thread: 2012-12-20 : Positioning: Retroactive

On 2012-12-20, Threlicus wrote:

Hrm. I have to disagree with the difference you’ve identified actually being a difference. Your move is expressed in a more verbal way than a move in Chess is, sure; and the potential complications arising from details are much more difficult to divine than in Chess, but it is a matter of degree, not nature.  Consider, for example, the ‘Poisoned Pawn’ variation of the Najdorf Sicilian opening. White makes a move that apparently invites Black to win a pawn for free; but the tactical complications that erupt if he does so are quite fierce. Some of it is immediately foreseeable, some, many moves down the road, much less so.

Similarly for a GM making the ‘one-way mirror’ move above. Maybe tactical complications aren’t going to erupt in this scenario (or maybe they are!), but the players can foresee some of the implications of the move, at least as compared to the ‘closed-circuit TV’ move instead. For example, it means that breaking through the one-way glass might be feasible but using tech skills to disable to ‘loop’ the camera aren’t. An NPC having a recording of the event becomes a less feasible move, for the GM later (although maybe not completely implausible).  NPCs who are not plausibly physically present can’t be asserted to have watched the event, without some other fictional positioning. Yes, the ultimate consequences and significance of these and other details are unknown until play happens, but that’s true in chess no less than here—sometimes it matters whether the pawn is on d5 or d6, sometimes it doesn’t. In both cases, you have to play to find out, though players usually have some idea in advance, an idea that can be thoroughly disrupted by future developments.

It’s true that the *immediate* consequences of the move are clear in chess in a way that is a little less so in RPG, but, in my view, that’s just a result of the verbal (contra mathematical) nature of the moves being made.


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