the least popular of the four classes.
Is it because everyone in the world is playing home brew? No. Players just rather play a different type of character.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: yosemitemike on December 12, 2015, 06:12:33 AM
I have never found GNS theory to be of any real use beyond giving pretentious gasbags something to gas at each other about on the internet.  Discussions seem to consist mostly of people talking past each other because everyone is using the same jargon but they all mean slightly (or not so slightly) different things when they use it.  None of it seems to have anything to do with what I do at the tabletop or what makes a game actually successful in the market.

Among some people, there seems to be a burning need to explain D&D's continued success in some way, any way that doesn't involve it being successful because lots of people like it and enjoy playing it.  The attempts to evade the most obvious reason why something is successful get surreal at times.  For a while, there was an almost superstitious belief in the power of advertising.  D&D is successful because of advertising.  The idea that a game could continue to be successful for such a long period of times over multiple editions solely because of advertising is patently absurd.  You can get people to try your product with advertising.  The idea that you can make a product that doesn't give people something they want successful over a long period solely with advertising is ludicrous.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Catelf on December 12, 2015, 07:17:40 AM
Quote from: yosemitemike;868553
Among some people, there seems to be a burning need to explain D&D's continued success in some way, any way that doesn't involve it being successful because lots of people like it and enjoy playing it.  The attempts to evade the most obvious reason why something is successful get surreal at times.  For a while, there was an almost superstitious belief in the power of advertising.


Of course lots of people like it and enjoy playing it.
The question that is posed is why there seem to be virtually no other rpg that is just as known and as much played, despite the obvious existence of a lot of other rpgs that people also like and enjoy playing, and that is where those arguments come in.

I agree that ads is not the sole reason though:
Even if someone say they don't know of any tabletop-rpgs, there is still a possibility that they have heard of Dungeouns & Dragons.
And a lot that play rpgs knows only of D&D, and still a bunch of rpg-players that knows of other rpgs still only play D&D, from force of habit, it is the only game the group will play, they think the others are dull (with or without actually having tried them), and/or they actually prefer the rules, the setting, the whole package.

Some might want to try other rpgs, be it Vampire, Cyberpunk, CoC or Champions, but find no one nearby to play anything else than D&D, because of the above reasons.
I guess there are equivalents of gaming groups that just play WoD or Shadowrun, but those are rare, compared to the D&D groups.

And among the groups that play several, D&D is often one of them.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: yosemitemike on December 12, 2015, 08:19:39 AM
Quote from: Catelf;868557

The question that is posed is why there seem to be virtually no other rpg that is just as known and as much played, despite the obvious existence of a lot of other rpgs that people also like and enjoy playing, and that is where those arguments come in.


The answer to this question seems pretty obvious.  Lots of RPGs have their fandoms but no other RPG has had as much appeal to as many people over as long a period of time as D&D has.  There's just something about D&D that a lot of people like.    

Quote from: Catelf;868557

And a lot that play rpgs knows only of D&D, and still a bunch of rpg-players that knows of other rpgs still only play D&D, from force of habit, it is the only game the group will play, they think the others are dull (with or without actually having tried them), and/or they actually prefer the rules, the setting, the whole package.


I don't buy the force of habit argument either.  Products come and go in every sort of market all the time.  Once popular products disappear.  Once popular stores go out of business.  Force of habit alone isn't enough.  A product has to give the customer something they want.

If people are dissatisfied with D&D, it's not difficult for them to find other games.  There have been other games around for decades.  Thanks to the internet, inexpensive desktop publishing and PDF distribution, they are easier to find, better looking and easier to get than ever.  

Quote from: Catelf;868557

Some might want to try other rpgs, be it Vampire, Cyberpunk, CoC or Champions, but find no one nearby to play anything else than D&D, because of the above reasons.


There's another obvious possible reason.  Many players are having fun with D&D and are perfectly happy with it.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Catelf on December 12, 2015, 08:55:45 AM
Quote from: yosemitemike;868581
There's another obvious possible reason.  Many players are having fun with D&D and are perfectly happy with it.


Did you even understand what I wrote?
I do not disagree with that, I just points towards other facts that also is true.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Chivalric on December 12, 2015, 10:21:52 AM
Quote from: yosemitemike;868553
I have never found GNS theory to be of any real use beyond giving pretentious gasbags something to gas at each other about on the internet.


Well, it also did result in the publication of a lot of games that did very specific things.  Some different from traditional RPGs to the point that it's often best to talk about them as their own category.  Lots of people have played and still play these games and enjoy them.  At it's core one thing GNS theory (and the revised Big Model version that followed) did was to get people who wanted a particular thing from their hobby time a game that fits their demands.  So while I am a critic of GNS and the Big Model, I find this idea that nothing ever came of it to be hilariously revisionist.

As for landmarks of rpg theory, I'll add mine:

The human brain pieces together events into a narrative all on its own.
We communicate and even think in narrative terms all the time, every day.  If you want "story" in your RPG sessions, the best way to get it is to get out of the way and let it emerge from where it really comes from:  human interpretation and recounting of events.  If you concentrate your system time on quickly resolving the results of events, the events will be pieced together into a narrative by the brains of the participants without needing mechanics meant to force it.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: yosemitemike on December 12, 2015, 05:19:32 PM
Quote from: Catelf;868586
Did you even understand what I wrote?
I do not disagree with that, I just points towards other facts that also is true.


I understand it.  I just don't agree with it and am not sure those actually are facts.  People play out of force of habit?  Others can't get other games going because of that?  I don't agree with the basic premise that people continue playing D&D out of force of habit.  They play it because they like it.  I just don't think that your facts are actually facts.  Saying that people play D&D out of force of habit is another of the various ways people have come up with to explain D&D's enduring popularity that doesn't involve admitting that lots of people just plain like it.  See also peer pressure, a dread of "diversity" and poo flinging monkey like fear of the new.  

Quote from: NathanIW;868592
So while I am a critic of GNS and the Big Model, I find this idea that nothing ever came of it to be hilariously revisionist.


It's a good thing I never said that then isn't it?  I never found it to be of any use.  No one ever found it to be of any use.  Nothing ever came of it.  Compare and contrast these three statements.  One is what I said.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Lunamancer on December 12, 2015, 05:33:29 PM
There are problems to having millions of RPGs.

First, it's not possible to sample them all. Especially if you're not down with rolling up a new character every single week. One of the most popular characteristics that most RPGs share is that you get to play and develop the same character over a long period of time.

You have to be able to find a group. For some people, you can easily find a group gaming on line. For me, it's just not the same. The options for finding local players really aren't that limitless. If you find your groups through the local game store, the games they play are going to tend to gravitate towards what the store sells. Depending how successful the store is, they might not be able to offer anything but the #1 seller.

Redundancy. I feel like the industry keeps producing the same thing over and over and over and over again, only with different rules. Instead of having 50 different games that allow you to play wizards and warriors fighting orcs, the same effort could be spent to produce a single game that lets you do 50 different things. On the rare occasion something pops up that is both unique and good, chances are it's in a game system I don't play.

All of these factors exert force in the direction that we should all play the same game. So while there are no doubt exceptions, I'm one of them, it's not surprising the masses will gravitate towards one game. And it's an uphill battle to change what the game is.

Not everything has to do with the first-mover principle. Nor does marketing explain it all. First movers are deposed all the time, and massive marketing campaigns have been known to flop.

I think what helps D&D stay top dog is that part of the culture and feel of the D&D game is doing things like cons and tourneys, which in turn build a community. Things like the RPGA where there is some form of standardization so it actually means something when you start going on about how awesome your character is.

Compare this to the prevailing attitude of the modern age of RPGs. It's filled with narcissism. It's all about getting the game that *I* want. That does everything the way *I* think a game should. That has the aesthetics *I* prefer. Too fancy. Too specialized. Too niche. Not willing to give up it's precious "premise" or "stated goal" in order to play well with others.

And, really, why should any gamer settle for less when they have a million games to choose from?
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Catelf on December 12, 2015, 07:41:18 PM
Quote from: yosemitemike;868638
I understand it.  I just don't agree with it and am not sure those actually are facts.

Let's start with one of my statements:
* There are games that are just as good as D&D, and there are people that like those games and enjoy playing them.
Now, do you agree that that statement is a fact or not?
Quote from: yosemitemike;868638
People play out of force of habit?

Yes they do.
They might still like it, but playing is a thing you are supposed to like, so that is actually beside the point, as it goes without saying.
People play Monopoly, Yatzee, and even Clue out of force of habit, despite the obvious and well-known problems with those games, refusing to try other games only on basis that they don't know them, so of course there are several that play D&D out of force of habit as well.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: yosemitemike on December 12, 2015, 09:33:35 PM
I think part of why D&D gets played so much is that it is more or less the hobby's common ground.  Everyone knows what it is and lots of people like it enough to be okay with playing it even if it wouldn't be their first choice.  Every one of the people might have some other game that they would rather be playing but this might well be a different game for every player.  D&D is the common ground where everyone meets.

Quote from: Catelf;868657
Let's start with one of my statements:
* There are games that are just as good as D&D, and there are people that like those games and enjoy playing them.
Now, do you agree that that statement is a fact or not?


I'm not going to play that game.  I was playing that game with my teachers when I was in 4th grade.  

When you unspecifically say that there "are people", how many people do you mean in absolute terms and relative to the number who enjoy playing D&D?

Quote from: Catelf;868657

Yes they do.


I don't find that even slightly credible as an explanation.  Once popular products have disappeared as times and tastes changed many times.  People will not buy a product over a long period of time just out of force of habit.  It has to deliver some value to them.  

Quote from: Catelf;868657

People play Monopoly, Yatzee, and even Clue out of force of habit, despite the obvious and well-known problems with those games, refusing to try other games only on basis that they don't know them, so of course there are several that play D&D out of force of habit as well.


or maybe, just maybe, people actually like those games even if board game snobs hate them.  All of those games have been on the market for decades while thousands and thousands of other games came and went.  Chalking that to people playing them out of force of habit strains my credibility past the breaking point.  It's the sort of explanation that people who disdain those games come up with to explain their longevity without having to admit that they just appeal to a lot of people.  Something I dislike can't possibly be good so people can't possibly enjoy it so now I must come up with some irrational reason they still buy and play it other than them just enjoying it.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Gronan of Simmerya on December 12, 2015, 09:41:52 PM
Quote from: Catelf;868657

They might still like it, but playing is a thing you are supposed to like, so that is actually beside the point, as it goes without saying.
People play Monopoly, Yatzee, and even Clue out of force of habit, despite the obvious and well-known problems with those games, refusing to try other games only on basis that they don't know them, so of course there are several that play D&D out of force of habit as well.


Citation from actual valid research (and not "some self appointed expert on the Internet") needed.

Or, in other words, what a fucking load of bullshit.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Catelf on December 13, 2015, 01:06:56 AM
Quote from: Gronan of Simmerya;868665
Citation from actual valid research (and not "some self appointed expert on the Internet") needed.

Or, in other words, what a fucking load of bullshit.


How about that I have seen it with my own two eyes?
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Catelf on December 13, 2015, 01:16:21 AM
Quote from: yosemitemike;868664
I think part of why D&D gets played so much is that it is more or less the hobby's common ground.  Everyone knows what it is and lots of people like it enough to be okay with playing it even if it wouldn't be their first choice.  Every one of the people might have some other game that they would rather be playing but this might well be a different game for every player.  D&D is the common ground where everyone meets.


As you apparently decides to misunderstand or somehow ignore my other points, i'll just say that this part I agree on.
Except for the last sentence, that is.
I do not meet at D&D, as I really don't like that game, not the setting, not the system, not the rules.
Sure a few aspects is ok, but D&D is a package, and it do not fit what I like.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: yosemitemike on December 13, 2015, 02:03:04 AM
Quote from: Catelf;868688
As you apparently decides to misunderstand or somehow ignore my other points


I didn't misunderstand or ignore them.  I just think they are wrong.  I didn't ignore them.  I repudiated them.

Quote from: Catelf;868688

I do not meet at D&D, as I really don't like that game, not the setting, not the system, not the rules.
Sure a few aspects is ok, but D&D is a package, and it do not fit what I like.


That's why I used phrases like "part of why" instead of "the only reason why" or "lots of people" instead of "everyone ever".
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Catelf on December 13, 2015, 09:00:50 AM
Quote from: yosemitemike;868693
I didn't misunderstand or ignore them.  I just think they are wrong.  I didn't ignore them.  I repudiated them.



That's why I used phrases like "part of why" instead of "the only reason why" or "lots of people" instead of "everyone ever".


Since you are going on what seems to be technicalities to me (i.e. the "game" you earlier claimed to not play, or something similar as I see it), which I actually find fair, because I do that a lot as well, then i'd like to hear your impression on what the other parts are of why.
Do remember that "People simply like to play it" is already mentioned and that to me, that goes without saying.

Also, the reason why I agreed with you on the major first part of what I quoted, was because you actually said some of the things I said (some of the things you claim to repudiate), you just said them in your own words.
The difference in phrasing seem to be due to our different viewpoints:
You are happy or at least ok with D&D being the hub of roleplaying games.
I am not.

You makes assumptions and analyses founded in that there is no problems.
I make assumptions and analyses based on that there is problems, because I have experienced them.
I assume we both try to analyse from a neutral stance though, but our experiences undoubtedly shines through.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Gronan of Simmerya on December 13, 2015, 10:18:26 PM
Quote from: Catelf;868686
How about that I have seen it with my own two eyes?


* BZZZZZT! * No, but thank you for playing.

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Catelf on December 14, 2015, 03:17:39 AM
Quote from: Gronan of Simmerya;868843
* BZZZZZT! * No, but thank you for playing.

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."


Too bad, I do not have "Data" then, I have "Experience".
I'm sure you do too, it just seem that mine are different from yours.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: yosemitemike on December 14, 2015, 04:16:58 AM
Quote from: Catelf;868720

Do remember that "People simply like to play it" is already mentioned and that to me, that goes without saying.


So you agree that D&D is popular because a lot of people like it?

Quote from: Catelf;868720

The difference in phrasing seem to be due to our different viewpoints:
You are happy or at least ok with D&D being the hub of roleplaying games.
I am not.


What you are or are not happy or okay with is not important.  Everything isn't about you and your feels.  D&D is the hub of RPGs whether you like it or not.  Whether I am happy with it or not is just as unimportant.  Things are what they are not what you want them to be.  

Quote from: Catelf;868720

You makes assumptions and analyses founded in that there is no problems.
I make assumptions and analyses based on that there is problems, because I have experienced them.


You seem to think that lots of people liking and enjoying D&D is somehow a problem.  It might be a problem for you but everything isn't about you and your feels.  For all of the people playing and enjoying D&D, there is no problem.  There never has been.  Can't get some other system you like better going?  That's unfortunate for you but you can't always get what you want in a social hobby like this.

Quote from: Catelf;868874
Too bad, I do not have "Data" then, I have "Experience".


In other words, you have nothing at all.  Your assertions are just as baseless and unsupported as they appeared at first glance.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Catelf on December 14, 2015, 05:13:44 AM
Quote from: yosemitemike;868880
So you agree that D&D is popular because a lot of people like it?

What you are or are not happy or okay with is not important.  Everything isn't about you and your feels.  D&D is the hub of RPGs whether you like it or not.  Whether I am happy with it or not is just as unimportant.  Things are what they are not what you want them to be.  

You seem to think that lots of people liking and enjoying D&D is somehow a problem.  It might be a problem for you but everything isn't about you and your feels.  For all of the people playing and enjoying D&D, there is no problem.  There never has been.  Can't get some other system you like better going?  That's unfortunate for you but you can't always get what you want in a social hobby like this.

In other words, you have nothing at all.  Your assertions are just as baseless and unsupported as they appeared at first glance.


1:
As said, it goes without saying.
The question is why no other game comes near, despite being just as good, and just as enjoyed as it.
And your answer is simply "Because it is". No real explanation, or even attempt at it, just "It is".
As you may have noticed, that is not much of an answer to me.

2:
"What you are or are not happy or okay with is not important.  Everything isn't about you and your feels.  D&D is the hub of RPGs whether you like it or not.  Whether I am happy with it or not is just as unimportant.  Things are what they are not what you want them to be."
That is something I can return to you without problem.
Do anything say that what makes YOU happy or ok with is more important than what I am happy or ok with?
No, and if I claimed that you just did, you would point out that that is not what you said.
So, essentially, this conversation, in extension, is obviously completely unimportant, because what I feel is not important, what You feel is not important, what Anyone feels is not important, because it is not about that individual either.

Nice try.
It doesn't work that way.
If things weren't close enough to how you wanted or liked them to be, it is very possible we would not have this argument now.

3:
"You seem to think that lots of people liking and enjoying D&D is somehow a problem."
No, that is not my problem.
At least not nowadays, but I admit that it used to be.
My "problem" is that too many thinks that D&D is the Only rpg that is playable, or even exist.
But, as the resident old codger just pointed out, I have no numbers to back up my impression, so I might be wrong.
And yet, D&D is still the most known.
Also:
"That's unfortunate for you but you can't always get what you want in a social hobby like this."
So, you are happy, and i'm not, and you are fine with that.
That is a very good message, y'know.
It really shows how you are as a person.

In other words, this specific part of the discussion started because you obviously did not understand why people tried to explain D&D's popularity, and as I have tried to explain, your main response has been "It works for me, If it doesn't work for you, then it is your problem, and not mine."
Sure, you did not say it with those words, but that is the end result.
I did what I could to explain, it is not my problem now if you keep ignoring how it may be for non-D&D-players out there.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: yosemitemike on December 14, 2015, 05:35:52 AM
Quote from: Catelf;868885

The question is why no other game comes near, despite being just as good, and just as enjoyed as it.


This is the sort of thing that gives the passive voice a bad name.  Just "as enjoyed"?  Just "as enjoyed" by how many people relative to the number that just enjoyment D&D?  Obviously, far fewer.

Quote from: Catelf;868885

That is something I can return to you without problem.


I am talking about observed reality, not my feels.  

Quote from: Catelf;868885

Nice try.
It doesn't work that way.
If things weren't close enough to how you wanted or liked them to be, it is very possible we would not have this argument now.


It actually does.  Things are what they are.  Reality is not optional despite what you might think.  We are having this argument because you are asserting absurdly implausible things with no basis at all to avoid the simple reality that is right there for everyone to see.  

Quote from: Catelf;868885

My "problem" is that too many thinks that D&D is the Only rpg that is playable, or even exist.


No one actually thinks that.  No one anywhere.  No one.  We have this thing called Google now.  Other RPGs have been out there for decades.  They aren't hard to find.  They are easier to find now than ever.      
 
Quote from: Catelf;868885

So, you are happy, and i'm not, and you are fine with that.
That is a very good message, y'know.
It really shows how you are as a person.


One who is not delusional or trying to deny reality?

Quote from: Catelf;868885

In other words, this specific part of the discussion started because you obviously did not understand why people tried to explain D&D's popularity, and as I have tried to explain, your main response has been "It works for me, If it doesn't work for you, then it is your problem, and not mine."
Sure, you did not say it with those words, but that is the end result.
I did what I could to explain, it is not my problem now if you keep ignoring how it may be for non-D&D-players out there.


As I have said several times already, I understand you fine.  I just think you are full of shit.  I'm not ignoring you.  I'm disagreeing with you.  What you say is baseless and nonsensical.  I disagree with you because I understand what you are contending and consider it bullshit.  

My response has been that lots of people like it even if you don't.  This is self-evident fact.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Catelf on December 14, 2015, 06:32:30 AM
Quote from: yosemitemike;868888
This is the sort of thing that gives the passive voice a bad name.  Just "as enjoyed"?  Just "as enjoyed" by how many people relative to the number that just enjoyment D&D?  Obviously, far fewer.

I am talking about observed reality, not my feels.  

It actually does.  Things are what they are.  Reality is not optional despite what you might think.  We are having this argument because you are asserting absurdly implausible things with no basis at all to avoid the simple reality that is right there for everyone to see.  

No one actually thinks that.  No one anywhere.  No one.  We have this thing called Google now.  Other RPGs have been out there for decades.  They aren't hard to find.  They are easier to find now than ever.      
 
One who is not delusional or trying to deny reality?

As I have said several times already, I understand you fine.  I just think you are full of shit.  I'm not ignoring you.  I'm disagreeing with you.  What you say is baseless and nonsensical.  I disagree with you because I understand what you are contending and consider it bullshit.  

My response has been that lots of people like it even if you don't.  This is self-evident fact.


Let's see ....
1:
So, again, you claim that D&D is enjoyed by far more for no other reason than that it is enjoyed far more, claiming that it is the essential hub because .... it is.
Why, Is D&D better than any other game?
Nah, you can't claim that.
Sooo... is it because it is more well known?
Circular reasoning.

2:
Observed reality.
Yeah, right, while my observed reality is how I feel.
Great.
Any more wisdom?

3:
Taking it out of context is what you are doing here:
You invalidated your own viewpoints at the same time that you invalidated mine in #2 above.

4:
Again, perceived reality, you do not go looking for game x if you don't know or don't care that it exists.

5:
Yeah, keep on thinking that, if it gives you peace of mind.

6:
Of course you aren't ignoring me. Did I say that?
You are ignoring my points though, although you claim to simply disagree.
Essentially, you are saying that you disagree that my experience is just as valid as yours, and by now you claim that your reason for doing so, is that i'm talking shit.

7:
Do I have to repeat myself once again?
It doesn't matter.
You'll ignore what I have been saying all along anyway, even though i'm actually in agreement with you on that small part, but somehow, you don't think I am.

I am done with you.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: yosemitemike on December 17, 2015, 05:16:11 AM
Quote from: Catelf;868896
Let's see ....
 claiming that it is the essential hub


The word you are looking for here is observing.  I am not claiming.  I am observing.

Quote from: Catelf;868896

Yeah, right, while my observed reality is how I feel.
Great.


Nothing you have said has anything to do with reality.  It's all your feels.


Quote from: Catelf;868896

You invalidated your own viewpoints at the same time that you invalidated mine in #2 above.


Case in point.

Quote from: Catelf;868896

Again, perceived reality, you do not go looking for game x if you don't know or don't care that it exists.


This information is not secret.  This is not some deep, dark thing.  People know and pretending they don't is silly.  I knew about Tekumel and Glorantha and Star Frontiers and Boot Hill and so on as a teenager living in a farm town in the Central Valley in the 80s with no internet.  Assuming that people don't know is just narcissistic delusion.  People know.  They may not care but if they don't care, why is that the case?  They already have something that they enjoy and that does what they want.  They are fine with what they already have even if you would rather they think differently.

Quote from: Catelf;868896

Yeah, keep on thinking that, if it gives you peace of mind.


I will.

Quote from: Catelf;868896

You are ignoring my points though, although you claim to simply disagree.
Essentially, you are saying that you disagree that my experience is just as valid as yours, and by now you claim that your reason for doing so, is that i'm talking shit.


Once, again, I'm not ignoring your points.  I'm refuting them.  I'm refuting them because they are unsupported bullshit.  You are the one spouting this "lived experience" bullshit.  I am talking about simple, observable fact and basic logic.  Despite what you seem to think, reality is not optional.  

Quote from: Catelf;868896

You'll ignore what I have been saying all along anyway, even though i'm actually in agreement with you on that small part, but somehow, you don't think I am.


No, I will refute it.  I have refuted it.  

Quote from: Catelf;868896

I am done with you.


Bye
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: TristramEvans on December 17, 2015, 06:51:37 AM
Quote from: Gronan of Simmerya;868665
Citation from actual valid research (and not "some self appointed expert on the Internet") needed.

Or, in other words, what a fucking load of bullshit.


To be fair, this applies to every statement on this thread starting with the OP.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Skarg on December 19, 2015, 12:27:50 PM
Quote from: TristramEvans;869342
To be fair, this applies to every statement on this thread starting with the OP.


Thanks for letting me know I didn't miss anything by ignoring most of it.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Lunamancer on December 20, 2015, 12:22:11 PM
In fairness, a self-evident statement does not require citation nor study. That's what makes it self-evident. Some statements, by their nature, do require studies or citations or rigorous proof. Others do not. I actually CAN provide citations to works of epistemology that back what I'm saying. I'm just not convinced that doing so would change anyone's mind.

If the point of the thread is to lay down ideas that are self-evident then making a statement that would require citations is off-topic. Asking to provide citations is besides the point, because even if the person then provided citations and it turns out their statement is true, that still doesn't make it self evident.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: yosemitemike on December 20, 2015, 09:12:30 PM
Quote from: Lunamancer;869903

If the point of the thread is to lay down ideas that are self-evident then making a statement that would require citations is off-topic.


That has not kept people from making them.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Lunamancer on December 20, 2015, 11:26:18 PM
Quote from: yosemitemike;869975
That has not kept people from making them.


Tristam was characterizing EVERY statement on this thread as needing citations. While it's true not every statement made is self-evident, it's also true that not every statement made requires citations.

At least half of what the OP covers is self-evident. Maybe they're not made in the way I would word them. I would begin with a self-evident statement that people choose to do what they believe will result in more happiness.

If an RPG is observed to be the most popular, it self-evidently follows that it's the one the most people believe with be the most fun. If an RPG is observed to be the most popular over a substantial amount of time, it's not just that the most people believe it to be fun (due to good marketing), they actually do have fun while playing it.

And if that's true, it also self-evidently follows that there is a problem with a theory that classifies an RPG as "incoherent" or somehow bad or unfun when in fact it is observed to be so popular over such a long period of time.

Said theory in fact would be falsified by such an observation. This follows from self-evident deduction from self-evident premises, and so this statement is itself self-evident.

What's not self-evident is that D&D IS such a game. If anything, that's what would require a citation. But IF its popularity is verified true (does anyone dispute it?), it does falsify GNS theory.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: yosemitemike on December 20, 2015, 11:50:28 PM
Quote from: Lunamancer;870015
Tristam was characterizing EVERY statement on this thread as needing citations.


I took that as meaning he thinks it's all a  fucking load of bullshit.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: TristramEvans on December 21, 2015, 12:43:16 AM
Quote from: Lunamancer;870015
Tristam was characterizing EVERY statement on this thread as needing citations. While it's true not every statement made is self-evident, it's also true that not every statement made requires citations.


More I was saying the whole thread was a load of bullshit. Pundit's Landmarks are far from self-evident, but the result of specious, at best, reasoning and half-baked conclusions.

I'm not sure citations would help.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: TristramEvans on December 21, 2015, 12:44:21 AM
Quote from: yosemitemike;870020
I took that as meaning he thinks it's all a  fucking load of bullshit.

Bingo.

Let me specify:

Quote from: The RPGPundit
]Here are my "Landmarks of Gaming Theory":

1. The vast majority of gamers are having fun gaming.

I would hope so, but I can't say 1) what kind of theory that is or 2) how one could possibly support that statement beyond the notion that if they weren't having fun, why would they do it? Which I suppose is the closest thing to self-evidence we're going to find in this post.

Quote
2. The vast majority of gamers are satisfied with the majority of their game as it is played.

Highly unlikely. Hence the vast, vast outpouring of independent games, heartbreakers, etc.

Quote
3. D&D is the model of what most people define as an RPG,

Most people being people who don't play RPGs. Of course, what "D&D" means to someone is completely up in the air, since its a brand name attached to a variety of disparate systems, some only tentatively connected by theme and a few catchphrases. A person who plays OD&D is not likely to offer a definition of RPGs thats the same as someone who plays AD&D, let alone 4th edition D&D.

Quote
and therefore also the model for a successfully-designed RPG.

Counter-intuitive to the extreme. Apparently this means "financial success", in which case the majority of games that most resemble D&D have largely been huge financial failures, with only a few exceptions such as Pathfinder. And there's no reason "successful-design should be equated with financial success or popularity.

Quote
It can be improved upon or changed, but any theory that suggests that D&D as a whole (in any of its versions) was a "bad" RPG is by definition in violation of the Landmarks. You don't have to say it is the "best" RPG, but you are obviously not in touch with reality if your theory claims that D&D is a "bad" game, and then try to invent some convoluted conspiracy theory as to why millions of people play it anyways, more than any other RPG.

What a load of wank.

Quote
4. Given number 3 above

#3 is not a given.

Quote
it is self-evident that games that have a broad spectrum of playstyles (as D&D does) are by definition successful games.

So now "successful" is being used to mean something besides financial success and popularity, even though that was clearly the only definition under which its original use made any sort of sense in context. This is the game theory equivalent of a ball and cup game.

Quote
Any theory that speculates that games must be narrowly-focused to be "good" games is automatically in violation of the Landmarks.

Which is a meaningless statement.

The thing is, I agree with the next statement...

Quote
Note that this doesn't mean that you must say narrow-focus games are "bad", or that narrow-focused games can't be considered appropriate, only that you cannot suggest that gamers don't want to play in RPGs that have a broad spectrum of playstyle, because they obviously do want to play exactly those kinds of games.

But the "reasoning" leading up to it in no way supports it as a conclusion.

Quote
5. Conflicts do arise in gaming groups; these conflicts are usually the product of social interaction between the players and not a problem with the rules themselves. The solution to these problems is not to "Narrow the rules", but to broaden the playstyle of a group to accomodate what the complaining players are missing. Thus, it is a Landmark that all correct gaming theories, if they deal with "player dis-satisfaction" at all, must focus the nature of that dissatisfaction on the rules ONLY to suggest that a given rules-set is too narrow; and even then only because it is a symptom of an interpersonal social conflict within a group.

Baseless assumptions.

Quote
6. Given point #3, above, any gaming theory that suggest that the GM should get disproportionately more or less power than they do in D&D in order for a game to be "good" is inherently in violation of the Landmarks.

More meaningless wankery.

Quote
The vast majority of players enjoy a game where the GM has power over the world and the players over their characters; and while a theory can suggest ways that GMs and Players can experiment with interactively creating the setting, it cannot suggest that the Players should have the power to tell the GM what to do (except for the "power" to walk away from a game).

...and trying to dictate terms based upon said wankery.

Quote
7. Any gaming theory that tries to divide gamers into specific criteria of "types" must make it clear that this is only one kind of categorization, and not an absolutist and literal interpretation that is a universal truth; it is only one form of categorizing gamers.

I don't think any theory "must" do anything of the sort, but this statement is also meaningless simply because EVERY game theory proposed, from Tri-fold to Edward's dreaded GNS, states exactly that.

Quote
8. Any theory that suggests, therefore, that its "types" are mutually exclusionary in gaming groups is in violation of the Landmarks. Individual people can end up being mutually exclusive to each other, unable to play in the same group, etc; but that is because of individual personal issues, not because of an issue of playstyle.

The house of cards tottles higher

Quote
9. Any gaming theory that suggests that a significant element of what many players find entertaining is in fact a "delusion" or unreal, or that the gamers themselves don't know what they're doing or what they're thinking, or what they want from gaming, is in violation of the landmarks.

Who cares if its in violation of "The Landmarks", as the Landmarks are just the rantings of one guy's poorly-thought out opinions? There's no weight behind this, but its stated like these are laws being passed down from on high. Pretentious nonsense. Even if, this one starts with a statement I also would generally agree with. It's just smeared all over with bullshit.

Quote
10. Given points #9 and #1, the suggestion that so-called "immersion" is not a real or viable goal in an RPG, or that "genre emulation" is not a viable priority in a game, is in violation of the Landmarks.

Given this is the Pundit's opinions, here's another unrelated opinion that doesn't in any way actually follow as a logical conclusion.

This can't even be regarded as theory, it's a thinly-veiled attempt to make a non-committal, poorly done rebuttal of Forge theory  sound as if its based upon some sort of academic reasoning.


Hence, bullshit.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Lunamancer on December 21, 2015, 10:36:15 AM
I certainly don't think EVERYTHING pundit wrote actually IS self-evident, and I certainly have problems with his logic. But I'm not out to correct his philosophy homework and point out all the places he's wrong. I also want to say where he's onto something, even if he hasn't expressed it quite right. Not everyone is strong at logic, but some people make up for it with really good heuristics.

Quote from: TristramEvans;870029
I would hope so, but I can't say 1) what kind of theory that is or 2) how one could possibly support that statement beyond the notion that if they weren't having fun, why would they do it? Which I suppose is the closest thing to self-evidence we're going to find in this post.


Yes, that's exactly it. "Fun" is entirely subjective. It isn't something that can be measured or directly observed. You can, however, observe what people do. That's not to say people can't be mistaken about what they think will bring them fun. There's even scientific jargon for this: Stated Preference vs Revealed Preference. Persistent popularity is a sign of revealed preference and it says more about what gamers actually find fun than any intensive study involving opinion polls ever could.

Quote
Highly unlikely. Hence the vast, vast outpouring of independent games, heartbreakers, etc.


This is not valid counter-evidence to Pundit's claim. Again. There can be a divide between what people "think" will be fun and what they find actually "is" fun. Where's the popularity? Where's the persistency?

He's not saying nobody genuinely has fun doing something else. Me personally, I don't much care for the direction D&D has gone, and I've moved onto another system as my main go-to game, and it's been my go-to for 15 years now, so it's not just a horrible mistake. We actually have more fun with this other game. That doesn't mean I'm going to bias myself to the point of ignoring reality.

If anything, the vast outpouring has provided a natural experiment. One would think, just by dumb luck, that just one game of the vast outpouring would have unseated D&D by now. You can't say "Well, D&D is just the name most people know because it was first." If that were a valid argument, we wouldn't be googling things. We'd be yahooing them. And I'm willing to bet if I walked into a con where I didn't know anybody, I'd have a better chance of getting a start-up game going with old school AD&D than I would with some random "modern" game. There's something to D&D that has staying power.

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Most people being people who don't play RPGs. Of course, what "D&D" means to someone is completely up in the air, since its a brand name attached to a variety of disparate systems, some only tentatively connected by theme and a few catchphrases. A person who plays OD&D is not likely to offer a definition of RPGs thats the same as someone who plays AD&D, let alone 4th edition D&D.


And this is what makes Pundit's conclusions so strong. Yes, a person playing OD&D could view things differently from someone who plays AD&D. And AD&D had a pretty big fan divide back in the day between 1st Ed and 2nd Ed. Here's the thing. They're all basically the same rules. Second only to my new go-to game is AD&D 1st Ed. But I have a huge D&D collection that spans from OD&D and includes AD&D 2nd Ed as well. I can use it all together in the same game. That's the breadth and flexibility that D&D offers. That's it's strength.

I find it unfortunate that 3E and onward is no longer backwards compatible with older editions. That was the deal-breaker for me. If I'm going to learn a whole new system and render my old collection useless, I'm going to shop around for a new game. I found one I liked better, so I'm not a D&D player anymore. I imagine a lot of people went through something similar. And yet still D&D remains the #1 game.

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Counter-intuitive to the extreme. Apparently this means "financial success", in which case the majority of games that most resemble D&D have largely been huge financial failures, with only a few exceptions such as Pathfinder. And there's no reason "successful-design should be equated with financial success or popularity.


Ehh.. you're straying from reality here. How else would you measure successful design if not by whether people actually want to play it or would pay good money for it? Are we supposed to use some strictly academic measure? Or some other "objective" set standards?

The financial failures of D&D wannabees (and the success of Pathfinder) seem  perfectly explainable from the "big tent" thesis of broader, more inclusive play. Speaking for myself, I want to add content to my library. Not re-invent the wheel. If a D&D wannabee gives me the same monsters, magic, treasure, and potential for adventure as D&D, why the hell would I want to learn a whole new system just to do the same damn thing? If instead, the D&D wannabee uses the exact same system but gives me new monsters, magic, treasure and new potentials for adventure, I've already got my credit card out.

Yes, part of being successful also means doing the legwork. You could create the perfect RPG, but if all you do is sit in your basement just waiting for the world to recognize your genius, you'll be waiting a long, long time. This is also reasonable in the world of RPGs since a huge part of the value of a game is having people to play with (another fact that favors the big tent thesis). If you go out and actively "market" and get people playing, you're adding value to the RPG. But that only works out in the long term if the RPG is actually good enough for people to want to continue playing.

I'm going to cut my response short there for time management reasons. I will say that one thing you call baseless assumption I consider to be inescapable conclusion. That will have to come some other time. Pundit maybe didn't spell out the case in the best way, but his heuristics are working pretty well.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Onix on August 26, 2016, 04:28:20 PM
I don't ask this to be a pain, I ask because I tend to get myself in trouble if I don't clarify things for myself.

I'm confused about how this subforum is intended to work. This thread seems to encourage a discussion of not Forge theory and gives landmarks for the playing field (which I can accept playing in), but the description of the subforum says "no theory".

That could mean that the forum is okay with discussing theory only in an RPG that a poster is currently working on. It also might mean "NO THEORY" and only specific questions about mechanics are allowed.

For example, I'd like to ask the community here how many of them played the basic rules of D&D (or any other games) when they first started. I think it may be important to the history of RPG but if everyone skipped them, then maybe it wasn't. That plays into how I should design any game. I may be tripping over the NO THEORY line there though.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Xanther on August 27, 2016, 08:55:44 AM
Quote from: Onix;915590
I....For example, I'd like to ask the community here how many of them played the basic rules of D&D (or any other games) when they first started. I think it may be important to the history of RPG but if everyone skipped them, then maybe it wasn't. That plays into how I should design any game. I may be tripping over the NO THEORY line there though.


I started with the three brown books, OD&D 1976 version, and then soon onto AD&D.  The OD&D rules, and AD&D as well actually, were skeletal.  That is they covered some basics but did intend or attempt to cover everything.  The rules were never originally sold as "complete," although Gygax would later change his tune on that; I think mainly for business reasons.   In comparison, OD&D were old brown bones, and AD&D polished white bones.  AD&D had more stuff (and more ad hoc sub-systems) but still the same basic rules.

The rules were also disorganized, bits and pieces spread out here and there throughout the books.  

What this led to was people naturally put flesh on the bones of the skeleton when situations arose that were not covered by the rules.  They made rulings, then wrote those down to be consistent, and thus they became rules.  Just like the common law system. :)  Some DMs just disallowed any action they didn't have a clear rule for...covering their inability to think with mumblings of by the book.

The disorganized nature of rules meant some were just missed or even dismissed as not important given their placement.  Initiative, surprise, parrying, weapon speeds, the weight of magical armor, etc.  Things spread out or discussed in a manner that made them seem an aside.  When faced with this people typically took the basic first and easiest to find rule and ignore the special cases.   So there were a lot of rules that were never used as written and a lot of rules that got crafted to put flesh on the skeleton.  A very DIY spirit is my recollection.
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Onix on August 27, 2016, 12:05:32 PM
Quote from: Xanther;915674
I started with the three brown books, OD&D 1976 version
Thanks Xanther, I'll put out a poll and a thread for discussing first games later once I get a response from an official source. I hope you repost this there!

In the mean time, I could just post a general poll and not explicitly link it to game design in the general RPG forum. . .
Title: Notice:Landmarks of Gaming Theory
Post by: Xanther on October 23, 2017, 10:42:58 PM
My late night epiphany, D&D (and it's ilk) work because people love gambling.   At the casino you risk money, strategically place your bets, and win or lose.   In D&D you have your HP and spells, you choose your tactics and your character could die or could win xp and gold.   D&D is kind of like craps, lots of bets (tactics) on the table.  

Some "theory"  games hate the risk, because they hate losing or uncertainty, but I say without risk it's not a game just a literary exercise.   Some "theory" games don't like the confusion, just too many choices, they prefer slots, still risk but no tactics, rather just lots of bells, whistles and lights.