Out with the old (Game design traditions we should let go)

I stopped in to see how my sacred cows were holding up. Looks like they haven't been in danger for several pages now. But I'm sorry Jd, I can't let this one fly.

There's a certain amount of irony going on here. "Mechanic" is one of two things: a "mechanism" and used correctly, or a "rule" and used incorrectly. The irony is that I believe in many cases, "mechanic" is the lazy man's version of " mechanism, " because it's shorter by one syllable. Why the lazy man (don't worry, he's a friend of mine) doesn't just say "rule," because it's shorter still, is beyond me.
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GMMichael

Guide of Modos
I know MMO players use "mechanic" and "mechanics" as slang for things that occur during boss fights.
I wouldn't rely on the grammar of the typical Leroy Jenkins. Nor would I rely on the grammar of the person (character?) who said this: "so lot of men went to the house an' try all sort of mechanic; the chil' wouldn't talk."
Words get invented and/or get new meanings all the time, it's just how language evolves.
Indeed. Sometimes it's an evolution. Sometimes it's just slang. Gamers haven't always been on the forefront of language evolution. I mean, we use "chainmail" to mean "mail." "Stat" means anything on a character sheet or in a monster description. And some players have no idea what "hidden" means anymore.
 
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loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
Synchronized understanding? That’s literally what Session Zero is for. They still take place. And if there’s an asynchronous moment in game then you pause and talk, just like you’d have to with rules disputes.
No number of sessions zero can make someone who doesn't understand the genre familiar with it enough to play it.

I know only two things about mexican soap operas: jack and s##t. I can still play Pasión de las Pasiones just fine.
 

Bluenose

Adventurer
I wouldn't rely on the grammar of the typical Leroy Jenkins.
There's also the MMO players who spend years learning and analysing the system and publish their assessment of how to improve the healing rate of <Class> by a whole 1.4% over any other healer build. Computer gamers are perfectly capable of very detailed analysis of the games they(I too) play, whatever the genre.

More generally on the thread, there's not really any mechanic I think should go entirely. Most have a place in the right setting/system. There's a lot of games using rules that aren't so good for what they claim to be trying to do, though I think naming them is unfair.
 

No number of sessions zero can make someone who doesn't understand the genre familiar with it enough to play it.
Nonsense. I've had countless players over the last 45 years who not only didn't grasp the genre, but who had never played an RPG before, but they picked it up quickly. This is not that complicated of a hobby.
 

loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
Nonsense. I've had countless players over the last 45 years who not only didn't grasp the genre, but who had never played an RPG before, but they picked it up quickly. This is not that complicated of a hobby.
...genre as in genre of the story. What you can or cannot do and what kind of character you can or cannot create in a slasher flick is very different from a game that tries to capture the feeling of a Hong Kong action cinema. The consequences of the same action would also be different.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
No number of sessions zero can make someone who doesn't understand the genre familiar with it enough to play it.

I know only two things about mexican soap operas: jack and s##t. I can still play Pasión de las Pasiones just fine.
Right. Either the ashcan edición or the Kickstarter PDF taught you enough about the genre to play it. Importantly, that game isn’t the singular source of information about that genre. You could watch a lot of them, some are utterly fantastic btw. Read up on the genre from a non-gaming source. Read up on the genre from some other gaming source (if there is one). Etc. It can be safely assumed that the person who designed the game knows a lot about the genre. Now imagine someone with that level of familiarity at your table running a game of Mexican soap operas for you and your group. You wouldn’t need the game book to teach you the genre. The person with that knowledge at the table could guide you through it.
 

loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
Right. Either the ashcan edición or the Kickstarter PDF taught you enough about the genre to play it. Importantly, that game isn’t the singular source of information about that genre. You could watch a lot of them, some are utterly fantastic btw. Read up on the genre from a non-gaming source. Read up on the genre from some other gaming source (if there is one). Etc. It can be safely assumed that the person who designed the game knows a lot about the genre. Now imagine someone with that level of familiarity at your table running a game of Mexican soap operas for you and your group. You wouldn’t need the game book to teach you the genre. The person with that knowledge at the table could guide you through it.
Yeah, but reading a book takes an evening at worst, reading my playbook is barely five minutes, and watching even a single TV series is a couple of dozens hours at the low end.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Yeah, but reading a book takes an evening at worst, reading my playbook is barely five minutes, and watching even a single TV series is a couple of dozens hours at the low end.
And actually talking to the human being running the game at your table takes even less time.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Now imagine someone with that level of familiarity at your table running a game of Mexican soap operas for you and your group. You wouldn’t need the game book to teach you the genre. The person with that knowledge at the table could guide you through it.
I was following your argument up until really these sentences. One of the reasons why I am not a fan of running or playing in TTRPGs set in many IPs* - mainly ones with a lot of associated other lore (e.g., novels, comics, television, movies, video games, etc.) - is because I'm not much of a fan of needing "guides" to play through a setting, regardless of how knowledgable those guides (myself included) may be about the setting. Plus, knowledge of a place/setting/genre doesn't make them a good game master any more than being a leading expert in your academic field makes you a good teacher.

* I do have exceptions.

And actually talking to the human being running the game at your table takes even less time.
Maybe, but that's also valuable game time that it eats up.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
Papa GM, Papa GM! Can you tell us another hour-long story about this genre and its most unique qualities, so that we have proper context when we…

Checking notes…

Oh yes, wait for GM fiat or roll a 2d6 opposed test.
Are we already back to the “but the game rules protect little old me from the big bad referee” nonsense?

Telenovelas are Mexican soap operas that end. There, now you know the big secret. Weird how that one secret is enough to get people to buy a $45 game book.

Now I want to smash together two Magpie games. Pasión de las Pasiones and Cartel.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Are we already back to the “but the game rules protect little old me from the big bad referee” nonsense?

Telenovelas are Mexican soap operas that end. There, now you know the big secret. Weird how that one secret is enough to get people to buy a $45 game book.

Now I want to smash together two Magpie games. Pasión de las Pasiones and Cartel.
So if that is the only secret or thing we need to understand about Telenovelas, then what is the value of pretending that the referee has the unrivaled gnostic insight of the genre to guide us through the setting?
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I'm not much of a fan of needing "guides" to play through a setting, regardless of how knowledgable those guides (myself included) may be about the setting.
To successfully play a game in a specific setting and specific genre you have to know about that setting and genre. Your knowledge of the setting and genre has to come from somewhere. Either it’s already in your head from previously engaging with that setting and genre or it has to come from a new outside source.

The game book itself as your guide to the setting and genre…that’s okay.

But the human at the table who’s already running the game as your guide to the setting and genre…that’s not okay.

That makes no sense.
 

loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff (She/Her)
And actually talking to the human being running the game at your table takes even less time.
Probably no, given that knowledge and ability to effectively relay that knowledge are two very different things.

And given how I can just look at the playbook and the basic moves if I don't know what action would be genre-appropriate, without bothering anyone.
 

Aldarc

Legend
To successfully play a game in a specific setting and specific genre you have to know about that setting and genre. Your knowledge of the setting and genre has to come from somewhere. Either it’s already in your head from previously engaging with that setting and genre or it has to come from a new outside source.

The game book itself as your guide to the setting and genre…that’s okay.

But the human at the table who’s already running the game as your guide to the setting and genre…that’s not okay.

That makes no sense.
Let me recontextualize it another way. If I am seeking to commune with the Divine, I do not want my sense, knowledge, or experiences of the Divine to be mediated exclusively through a singular priest claiming greater spiritual access or "gnosis" of the Divine. This Gnostic priest may be knowledgable, but I'm willing to fork over $45 to buy a book or two that provides some additional insight about the matter.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Let me recontextualize it another way. If I am seeking to commune with the Divine, I do not want my sense, knowledge, or experiences of the Divine to be mediated exclusively through a singular priest claiming greater spiritual access or "gnosis" of the Divine. This Gnostic priest may be knowledgable, but I'm willing to fork over $45 to buy a book or two that provides some additional insight about the matter.
That’s hilarious. This knowledge is better than that knowledge because it’s written down and I paid for it. You know that game designers are people, right? They make stuff up and write it down. It’s not superior simply because it’s in a book. The guy who designed the telenovela game could run the game for you without needing the book. But I’d guess you’d say his own book is a better authority on the topic than he is. I mean books are awesome, but come on.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Probably no, given that knowledge and ability to effectively relay that knowledge are two very different things.

And given how I can just look at the playbook and the basic moves if I don't know what action would be genre-appropriate, without bothering anyone.
Ugh. The answer is not on your character sheet. You’re supposed to be role-playing, i.e. pretending your character is a real person in a real place and making decisions based on that. Not what your character sheet says.

It’s also a bit weird how PbtA keeps getting brought up but people don’t acknowledge that the referee in those games is solely responsible for when the fiction is sufficient to bring in the mechanics of a move.

I still love Spirit of 77 best. Page 13. The only rule you need is the success ladder and 2d6. Everything else is extra.
 

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