Game Design

Video Game Deep Cuts: Livestreaming Your Fortnite Addiction - by Simon Carless Blogs - 8 July 2018 - 7:43am
This week's highlights include a fascinating longform piece on a video streamer, Fortnite's unexpected story flourishes, and more on gaming addiction being 'singled out'.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Review Roundup

Tabletop Gaming News - 7 July 2018 - 11:00am
Hey everyone, Sorry about the posts the other day. As I’d mentioned previously, I wasn’t at the office the last couple days. And, well, you know the old saying, “if it isn’t one thing, it’s another”? That kinda sums up my last 2 days. Not anything godawful, but just… “well… ok, then.” So, you kinda […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Previews Han Solo Expansion For Star Wars: Legion

Tabletop Gaming News - 7 July 2018 - 5:40am
Han Solo started off as just a scoundrel pilot, taking Luke, Obi-Wan, and some droids to Alderaan. However, he came to be a major leader in the Rebellion… before going back to being just a scoundrel pilot. But that last bit’s beside the point. The Han Solo Commander expansion for Star Wars: Legion depicts Han […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Steamforged Taking Gen Con Pre-Orders For LE Minis

Tabletop Gaming News - 7 July 2018 - 5:35am
Good lord… Gen Con’s just a couple weeks away. I… only have about 900 billion things left to do before the show. But it’s fine. Everything’s fine. This is fine. Included on that list is get in my pre-order for the LE minis coming from Steamforged. You can put your order in now and even […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Josef Bugman Available to Pre-Order For Blood Bowl

Tabletop Gaming News - 7 July 2018 - 5:27am
The world of Blood Bowl has many legendary players. But few are as legendary as Josef Bugman. Player, coach, master brewer, he does it all. And Forge World is taking orders for two new figures for him over on their website. Get yours now before the season begins. From the post: The name Josef Bugman […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Way of the Force Now Available for Star Wars: Destiny

Tabletop Gaming News - 7 July 2018 - 5:24am
The next expansion for Star Wars: Destiny, Way of the Force, is now available. Hop into your pod racer, see some of your favorite characters, grab their equipment, and fight either for or against the Dark Side with a whole plethora of new options for your decks. The set covers pretty much every era of […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Paizo Previews Trapfinding in Pathfinder 2.0

Tabletop Gaming News - 7 July 2018 - 5:07am
It’s a trap! Ok, obligatory reference out of the way, we can move on. Pressure plates. Tripwires. Buckets perched precariously on partially-open doors. The adventuring world is filled with all manner of traps of nefarious means. But how will they be handled in the new edition of Pathfinder? In this preview, we get ourselves a […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

New Australian Sets Available for Bolt Action

Tabletop Gaming News - 7 July 2018 - 5:04am
Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! The Australians are hitting the beach and looking to push back the Axis forces in Bolt Action. A whole new wave of releases is available from Warlord Games. There’s all sorts of artillery, as well as new commando units, and other specialized groups. From the post: The second wave of Australians has […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

30th Anniversary Star Wars RPG Book Now Available

Tabletop Gaming News - 7 July 2018 - 4:51am
Many of us weren’t gaming 30 years ago when the original Star Wars RPG book came out. But then, I guarantee there’s those of you out there with a very well-worn and probably well-loved copy. Either way, if you’ve never played it but want to, or have played it for 30 years, there’s the new […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How StarCraft and Shower Epiphanies Influenced Diablo 2's Design - by David Craddock Blogs - 6 July 2018 - 8:04am
A combination of late-morning showers and customizing StarCraft's research trees had major design consequences for Diablo 2.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Unity Wheel Collider for Motor vehicle Tutorial 2018 - by Vivek Tank Blogs - 6 July 2018 - 6:24am
The main objective of this post is to give an idea of how to work with wheel collider and physics of Wheel Collider.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Mechanical Storytelling - by Nathan Savant Blogs - 6 July 2018 - 2:41am
A review of lessons learned while studying mechanical storytelling in games through the lens of Meyers-Briggs' personality profiles.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Don’t Just Sit There!

Gnome Stew - 6 July 2018 - 12:00am

If you’re not going to DO something, you may as well be a potato.

You’ve worked hard prepping for a game with some interesting investigation scenes, cool action sequences, and plenty of opportunities for roleplaying. Bringing it to the table, most of the players dive right into it, but during what you thought would be an exciting scene, one player shrugs and declares, “I can’t do anything here.” Good GMs work hard to provide opportunities for everyone at the table, but unfortunately, you can lead a player to the action, but you can’t make them do anything they don’t want to.

This is player behavior I began considering recently after running two games at Origins. In both the games I ran, there were varying degrees of players failing to engage with the scene or the game as a whole. One of those games was particularly frustrating for me because the character failing to act had been pivotal during the playtest I ran.

Before I go any further, I want to caveat that players failing to find something for their character to do isn’t always their fault. Good GMs seriously do need to plan and run their games looking for ways to get everyone involved. You’ve got to balance the session or the campaign around making sure everyone gets to do their thing during the game at least some of the time. Bad or weak GMs may not consider the characters in play when designing their adventures or even may squash people doing things they don’t expect.

All that said, it is ultimately up to the player to find ways to get their character into the thick of things. Not every scene is going to be suited to you doing that one thing your character is really good at. But just because you can’t do that one thing doesn’t mean you just sit there or go wait in the car until everyone else finishes up. Well, you could, but what fun is that?

This whole situation was really brought home by the one game at Origins. I had run a playtest a couple weeks beforehand, so I could make sure I understood the system (at least passably), be sure the PCs worked, and that the scenario itself was solid. In that playtest game, a reporter with fae leanings was played by a player who got her deeply involved in the investigation and made her essential for the resolution of the problem they were dealing with. At Origins, the exact same character did no investigating and had to be prompted to do anything. And even when prompted, the player struggled to come up with something for the character to do.

Don’t be that guy. You know he loses in the end.

Not long ago, Senda wrote a great article talking about the difference between proactive and reacting gaming. This was something else completely. This wasn’t a difference in preferred play style as much as it was a difference between players understanding HOW to get involved in a game. One player took a look at the character and saw all the opportunities she presented. The other player took a look and only saw the character’s limitations.

Some of this difference could be chalked up to experience. During the playtest, the character’s player was someone who has been playing for years and is someone I count on to always dive headfirst into whatever game or character he’s playing. The player at Origins seemed very hesitant and uncertain and somewhat inexperienced with roleplaying games. While I did what I could to coax her into getting involved, trying to run the game while also doing that was … difficult.

It isn’t always a problem with experience, though. I’ve seen otherwise seasoned players do the exact same thing when they’ve gotten themselves into a repetitive rut with their characters. They’re so used to doing the same thing over and over again, they fail to start thinking creatively about what they could do when they can’t do that awesome thing.

So, what’s my point with all of this? Players, just DO something.

Yeah, maybe you can’t do that one thing your character is really good at, but you’re still there in the scene. Not being able to do your shtick doesn’t mean you can’t do anything:

  • Do something to assist one of the other characters. Most games have mechanics that provide some benefit to the other players when you try and help out or do something to assist them. Gang up bonuses, flanking, assisting with the skill check.
  • Do something to set yourself up to be more effective on your next attack or action. Plenty of games also have mechanics that let you take a round to make your next move more effective. Taking aim in combat or taking ten in non-combat.
  • Do something to help investigate or figure out what’s going. Maybe you can’t be effective in the combat or the social interaction. That doesn’t mean your character isn’t in the scene. Take a look around, see if there’s something else you can do for the long term goals.
  • Do something in character. Just because you can’t do something super effective in the moment doesn’t mean your character is sidelined. Roleplaying your character’s reactions (but not screwing over the actions of the other PCs) is a great way to still be involved even if you can’t be pivotal to the scene.

You’re in a game, you’re playing a character. Get involved and just DO something. That’s what we’re all at the table for, so dive in and get involved!


Categories: Game Theory & Design

Thursday Terrain Corner

Tabletop Gaming News - 5 July 2018 - 11:00am
Welcome back, everyone. I hope you all had a safe and happy 4th of July, whether you celebrated anything special or not. I had a good time playing D&D and then watching the Great British Baking Show, just as our Founding Fathers would’ve wanted, I’m sure. Also, my time sense is all screwed up. Yesterday […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Steamforged Previews Veteran Calculus For Guild Ball

Tabletop Gaming News - 5 July 2018 - 10:00am
When I say, “I had calculus back in college” I don’t mean, y’know… Anyway, Calculus is one of the minis in the upcoming Faithful box for Guild Ball. How has she changed from her original form? Well, check her out, along with a render of her new mini. From the post: So, pretty simple card, […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Cryptozoic Announces Wallet Party Game

Tabletop Gaming News - 5 July 2018 - 9:00am
Wallet is a new party game coming next week from Cryptozoic. In it, players are looking to get away with the most cash. However, you can’t just whooooh, take the money and run. Nope, that wallet’s hot, and if you’ve got too much money, or too many IDs, you’ll get caught by the authorities. From […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Munchkin: Unicorns and Friends Expansion Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 5 July 2018 - 8:00am
There feels like there’s a billion Munchkin expansions out there, each one adding in new elements to the game to keep players on their toes. Currently, Steve Jackson Games is running a Kickstarter for a new one. It’s all about Unicorns and Friends, in fact, that’s what they’ve decided to call it. From the campaign: […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

How to Expand Replayable Games with Supplemental Content - by Josh Bycer Blogs - 5 July 2018 - 7:50am
Games that are already meant to be replayed can have trouble when it comes to adding new content, but today's post looks at how the rogue-like and strategy genre have found a way around it with Supplemental Content.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Starfinder Armory Coming This Month

Tabletop Gaming News - 5 July 2018 - 7:00am
In the far-off future that is Starfinder, technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. All sorts of new weapons and gear and armor exist. So, what sort of stuff will you equip your character with? You can figure that out by picking up the futuristic Sears Catalog that is the Starfinder Armory, coming this month. […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Warlord Game Previews New Konflikt ’47 Releases

Tabletop Gaming News - 5 July 2018 - 6:00am
With new technology comes new ways to wage war. In 1947, as the 2nd World War rages on, every nation looks to secure victory via new arms. In this preview for Konflikt ’47, we get a look at some of the units coming in the new Defiance expansion book. From the post: New nations join […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design


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