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Try a Different Way vs. Flow (Status Quo)

Marc
Mistaken
Olympia, WA
Post #: 51
Gonna ditto a lot of what has been said here already.

To me, it boils down to two basic situations: meetup and private games.

If I go to meetup, I am accepting the following:

  • I will probably play with at least one stranger or acquaintance I don't know well
  • I may not get to play the game I want to play, or with the people I want to play with
  • Other players will bring varying levels of skill to the table, and I won't be able to gauge beforehand how they'll play
  • I will not have the social means to tell someone that I don't like what they're doing without seeming like a dick

I accept all of these things as a consequence of going to meetup and playing one-shots with strangers. Thus, something like "try a different way" is out of place, because it either puts me in the position of sounding like I know better than the stranger I'm playing with, or it puts me at the mercy of what said stranger thinks I'm doing wrong.

If I play with friends at a private game, I can be confident that I will get to play what I want with the people I want, and I will know already what to expect from them in terms of skill. Furthermore, I will have the social means to guide them away from something I dislike in the fiction, or even outright tell them that I don't want to go down whatever road they're headed down. I can do this because we're friends, and I know how to talk to them, and they know I'm not just being a dick. So I don't need "try a different way", because I can do it myself, in a social context.

All told, I feel it's better to have a conversation about tone, genre, and expectations right up front, both at meetup and with friends. That way, it sets a sort of "code of behavior", and when someone deviates from that code, the others can point back to it and say, "We agreed on this, so we should stick with it".
Morgan
Mathalus
Olympia, WA
Post #: 33
Love this stuff.

Marc,
I agree it’s good to talk about tone up front and TADW is probably better for “private” games. No one wants to show up and have their fiction dumped on without prior notice.

Everyone,
Given those two premises, would you want to use TADW in your private game, even after talking about tone up front? Would it work better in some games, and ruin others? Does it hurt flow? Is it worth dialing down flow, or the social energy of playing story games, a bit in exchange for potentially superior fiction? Or is this unnecessary since having a discussion about tone guarantees that the fiction will rock?
Jerome
user 8261819
Seattle, WA
Post #: 11
I think Marc hit the nail on the head as far as the intent of the Meetups vs. private games, and how TADW relates.

Much has been said about the importance of creating mutual expectations and agreements before play commences. What about a mandatory post-game discussion, where play styles, in-game decisions and grievances are discussed. A sort of no-bullshit feedback session aimed at making people better gamers. That way, the flow of the game remains is uninterrupted, but people can still impact each other's play explicitly over time. Also, I think that such discussions could gradually raise the overall level of play of the entire community.
A former member
Post #: 7
Morgan: Like Marc and I said, in a public game I wouldn't use it, and in a private game, I'd feel comfortable having a more in depth discussion about tone. This is a weird middle ground that doesn't seem useful unless the game's rules expressly control talking and feedback in game.

Jerome: that's an interesting idea, especially for playing with strangers. If, at the end, we had a little debrief instead of just smiling and leaving, that might prove super useful. Did I railroad the new guy when i was trying to be helpful and not realize it? Was there a missed opportunity in act 1 that I wanted to call out so my partners know to pick up the baton in the future, or maybe I can improve my subtextual communication? It doesn't solve the TADW issue of ingame borders, but might contribute to overall improvement of play over time.

Not sure it needs a formal procedure, but the option should be there.

Fuck it, I'm doing it next time I facilitate.
Ben R
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 364
If, at the end, we had a little debrief instead of just smiling and leaving, that might prove super useful. Did I railroad the new guy when i was trying to be helpful and not realize it? Was there a missed opportunity in act 1 that I wanted to call out so my partners know to pick up the baton in the future, or maybe I can improve my subtextual communication?
That's one of the purposes of the What We Played threads, to debrief and talk about what went right and wrong.
A former member
Post #: 9
From a use perspective, it strikes me that a more immediate feedback session may be useful in improving play skill while the memory is fresh. The WWP threads are great from a design perspective and useful for the community at large, but a real quick discussion might prove helpful in some ways the WWPs are weak.
Ben R
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 367
I like post-game chats too but sometimes people need distance to process, particularly when things go badly. A day later people often have an easier time seeing (and admitting) what they themselves might have done better. Seen it time and again ;)
Jamie F.
user 12636925
Bellevue, WA
Post #: 112
I used TADW to shoot down someone's slit-throat-gargling-speaking contribution in Seid and I dont' think that guy ever came back. Was TADW to blame? Maybe.

Same game, Ben used it to stop me from killing a character he had plans for. HIS PLANS WERE AWESOME. Game was epic because of it.

I'm not a fan of Ben's "Why don't you do this idea instead?", btw - it's like, it's my turn to make a contribution, if you have a "better" idea, then it's not my contribution anymore. And then I feel awkward and semi-egotistical for asserting myself and saying or implying, "No, I like my thing better." I prefer to have TADW called on me, because then I get to stay in the hot seat.

No such thing as the perfect technique or perfect story game. TADW is right for Archipelago and wrong for Microscope.

Ben R
thatsabigrobot
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 371
I'm not a fan of Ben's "Why don't you do this idea instead?", btw - it's like, it's my turn to make a contribution, if you have a "better" idea, then it's not my contribution anymore.
Oh I'm not for it per se, I just think it's less uncomfortable than a flat "No!" Ideally if it's that person's turn it's their turn and we just let them do their thing, just as you say.

I'm thinking of conflict systems where one person proposes an idea and then another person proposes an alternative and the rules resolve who won.

EDIT: To be clear, I'm not talking about universally bolting any of these ideas on other systems. I'm against that all together. I'm just talking about what kind of rules systems I think work better than others.
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