thread: 2013-08-02 : Conversations and Games

On 2013-08-02, Rickard wrote:

I’m all with you. Good that other people think of this too. I’ve started an article series on G+ that is called “Designing a session”. Sure, roleplaying games are games but you shouldn’t design for a game, but for a session.

To see it from this perspective will help you think how the participants should communicate and what tools to help communication. But it’s more than that. In a session, you also need a certain uncertainty (not only dice rolls) to make things interesting, you need reintroduction to make the story of the session feel solid, you need tools to free every ones’ minds and tools to build a positive group dynamic where all people pick up and build on each others’ ideas.

When it comes to goals, agendas, objects, or whatever you want to call it, it’s important to only give directions. To create something to strive for. The game should give the players an (or several) overall direction(s), but each scene should also be framed with a direction in mind. A drama book of mine told me that each scene should have a decision, a revelation or an escalation of a conflict. Note, escalation. Most indie games out there both creates and solves a conflict in each scene.

I can’t press enough on directions. A direction can change during the coarse of the session. A direction doesn’t have to include planning, and planning is one part that often kills the dynamic communication between the participants. If person A already planned something, and person B steps in with an idea, it will either ruin A’s plan or make A block B in an attempt to save the plan. That will ruin the group’s dynamic.

I really like your list of objects. It’s important to notice that the player’s and the character’s object doesn’t have to be the same and the all characters can have different objects. Good stuff! The only thing I would like to add is that the objects should be known by every one, so each person can build on that. Another thing that helps create a positive group dynamic. In the example above, person B could either adopt the A’s plan to avoid clashing, or create situations to force A’s character to defend the plan.


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