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Author Topic: At the forefront of story-games thought  (Read 1601 times)

JDCorley

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At the forefront of story-games thought
« on: December 28, 2011, 09:58:10 am »
I did a quick survey in another thread that I thought was interesting, so I thought I'd pull out the results here and maybe supplement them some more. I was testing the theory that Grey Ranks and Poison'd were at the forefront of storygames thinking, so I went to story-games.com and started counting discussion threads. It's not a perfect method - for example, if someone is posting a lot about Smallville in threads that don't have that in the subject line, it's not going to catch that.  But I think it's got a good view of what people are interested enough in to think about and request discussion on in 2010-2011.  (Pundit's weird "Google result counting" method of course includes people who hate a game, Amazon entries, and discussions from years past.)

Fiasco: 127
Apocalypse World: 126
Dungeons & Dragons (searched for "D&D"): 65
Hell For Leather: 25
Burning Wheel or Empires: 23
Diaspora: 23
Dresden Files: 23
Dogs in the Vineyard: 22
Smallville: 19
Happy Birthday, Robot!: 17
In A Wicked Age: 15
Mouse Guard: 14
3:16 : 13
Bliss Stage: 12
Trail of Cthulhu*: 12
Penny For My Thoughts: 10
Sorcerer: 10
Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple: 8
Leverage: 7
Vampire (any edition): 4
Shadowrun: 4
Call of Cthulhu: 3
Grey Ranks: 3
Spirit of the Century/"SOTC": 3
Mage (any edition): 2
The Shadow of Yesterday: 2
Poison'd: 2
Werewolf/Mafia/Are You The Traitor?: 2
Hollowpoint: 2
Stealing Cthulhu: 2
Hamlet's Hit Points: 1
Riddle of Steel: 1
My Life With Master: 1
Changeling (any edition): 1
Chess: 1
Trollbabe: 0
Kill Puppies for Satan: 0
Mutant City Blues*: 0
Esoterrorists*: 0

"Pathfinder" only gets 3 hits, but some of those 65 D&D threads were about D&D3.*, so make of that what you will.

* Gumshoe gets 1 hit speaking about it generally, not in connection with any specific game.

Any other games anyone wants me to check out?

And yes, this does include the members-only forum, which I think is just the forum discussion forum, now that the design stuff has been mostly moved to a separate sub-site, so I don't think there are very many hits there.

I'm thinking of doing a postcount analysis of this next, to see if some games generate more vigorous/controversial discussion than others.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 10:39:27 am by JDCorley »

Rincewind1

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At the forefront of story-games thought
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2011, 01:27:15 pm »
On the topic of thoughts about storygames.

I like them. Especially Fiasco is a funny game - even if that's just a few rules for storytelling, and a bunch of tables henceforth. When I was a boyscout, we used to play in such matter practically each time at the campfire - now I am a older, much more bitter, so I guess I need a little mechanics to give my imagination a run for it's money.

I do like Apocalypse World, but I dislike Poison'd. Why?

Because AW, despite the "teh sex0rz", is what I find, a good game. While Poison'd, without all the needless rape, is just a poorer version of Fiasco in a pirate setting. In other words - it uses controversial subjects not to create interesting content (like Get Carter did), but instead it relies on cheap tricks to lure people into checking it out (like Saw series.)
Furthermore, I consider that  This is Why We Don't Like You thread should be closed

JDCorley

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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2011, 03:07:59 pm »
Apocalypse World! I should have checked that one originally. It has 126 threads between 2010 and 2011.  Clearly it has a lot of mindshare.

Pundit's theory is that Grey Ranks, which has 3 threads about it, is far more important to story gamers than Fiasco, and all this discussion is a smokescreen...they're all faking it!
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 03:15:54 pm by JDCorley »

Bloody Stupid Johnson

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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2011, 05:42:16 pm »
Maybe counts for Sorcerer, Trollbabe, My Life With Master?
Riddle of Steel?
 
If we're trying to get relative counts of the particularly gross items, maybe include 'Kill Puppies for Satan' (at least, it sounds evil...) and 'Hell for Leather'.
 
Surprised DitV didn't get more love (did you search by acronym as well? Or for just 'Dogs'?).

JDCorley

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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2011, 05:48:21 pm »
Sorcerer: 10
Trollbabe: 3
(Actually Trollbabe has only had 6 topics about it in the entirety of the lifetime of story-games.)

Hell For Leather: 25. I was surprised by this one, lots of people played it and posted about it. Seems to be an over-the-top game in the style of HoL or Underground.

Kill Puppies For Satan: 0.  The last topic about it on the site was in 2009.  Since it's a parody game, it's not really surprising.

My Life With Master: 1 (also searched "MLWM")
Riddle of Steel: 1

Thanks for the reminder on Dogs. That adds 7 to the total. I'll update the original post.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 05:51:37 pm by JDCorley »

Benoist

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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2011, 01:33:07 am »
How many hits for Spirit of the Century?

Spinachcat

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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2011, 02:27:26 am »
The concept of Fiasco sounds cool, but I haven't played it yet. Anyone here actually play it?

Rincewind1

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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2011, 02:29:56 am »
Quote from: Spinachcat;498326
The concept of Fiasco sounds cool, but I haven't played it yet. Anyone here actually play it?


I'm trying to play it in PbP, and I'll probably give it a spin in a week or two. It does sound an interesting storytelling exercise.
Furthermore, I consider that  This is Why We Don't Like You thread should be closed

DominikSchwager

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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2011, 05:59:05 am »
So, what you are saying is that pundy is misrepresenting the storygames community and talking out of his ass.

I could have told you that without using google.

JDCorley

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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2011, 09:36:19 am »
I actually used the built-in search on story-games.com. Pundy (that's so adorable!) was the one using Google and counting results.

Spirit of the Century/"SOTC" has 3 hits in 2010-2011.

I think a lot of the FATE games (Dresden, SOTC, Diaspora) are discussed in each other's threads too.  Diaspora has 23 hits. I'll add them to the OP.

I've played a LOT of Fiasco. It deserves every accolade it's gotten.

Here are some interesting things about it from a traditional-gamer (I don't agree with the normal way this term is used either, by the by) point of view:

* The situation generator is entirely set up on random tables, called a "playset". Monthly free playsets have come out to set your Fiasco in areas as diverse as an Antarctic research station, New York in 1905, a WOW guild, and a touring rock band.

* You can choose to play Fiasco without ever resolving a situation. Every turn you announce whether you want to say where your character is and what they're doing there OR you want to say how the scene works out for the character.  The second is more like GMing. But you can play every game of Fiasco forever without ever saying anything other than what your character does and says, if you want.

* Fiasco has a mechanic in the form of concluding a scene by selecting a die out of a pool. You can do it yourself or someone can do it when they feel the scene's concluded. Nobody has to say anything about it, they can just keep roleplaying, and push the die across to you, or you just pick it up without mentioning it.  After that, play passes to the next player. This helps a lot of people with immersion.

I can answer 100 questions about Fiasco, I've played it a loooot (and helped with a very very early alpha of the game.) It's super fun and hilarious.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2011, 09:50:22 am by JDCorley »

BedrockBrendan

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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2011, 10:55:50 am »
Have you tried doing "Dungeons and Dragons" in addition to "D&D" on your search. I suspect that may increase the numbers quite a bit.

This strikes me as something that is very hard to quantify though. Storygames.com is probably just a narrow slice of what is going on with the storygame movement (and that itself is not something I am terribly familiar with so bear with me). There are also plenty of pro-story gamers posting on more mainstream sites like ENworld, RPGnet, etc.

I actually think combining you and pundit's approach is going to yield a lot more data (like you say google searches will cover lots of ground and include anti-story game hits) but it does give you a much broader snapshot of how much the games themselves are being discussed (which is also important to the discussion). I think you need both. You need to see how much storygamers themselves are talking about something, but you also need to see how much that is impacting the larger gaming community. It may produce some interesting conclusions. For example, you could have a game that is marginally of interest to storygamers (even though it comes from the storygamer movement) but gets lots of play or lots of talk among traditional gamers.

JDCorley

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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2011, 11:17:32 am »
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;498516
Have you tried doing "Dungeons and Dragons" in addition to "D&D" on your search. I suspect that may increase the numbers quite a bit.

I did that already actually.

Quote
This strikes me as something that is very hard to quantify though. Storygames.com is probably just a narrow slice of what is going on with the storygame movement (and that itself is not something I am terribly familiar with so bear with me). There are also plenty of pro-story gamers posting on more mainstream sites like ENworld, RPGnet, etc.

Definitely true, but there is no "movement".

Quote
I actually think combining you and pundit's approach is going to yield a lot more data (like you say google searches will cover lots of ground and include anti-story game hits) but it does give you a much broader snapshot of how much the games themselves are being discussed (which is also important to the discussion). I think you need both. You need to see how much storygamers themselves are talking about something, but you also need to see how much that is impacting the larger gaming community.

The theory was that this was the forefront of story game thought. I have no idea how something impacts "the larger gaming community", measuring that is impossible.

Quote
It may produce some interesting conclusions. For example, you could have a game that is marginally of interest to storygamers (even though it comes from the storygamer movement) but gets lots of play or lots of talk among traditional gamers.

People who have search capabilities at other sites are welcome to do the same, I think it might be interesting?  RPGNet's search doesn't work and I don't have an ENWorld or a Forge account, so...

I don't know if there's a blog aggregator people are interested in, that would be the only way to search those.

A Google search and then saying "well, poison'd has 879,000 hits, so therefore it's MUCH more important than Fiasco to story gamers in January 2012" is just flat stupid.  Google finds everyone who ever said the word in any context, even if it was five years ago and was someone saying "Hey, I heard about this crap game? Haha, how stupid." It doesn't tell you anything about what's in the forefront of story-games thinking.

Remember that some of the data here (and what you point out about rpg.net people with an interest in story) can be explained by using my (wise, thoughtful) definition of story gaming that includes all play aimed at story, whatever the game system, instead of the (foolish, wicked) definition of story gaming that most people use, which has to do with what label we stick on a game book in the game store I guess. My definition accounts for the large number of threads about using D&D in story based ways. The widely used definition falls over and hits its head on a fence trying to do so.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2011, 11:22:38 am by JDCorley »

BedrockBrendan

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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2011, 11:51:00 am »
Quote from: JDCorley;498525

The theory was that this was the forefront of story game thought. I have no idea how something impacts "the larger gaming community", measuring that is impossible.


I can't really illuminate this much as I know little about the game and didn't really follow the discussion you and pundit had on the subject.

In terms of impacting the larger gaming community, you may have trouble quantifying it (just like you are going to have trouble quantifying something like how many people in a given town play D&D). But you can certainly find evidence of its impact through online discussions about it, blog entries, etc. For example, to take something I am a bit more familiar with, you can see that something like GNS theory has had an impact beyond places like the forge if you comb through threads on ENworld (which is a pretty mainstream gaming site, so I would include it in the "larger gaming community"). I've noticed lots of GNS terminology and concepts surface there (generally from a handful of posters, but it is still having an impact on the discussion).



Quote
People who have search capabilities at other sites are welcome to do the same, I think it might be interesting?  RPGNet's search doesn't work and I don't have an ENWorld or a Forge account, so...


I only post here and Enworld. For RPGnet, you can always do a google search with the search term + "rpg.net" (that is how I find things there).

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I don't know if there's a blog aggregator people are interested in, that would be the only way to search those.


You may just have to do a google search and choose your key words well. I think with blogs it would be more about finding representative examples than getting pure numbers (since it is going to take a lot more than a simple search to get any substantive data on blogs in that respect). But if you find 10 blogs about the game in question and examine how each addresses it, that is information that could be useful.

Quote
A Google search and then saying "well, poison'd has 879,000 hits, so therefore it's MUCH more important than Fiasco to story gamers in January 2012" is just flat stupid.  Google finds everyone who ever said the word in any context, even if it was five years ago and was someone saying "Hey, I heard about this crap game? Haha, how stupid." It doesn't tell you anything about what's in the forefront of story-games thinking.


It is just another data point, but shouldn't be discounted. If you do a google search of poisn'd and fiasco and compare those two numbers, that still tells you something. It doesn't give you a conclusion without more data. But it is an important thing to know. If more people are googling fiasco or if more people are googline poison'd that is significant.

Quote
Remember that some of the data here (and what you point out about rpg.net people with an interest in story) can be explained by using my (wise, thoughtful) definition of story gaming that includes all play aimed at story, whatever the game system, instead of the (foolish, wicked) definition of story gaming that most people use, which has to do with what label we stick on a game book in the game store I guess. My definition accounts for the large number of threads about using D&D in story based ways. The widely used definition falls over and hits its head on a fence trying to do so.


I think the issue is you have to deal with things as they are, not as you wish them to be. If you use a different definition of storygaming than the vast majority of people use, it will lead to confusion, but I think it will also produce a somewhat skewed analysis. I am not saying you shouldn't advocate for your definition if you think it is better, but I don't think it should be used to amass information on the subject as it exists. I don't really have interest in storygames one way or another personally, so it isn't like I have a dog in the fight. But your definition strikes me as overly broad. There is a lot of gray area in this debate because it is really more of a spectrum (like say heavy metal categories, or musical genres) than a concrete thing. Your definition, IMO, may absorb too much of the gray area (where people talk about story say but not in the way most people think when they use the term story game).

JDCorley

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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2011, 11:59:44 am »
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;498539
In terms of impacting the larger gaming community, you may have trouble quantifying it (just like you are going to have trouble quantifying something like how many people in a given town play D&D). But you can certainly find evidence of its impact through online discussions about it, blog entries, etc. For example, to take something I am a bit more familiar with, you can see that something like GNS theory has had an impact beyond places like the forge if you comb through threads on ENworld (which is a pretty mainstream gaming site, so I would include it in the "larger gaming community"). I've noticed lots of GNS terminology and concepts surface there (generally from a handful of posters, but it is still having an impact on the discussion).

Right, but how would you compare 100 posts from 2 posters to 100 posts from 80 posters? You could only do it by counting posts and assigning them to particular posters? That would be way too involved. But in the second case, the impact on what gamers are thinking/talking about would be far more significant.

Quote
I only post here and Enworld. For RPGnet, you can always do a google search with the search term + "rpg.net" (that is how I find things there).

It doesn't work for finding what's happening in 2010-2011 - rpg.net's copyright notice at the bottom of each page causes a google hit for every year it's been open.

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You may just have to do a google search and choose your key words well.

Not really, remember, Google doesn't find stuff by year (at least not in terms of hits).

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But if you find 10 blogs about the game in question and examine how each addresses it, that is information that could be useful.

Sure...I'm not very active on blogs, though. It could be good for someone who is.





Quote
I think the issue is you have to deal with things as they are, not as you wish them to be. If you use a different definition of storygaming than the vast majority of people use, it will lead to confusion, but I think it will also produce a somewhat skewed analysis.

That's why I only used topic headings rather than looking at (say) individual posts on ENWorld and trying to decide if someone would consider it a story-gamer post or not.

Quote
But your definition strikes me as overly broad. There is a lot of gray area in this debate because it is really more of a spectrum (like say heavy metal categories, or musical genres) than a concrete thing. Your definition, IMO, may absorb too much of the gray area (where people talk about story say but not in the way most people think when they use the term story game).

I agree there's a spectrum, but that's all right. You can still define what pop music is even if it shades into rock or electronic or jazz at various points on the spectrum.  Remember, my definition is far less harsh in terms of where lines are drawn than the widely-used-and-wrong definition.  Your objection actually applies to the widely-used definition more than to mine.

JDCorley

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« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2011, 12:05:15 pm »
Actually, I just thought of Google Trends. "Poison'd" and "Grey Ranks" don't have enough hits to be ranked at all - ever. Nobody searched for those terms in enough quantity, in any year, to rank on Google Trends.

For contrast, here's Apocalypse World.