Game Design

The RPGnet Interview: Francesca Baerald, Artist & Cartographer

RPGNet - 7 December 2017 - 12:00am
A talk with an artist about her work.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

SIGMATA: This Signal Kills Fascists RPG Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 6 December 2017 - 3:00pm
In an alternate, dystopian 1980s, the US is taken over by fascists. These thugs look to stamp out all forms of freedom. But there are those that fight back, and they have a secret weapon. When in range of FM towers broadcasting a specific signal, certain people turn into superhumans, letting them fight against the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Heropath to Relaunch on Kickstarter on the 18th

Tabletop Gaming News - 6 December 2017 - 2:00pm
Sometimes campaigns don’t go the way you want. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. All of us have started something only to realize we need to start over with a better plan. After some retooling, reconfiguring, and reassessing, a relaunch can go much further than originally anticipated. That’s what Unique Games is looking to do […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

CCP takes cues from urban planning when expanding EVE Online

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 6 December 2017 - 1:38pm

The developer explains how viewing your online title as a city rather than a game can help solicit feedback from its 'residents'. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Nemo’s War: Nautilus Upgrades and Reprint Up On Kickstarter

Tabletop Gaming News - 6 December 2017 - 1:00pm
Occasionally, you end up gaming on your own. Maybe plans just don’t line up. Or people have to cancel on you. Or you’re just really early to a gaming session. Whatever the reason, there’s plenty of times where a solo gaming option is best. Nemo’s War is one such game, where you take on the […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Terrans Now Available For Shadows in the Void

Tabletop Gaming News - 6 December 2017 - 12:00pm
I’d love to see humanity spread out to the stars. I mean, this planet is pretty awesome and all. I’m not gonna try and deny that. But, c’mon! There’s a whole universe out there to explore! So I wish we could be like the Terrans in Shadows in the Void. They’ve got their huge spaceships […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Best of 2017: Star Wars: The Old Republic, five years on

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 6 December 2017 - 11:52am

Katherine Cross explores the evolution of The Old Republic and explains why its latest expansion was worthy of being given the much-coveted title of KotOR 3. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Ubisoft's Rainbow Six Siege passes 25 million players

Social/Online Games - Gamasutra - 6 December 2017 - 11:33am

Roughly 2 years after its initial launch, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege has surpassed 25 million players. ...

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Midweek Snippets

Tabletop Gaming News - 6 December 2017 - 11:00am
A cold wind is blowing here in Atlanta. Yes, I know many of you are much colder than we are here, but it was also almost 70F out yesterday. Today it’ll be closer to 45F. Definitely glad that, earlier this week, I got out my extra blankets that were buried in my closet. So those’ll […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Vesuvius Media Announces Dwar7s Winter

Tabletop Gaming News - 6 December 2017 - 10:00am
Winter is coming… No, really, it is. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we’re just a couple weeks away from it. Winter is also coming to the land of Dwar7s. Vesuvius Media has announced the newest stand-alone expansion in their saga. It’s called Dwar7s Winter. And yes, Dwar7s Spring and Dwar7s Summer are in the works. […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Tokyo Ghoul: The Card Game Now Available

Tabletop Gaming News - 6 December 2017 - 9:00am
So, you know, I don’t want to say that it’s a good idea running around and eating people. I just want to put that out there right from the start. However, if you’re maybe thinking of going out and doing just that, I might suggest that you, instead, play some Tokyo Ghoul: The Card Game. […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

SolarFlare Games Announces Kids Vs. Series

Tabletop Gaming News - 6 December 2017 - 8:00am
SolarFlare Games is looking ahead to the new year. You’ve seen their Robotech announcement (hopefully), but that’s not all they’re working on. They also have their Kids Vs. series of games. These will be making their way to Kickstarter next year. From the website: You and your friends are tired of having all your great […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Gangs of Rome Available To Order From Warlord Games

Tabletop Gaming News - 6 December 2017 - 7:00am
The Roman Empire has been around for hundreds of years. However, the glory of the empire has faded. Now, noble houses hire the toughest citizens they can find in order to fight for them in the streets. The winners are bound to get a seat in the Senate. But how much blood must be spilled […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

What 'Conscious Capitalism' can teach AAA - by Kevin Murphy

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 6 December 2017 - 6:28am
A look at how the principles of Conscious Capitalism (book/movement by Wholefood CEO John Mackey and others) warrant serious consideration in light of microtransactions run amok and plummeting EA share price.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Coming Up to Speed - by Max Krembs

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 6 December 2017 - 6:15am
It takes a lot of effort to learn everything you need to know to communicate in a new role. Here are a few of the strategies that worked well for me!
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Attractiveness of SEA markets to Chinese game developers, problems and potential solutions - by Jason Kong

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 6 December 2017 - 6:14am
Attractiveness of SEA markets to Chinese game developers, problems and potential solutions
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Fantasy Flight Games Previews Yellow Cards From Star Wars: Destiny: Legacy Expansion

Tabletop Gaming News - 6 December 2017 - 6:00am
The Star Wars galaxy is filled with all manner of characters on the fringes. They don’t necessarily follow any particular ideology. They’re just looking out for themselves. They’re a resourceful lot, making-do in a galaxy that’s struggling with war. In the Legacy expansion for Star Wars: Destiny, these characters and their kind are colored yellow. […]
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Pain, Difficulty, and Getting Over It - by Lars Doucet

Gamasutra.com Blogs - 6 December 2017 - 1:11am
"Getting Over It" is the kind of game I would never make, it's super painful and not my thing at all, and I love it.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

Opposing World Views

Gnome Stew - 6 December 2017 - 12:00am

It was played over the top and cartoony…

We all develop outlooks and philosophies that guide us through life, explaining how the world is supposed to work. This can feed into how we interact with a game world in an RPG, even when we’re playing characters vastly different from ourselves. So what happens when we run into a scenario where the GM and the player are on completely different pages about how the world works?

 Especially when those opposing world views create a disconnect in what the player is trying to achieve and what the GM thinks should happen.I imagine you’re looking at me with a quizzical look thinking, “Well, the GM is defining the world, so suck it up, Ang.” It’s not always that easy, though. Especially when those opposing world views create a disconnect in what the player is trying to achieve and what the GM thinks should happen.

To clarify a little further, let me give you this example. A friend recently ran a one shot that was essentially Survivor in Hell. The premise of the game was that Satan plucked the PCs from Purgatory to offer them a chance to win their soul back. It was a fun game and concept, but I had to keep taking a step back from my personal outlook and beliefs on the nature of heaven and hell. Otherwise, I would have ended up spending the entire game arguing against the very precepts the game was built on.

Of the twelve PCs available to be played, pretty much all of them had been tricked into selling their souls: a phone number and name exchanged on a cocktail napkin, an NDA for an experimental medical procedure, a receipt for a case of beer, a EULA for a dating website, etc. On top of that, most of the PCs didn’t actually get to experience the benefit of the sale of their soul either. There was some other Devilish trickery throughout the contest, but I wno’t go into that because it’s a game that might get run again and I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

Either way, my personal beliefs pretty much reject the concept of Heaven and Hell. I’m not particularly religious, but the idea of absolutes like that always rubbed me the wrong way. That’s not how the world works, so why would the ‘end’ be so cut and dry? If I had designed the scenario, there probably would have been a little more give in the absolute nature of Satan’s deal with each contestant. I wasn’t running the game, though, so I had to work within the constraints the GM put forth, even if it went against how I think the world should work.

Not every disconnect between a GM and player worldview is going to be quite so religiously philosophical. Sometimes it’s just a matter of the player thinking, “This should totally work and solve the problem.” and the GM deciding that it doesn’t stand a chance of working.

Recently, I had the chance to try my hand at running a Tales for the Loop one-shot. For those who haven’t seen it, Tales is a game of playing kids in the ‘80’s that never were’. The game aims for a very specific feel, so they provide a very clear set of principles for running and playing the game. I made sure to clearly state these for my players at the beginning of the game:

  1. It’s worth a read… and it’s really pretty.

    Your home town is full of strange and fantastic things.

  2. Everyday life is dull and unforgiving.
  3. Adults are out of reach and out of touch.
  4. The land of the Loop is dangerous but Kids will not die.
  5. The game is played scene by scene.
  6. The world is described collaboratively.

Take special note of number three. One of the players either forgot this or didn’t take it to heart. As the kids discovered who was behind the bad things that were happening, his solution to make the problem go away was to call his mom, a scientist at the Loop, and have her tell security. This player happened to be a fairly dominant player, so his declaration that this would solve the problem made the other players back down on doing anything else.

Knowing this wasn’t how the game worked, I mentioned the principles again to remind them of how the game world is supposed to work. Using real-world logic instead of game logic, he continued to argue that his solution would work regardless of what I was saying. Eventually this devolved into a minor argument where I finally had to bluntly state, “Your solution will not work because of the nature of the game and if you kids do not act further on this information, <NPCs in the game> will end up dead.”

Now, many GMs would have probably just gone ahead with the player’s plan and let them discover the error of their ways the hard way, letting the NPCs die from the players’ inaction. Part of me wonders if I should have done that, but one of the other players was already emotionally invested in one of those NPCs and other aspects of the game, so the death of those characters could have crossed an emotional line she wasn’t prepared for. While it was in keeping with what the dominant player was demanding, I wasn’t willing to potentially hurt another player simply to teach him a lesson in the way the game’s world is supposed to work.

So, what do you do when there’s a disconnect between what the player and GM think should happen?

For the player, remember that the GM is the final arbiter of what happens in the game. It can be really frustrating when what you’re expecting to happen is veering off in a direction you don’t think is reasonable, but the GM is doing a lot of the heavy lifting in this game. You can definitely try and explain what you were expecting to happen, but don’t let it devolve into an argument that’s going to derail the game. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a deep breath and take a step back from your own point of view. Relax and try and enjoy the rest of the game. Ultimately, if the disconnect is too great, find a different GM to game with. Or, take a turn running a game yourself so you can see how it works from their perspective.

For the GM, having a player on a completely different page from you can be really frustrating, but that is part of the job of being a GM. When you come face to face with one of these disconnects and a player is obviously expecting something different to happen that what you’re narrating, take a moment and try and figure out what the player expected or what they intended with their action. Some players will take elaborate effort to describe an action and be confused when the result is obviously not what they wanted. Taking the time to parse what they intend can help bridge this gap.

These type of little disconnects happen all the time in tiny ways, but we gamers navigate through them easily. When they’re big, though, it can take a little bit of communication and compromise to keep the game moving forward.

Have you ever run into a clash of world views in one of your games? I’d be interested to hear how it worked out.

Categories: Game Theory & Design

Character Class: Looking for Group, Part Two

RPGNet - 6 December 2017 - 12:00am
Gaming with strangers.
Categories: Game Theory & Design

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