D&D General Supposing D&D is gamist, what does that mean?

I don't think that quite fairly characterizes SCs as they are actually written. It is plain that the idea SHOULD be (and in later examples is, but not all the ones in DMG1) that the fiction MUST always evolve to a new state after each check, and the fictional circumstances are the overriding concern in terms of the type of check, DC, etc. RC skill challenges has a certain number of hard checks, some obstacles, some advantages, etc. so that even following the rote mechanics you get variations that can be deployed along the way. I think really the goal of that was to act as a set of signposts for the GM to insure that she's asking for a consistent number of checks of each DC etc. to, again, give the players the best understanding of the stakes (IE am I virtually certain to fail this SC at this point, or do I have a good chance of overall success such that I want to expend resources on insuring it).

Basically, its a pace-of-resolution control, as I'd argued D&D style hit points are, in part.
 

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Oh, I've seen them used in all kinds of ways, but classically in order to bring the fiction to the state the GM was aiming for, despite anything the players do to make it go elsewhere. We had an AD&D DM (he also ran a good number of other games back in the 80's) who was super into that. It was setting and plot tourism through and through. The PCs and their plans and actions were largely just color.

I guess. I suppose in a way it is the All Purpose Power Tool for failures of the system to get to what you're aiming at. The "Break Glass if Results Screwed Up" thing. In a gamist perspective, that's just almost always going to be to fix rules that are borked on the fly (and that no one realized were before) or similar confusion on the GM's part when he sets things up (there's no virtue in sticking with a situation that, for example, will lead to a TPK because the GM didn't understand properly how the rules work, or where the situation couldn't have arose in the first place).
 

Only if you think on-the-fly rules work is stepping out of it. Honestly, IME its a thing more gamist players are more tolerant of, specificially because they care about coherence of rules rather than just moving on and whatever. As I said, the only time I normally do something ad-hoc and then ignore it is when its a situation sufficiently odd its not worth the headspace for pretty much anyone involved to remember it. Otherwise it becomes immediate fodder for the next houserules update.
I think it sounds more like a kind of High Concept Sim than Gamist to me. They value some sort of adherence to a setting or something similar. Competition sounds like a secondary concern to this objective of verisimilitude or 'rightness'.
Well, I've expressed my opinion that while very clearly gamist in intent, early D&D was honestly pretty crap at the job. There was a reason I bailed off into other games as soon as I saw things that were significantly different, and it wasn't just because I was more simulationist back then (though that was absolutely a factor).
I think you could play a pretty gamist "party against the dungeon, can you level up?" OTOH I don't disagree that overall, when you started mixing in other sorts of more exploratory play, it kind of imploded. I think that's typically going to happen with pretty much any system where the main thrust is "what would really happen" because its never really all that clear, especially when 'really' starts to involve things like magic.
I actually don't think that's true with more modern versions of D&D (though I have some suspicions with 5e). 3e and 4e absolutely could be played gamist (though as you say it could sometimes be kind of painful with 3e).

Again, I think you're holding up a bit of a platonic ideal here as being a necessity.
Well, 3e is just mind-bogglingly complex and filled with specific rules, and classic spells that are very open-ended, so its hard to say you can really be definitive. 4e, yes, because it actually doesn't care much about the fiction in a pure sense if you just play it as a kind of gamist tactical setup, though that is a somewhat limited type of play for that game as well. 5e? I think its squarely in the same land with 2e and 3e here, you can 'play by the rules', but you will get tripped up often, and the upshot usually is more of a 'tour the fiction' kind of HCS or something.
Naw. The latter only makes sense as long as both the GM and the players involved have the same understanding of how things work. To me what I've done looks more like discovering a game component is missing and accounting for it. Its not about (at least in this area) making things "how we expect them to be" (at least outside of a game-design "what is reasonable" sort of way) as much as "making this functional".
Well, I'm not NECESSARILY talking about something like "Oh, there's no actual rules for boats here, I'll supply something that sounds reasonable." I mean, that can potentially go whatever way, either outputting what the GM WANTS, and/or what the players think falls within the range of what they would plan for.
I don't think that's the problem here, honestly. After all, these spell rules weren't representing something that pre-existed that needed to be represented, even in the fiction; they were created for the game in the first place and Gygax or whoever got to decide how they worked. Charitably, he decided they'd work something like real world explosives (which there's no particular reason they should, given everything); less charitably he was just trying to make them less useful in the typical dungeon settings he was running (notably, other than starting fires occasionally, neither Fireball nor Lightning Bolt were nearly the pain in the ass to handle outdoors).

That said, its not like I've never claimed that tradeoffs for GDS Drama or Sim can't make things harder on the Game end; you in the end have to decide in that triangular diagram where you're going to land and accept the price for doing so.
I think the question is whether or not everyone AGREES on how all these spells work. As an AD&D player, I really carefully studied all the material about each spell and rules lawyered the heck out them, so I can recall seeing all sorts of fun interpretations of things. The only sure thing with spell casting is there was no sure thing! You were playing on what you thought the GM was going to say, and not a lot else beyond a general consensus that "fireball hot." lol.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
There is a substantial difference between lack of secret backstory impacting resolution and fictional positioning not mattering at all. Fictional positioning within the shared fiction is crucial to Apocalypse World and Blades in the Dark. It's just not the same sort of black box because we're all aware of what's going on.
 

There is a substantial difference between lack of secret backstory impacting resolution and fictional positioning not mattering at all. Fictional positioning within the shared fiction is crucial to Apocalypse World and Blades in the Dark. It's just not the same sort of black box because we're all aware of what's going on.
Right. I think, particularly in a fairly common school of play with D&D, there's this kind of murky mix where if the backstory/fiction isn't all out of the hands of the players and often hidden from them, then the game is 'easy' or 'lacks surprise/danger/drama'. At the same time, if its too nailed down, then there's no way to present that story, and the game 'lacks verisimilitude'. If it employs ANY kind of non-concrete mechanics on the player side, then its 'not immersive', but no amount of completely arranged nonsense counts as that, as long as the GM can lampshade it as "just the story" (GM authored fiction). Its a kind of unspoken set of laws where there's one right way to play, which is approximately what 5e is optimized for. All other ways are 'wrong' in some fashion or other. Anything that smells of Narrativist play at all is double plus wrong! Its kind of a default mindset, and a lot of arguments seem to just assume the 'truths' that are espoused there. One myth is certainly the "Only preauthored fictional position can possibly matter, making it up on the fly is 'cheap'."
 

I think it sounds more like a kind of High Concept Sim than Gamist to me. They value some sort of adherence to a setting or something similar. Competition sounds like a secondary concern to this objective of verisimilitude or 'rightness'.

Are we back to "only a purist stance is the stance" AA? Because its possible to favor one and still care about the other here, and I think I have a pretty good idea which one is the priority, wouldn't you think?

I think you could play a pretty gamist "party against the dungeon, can you level up?" OTOH I don't disagree that overall, when you started mixing in other sorts of more exploratory play, it kind of imploded. I think that's typically going to happen with pretty much any system where the main thrust is "what would really happen" because its never really all that clear, especially when 'really' starts to involve things like magic.

The problem was with OD&D you were constantly doing the sort of ad-hoc rules add-ons I've referred to. Want to climb a wall to do something? Is it even going to be possible? How hard will it be? You had absolutely nothing to base it on, because in terms of mechanics, OD&D had basically two significant things (a very schematic combat system with associated saving throws, and a slightly more elaborate spell system) and a couple of small odds and ends of supplemental mechanics for things like surprise and secret doors, but past that you were on your own.

I've argued you can play a Gamist game with no rules at all, but that doesn't mean I think its a particularly desirable way to play, which is why you can probably hear my eyes rolling all the way across the Internet when the "Rulings not Rules" proponents start in.

So its not the narrowness of scope that made me leave D&D; it was the fact that as far as support, what it gave me was pretty much pants.

Well, 3e is just mind-bogglingly complex and filled with specific rules, and classic spells that are very open-ended, so its hard to say you can really be definitive. 4e, yes, because it actually doesn't care much about the fiction in a pure sense if you just play it as a kind of gamist tactical setup, though that is a somewhat limited type of play for that game as well. 5e? I think its squarely in the same land with 2e and 3e here, you can 'play by the rules', but you will get tripped up often, and the upshot usually is more of a 'tour the fiction' kind of HCS or something.

Again, I think you're confusing "Have Game as a priority" with "not being willing to engage with anything else at all." A Gamist may prefer that your interpretation of an open-ended element be one he can turn to his benefit, but that doesn't mean he doesn't expect it to require some interpretation and accept that as long as it doesn't look like there's no sense of consistency and/or the interpretation is constantly against letting him do what he wants.

Well, I'm not NECESSARILY talking about something like "Oh, there's no actual rules for boats here, I'll supply something that sounds reasonable." I mean, that can potentially go whatever way, either outputting what the GM WANTS, and/or what the players think falls within the range of what they would plan for.

Exactly. As I said, one of the elements of doing house rules is, even if something is done in a way that happen to support the GM's wants once, he's still going to deal with it being an established precedent that can be used to make gamist decisions in the future. Cynically, that's why I think at least some RNR proponents don't like having more than minimalist written rules.

I think the question is whether or not everyone AGREES on how all these spells work. As an AD&D player, I really carefully studied all the material about each spell and rules lawyered the heck out them, so I can recall seeing all sorts of fun interpretations of things. The only sure thing with spell casting is there was no sure thing! You were playing on what you thought the GM was going to say, and not a lot else beyond a general consensus that "fireball hot." lol.

That's a specific game culture thing though (I do agree that early D&D spells tended to be, shall we say, "terse" in their explanations; I was never into AD&D, but I can't imagine it was worse than the one-line wonders of spell descriptions in OD&D).
 

Right. I think, particularly in a fairly common school of play with D&D, there's this kind of murky mix where if the backstory/fiction isn't all out of the hands of the players and often hidden from them, then the game is 'easy' or 'lacks surprise/danger/drama'. At the same time, if its too nailed down, then there's no way to present that story, and the game 'lacks verisimilitude'. If it employs ANY kind of non-concrete mechanics on the player side, then its 'not immersive', but no amount of completely arranged nonsense counts as that, as long as the GM can lampshade it as "just the story" (GM authored fiction). Its a kind of unspoken set of laws where there's one right way to play, which is approximately what 5e is optimized for. All other ways are 'wrong' in some fashion or other. Anything that smells of Narrativist play at all is double plus wrong! Its kind of a default mindset, and a lot of arguments seem to just assume the 'truths' that are espoused there. One myth is certainly the "Only preauthored fictional position can possibly matter, making it up on the fly is 'cheap'."

Honestly, its probably of a piece with the idea that the GM/player role separation is sacrosanct with some people. As I've noted, you see this to a considerable lesser degree with even some trad games where a greater degree of player involvement is expected (as I've noted, the kind of things you not uncommonly get with superhero character creation would make some people in more top down backgrounds just lose their stuff, even though there's plenty of separation still going on in most of those).
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Right. I think, particularly in a fairly common school of play with D&D, there's this kind of murky mix where if the backstory/fiction isn't all out of the hands of the players and often hidden from them, then the game is 'easy' or 'lacks surprise/danger/drama'.
In light of many extremely gamist games prioritising hidden information (Starcraft for e.g.), can you expand on why you or @Campbell might see hidden information as an obstacle to gamism in an RPG?

EDIT To improve that question, I have noted concerns around hidden information for narrativism that have possibly overlapped with concerns around hidden information generally (therefore impinging gamism). What is your take on that? How, concretely, does hidden information impinge narrativism, and is hidden information an obstacle to gamism (where as a gamer, I might anticipate it to be a driver) and if it is, in what ways?
 
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clearstream

(He, Him)
I've argued you can play a Gamist game with no rules at all, but that doesn't mean I think its a particularly desirable way to play, which is why you can probably hear my eyes rolling all the way across the Internet when the "Rulings not Rules" proponents start in.
How does Free Kriegsspiel (not FKR) fit here? I think some argue that its purpose was training, and I've pointed out that one of its stated goals was greater realism.

I think though that Score - Achievement could have been at issue. Playing to do as well as possible: win the encounter. That is how FK wargaming sessions have felt to me (especially PvP.)
 

Aldarc

Legend
There is a substantial difference between lack of secret backstory impacting resolution and fictional positioning not mattering at all. Fictional positioning within the shared fiction is crucial to Apocalypse World and Blades in the Dark. It's just not the same sort of black box because we're all aware of what's going on.
Right. I think, particularly in a fairly common school of play with D&D, there's this kind of murky mix where if the backstory/fiction isn't all out of the hands of the players and often hidden from them, then the game is 'easy' or 'lacks surprise/danger/drama'. At the same time, if its too nailed down, then there's no way to present that story, and the game 'lacks verisimilitude'. If it employs ANY kind of non-concrete mechanics on the player side, then its 'not immersive', but no amount of completely arranged nonsense counts as that, as long as the GM can lampshade it as "just the story" (GM authored fiction). Its a kind of unspoken set of laws where there's one right way to play, which is approximately what 5e is optimized for. All other ways are 'wrong' in some fashion or other. Anything that smells of Narrativist play at all is double plus wrong! Its kind of a default mindset, and a lot of arguments seem to just assume the 'truths' that are espoused there. One myth is certainly the "Only preauthored fictional position can possibly matter, making it up on the fly is 'cheap'."
"Fiction First" is probably the singlemost guiding principle (or dare I say "Rule 0") that permeates throughout a lot of non-D&D games that commonly get swept together as "narrativist" or "story" games (e.g., Fate, Cortex, PbtA, FitD, BW, etc.). That the common trend involves lumping these "fiction first" games together despite their differences is, IMHO, quite telling about the norm.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
"Fiction First" is probably the singlemost guiding principle (or dare I say "Rule 0") that permeates throughout a lot of non-D&D games that commonly get swept together as "narrativist" or "story" games (e.g., Fate, Cortex, PbtA, FitD, BW, etc.). That the common trend involves lumping these "fiction first" games together despite their differences is, IMHO, quite telling about the norm.

If followed, the game text for the 5e basic pattern entails fiction-first
1. The DM describes the environment.
2. The players describe what they want to do.
3. The DM narrates the results of the adventurers' actions.

Contrast DW's basic pattern
1. The GM gives the setup of a threat, but not the conclusion.
2. Thee player responds and probably rolls some dice.
3. The GM narrates the results, based on the player's roll.

The way I see it, the differences lie elsewhere. So not so much in being fiction-first, but perhaps in choices like task resolution versus conflict resolution (although this isn't as guaranteed a divide as it can appear on surface IMO.) So we see GM describes world, versus GM describes conflict. Also in concerns such as distribution of roles (GM-curation versus shared-authorship, although again I am not sure the two are guaranteed to conflict right down the line.)
 
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Aldarc

Legend
If followed, the game text for the 5e basic pattern entails fiction-first

Contrast DW's basic pattern

The way I see it, the differences lie elsewhere. So not so much in being fiction-first, but perhaps in choices like task resolution versus conflict resolution (although this isn't as guaranteed a divide as it can appear on surface IMO.) So we see GM describes world, versus GM describes conflict. Also and very palpably, distribution of roles.
Here is a comparison of my own. Edit: And I apologize if it comes across as flippant.

5e's pattern: blah blah blah - roll some dice - blah blah blah

In contrast that with the pattern found in other games...

Dungeon World's pattern: blah blah blah - roll some dice - blah blah blah
Burning Wheel's pattern: blah blah blah - roll some dice - blah blah blah
Savage World's pattern: blah blah blah - roll some dice - blah blah blah
Call of Cthulhu's pattern: blah blah blah - roll some dice - blah blah blah
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay's pattern: blah blah blah - roll some dice - blah blah blah
Vampire the Masquerade's pattern: blah blah blah - roll some dice - blah blah blah
Forbidden Lands' pattern: blah blah blah - roll some dice - blah blah blah
The One Ring's pattern: blah blah blah - roll some dice - blah blah blah

On the basis of this comparison, we can safely conclude that they are all about "rollplaying and not roleplaying."

This is all to say that if you opt for such a broad comparison and/or cast such a wide net as the basis for comparison, then every TTRPG will be fiction first, but they're not by most people's understanding of the terms, which is why I don't find your comparison particularly helpful or insightful. Despite that and your comparison, however, 5e D&D is not conventionally considered a "fiction first" game by the hobby. Why might that be?

IMO, and others are welcome to chime in, the comparison ignores a lot of guiding principles, procedures, and play/design elements that are present and/or absent in supporting that fiction first loop. It also fails to understand what is meant by "fiction first" and how that interacts with rules in place. "Fiction first" amounts to more than players engaging in a call and response with the fiction that the GM frames.

Take for example your earlier bit in discussion with @AbdulAlhazred about Jumping using a Strength/Dexterity (Athletics) ability check. How likely will a Jump ability check in D&D 5e result in HP loss or a debilitating injury like a sprain or fracture that follows from the fiction? The HP loss is more likely if fall damage is involved, likely from a failure, but that entails the GM consulting the mechanics of the fall damage chart. The consequences of falling are dictated by the mechanics of the fall damage chart. The fiction matters in-so-far as determining how much falling damage from the chart applies. Contrast this with other games. The fiction of the situation may dictate from the resolution (failure, success with failure, complicated success, etc.) that the character takes a consequence that bypasses usual stress: e.g., sprained ankle. Now that the consequence of "sprained ankle" is a real issue for the character in the fiction as well. And the future fiction of the game must take that sprained ankle into account.
 
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If followed, the game text for the 5e basic pattern entails fiction-first


Contrast DW's basic pattern


The way I see it, the differences lie elsewhere. So not so much in being fiction-first, but perhaps in choices like task resolution versus conflict resolution (although this isn't as guaranteed a divide as it can appear on surface IMO.) So we see GM describes world, versus GM describes conflict. Also in concerns such as distribution of roles (GM-curation versus shared-authorship, although again I am not sure the two are guaranteed to conflict right down the line.)

I'm going to c/p Strandberg's core loop for Stonetop as what you've got above for DW is missing quite a bit. This is basically the exact same thing for Apocalypse World and Dungeon World. What is inherent to the below will do a decent bit of work to engage with the exchange between you and @Aldarc . I ran a very chunky Stonetop session last night for @hawkeyefan and @Ovinomancer so they or I could map some of that play onto this loop and it should be pretty clear the extremely divergent experience from a 5e game (as a result of the differences in the loop and how it is informed by Agenda, Principles, Best Practices, Structure). Stonetop's (and AW and DW) core loop (italicized parentheticals are mine for clarification):

1) Establish the situation

  • Frame the action
  • Describe the environment
  • Give details & specifics
  • Ask questions, ask for input
  • Portray NPCs and monsters
  • Answer questions, clarify

2) Make a soft GM move: provoke action and/or increase tension.

3) Ask, “What do you do?”

4) Resolve their actions


  • If they trigger a player move, do what the move says (and what the player says when they have to make choices related to the move).
  • If they roll a 6-, make a hard GM move (establish badness).
  • If they ignore trouble, make a hard GM move (establish badness).
  • Otherwise (if no move is triggered), say what happens.

5) Repeat

  • Is the situation clear and grabby? Can the PC(s) act? Back to step 3.
  • Is the situation clear, but escalating before the PCs act? Back to step 2.
  • Is the situation clear, but needs a nudge? Back to step 2.
  • Is the situation unlcear? Does it need clarification, recapping, or updating? Back to step 1.
  • Is the current scene or situation over? Wrap up, look for the next one. Back to step 1.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
I'm going to c/p Strandberg's core loop for Stonetop as what you've got above for DW is missing quite a bit. This is basically the exact same thing for Apocalypse World and Dungeon World. What is inherent to the below will do a decent bit of work to engage with the exchange between you and @Aldarc . I ran a very chunky Stonetop session last night for @hawkeyefan and @Ovinomancer so they or I could map some of that play onto this loop and it should be pretty clear the extremely divergent experience from a 5e game (as a result of the differences in the loop and how it is informed by Agenda, Principles, Best Practices, Structure). Stonetop's (and AW and DW) core loop (italicized parentheticals are mine for clarification):

1) Establish the situation

  • Frame the action
  • Describe the environment
  • Give details & specifics
  • Ask questions, ask for input
  • Portray NPCs and monsters
  • Answer questions, clarify

2) Make a soft GM move: provoke action and/or increase tension.

3) Ask, “What do you do?”

4) Resolve their actions


  • If they trigger a player move, do what the move says (and what the player says when they have to make choices related to the move).
  • If they roll a 6-, make a hard GM move (establish badness).
  • If they ignore trouble, make a hard GM move (establish badness).
  • Otherwise (if no move is triggered), say what happens.

5) Repeat

  • Is the situation clear and grabby? Can the PC(s) act? Back to step 3.
  • Is the situation clear, but escalating before the PCs act? Back to step 2.
  • Is the situation clear, but needs a nudge? Back to step 2.
  • Is the situation unlcear? Does it need clarification, recapping, or updating? Back to step 1.
  • Is the current scene or situation over? Wrap up, look for the next one. Back to step 1.
I've noticed a tendency to assume there is disagreement and that broader points are being made than intended. @Aldarc suggested

That the common trend involves lumping these "fiction first" games together despite their differences is, IMHO, quite telling about the norm.

I wrote in agreement that separating by "fiction-first" alone is superficial. It's not fiction-first versus not-fiction-first that separates those games, and I gave some examples. I absolutely agree that it is also those other important facets that you rightly call attention to. I did not intend my examples to be taken as exclusive.

Perhaps what is being objected to is that I implied we need to look deeper - at facets like those you mentioned - rather than a superficial "fiction-first" or not - assessment? Note that I do not say that @Aldarc was committed to such a superficial assessment, I agreed with them by pointing out that 5e can be lumped in, too (if applying a superficial assessment.)
 
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I've noticed a tendency to assume there is disagreement and that broader points are being made than intended. A poster suggested



I wrote in agreement that separating by "fiction-first" alone is superficial. It's not fiction-first versus not-fiction-first that separates those games, and I gave some examples. I absolutely agree that it is also those other important facets that you rightly call attention to. I did not intend my examples to be taken as exclusive.

Perhaps what is being objected to is that I implied we need to look deeper - at facets like those you mentioned - rather than a superficial "fiction-first" or not - assessment? (Note that I do not say the poster was committed to such a superficial assessment, I agree with them by pointing out that 5e can be lumped in, too.)

My post here is really just two things:

1) Correction on the consequential meat of the AW/DW/ST loop. This is for bystanders as much or more as it is for participants. We have to remember that folks not engaged directly in our conversation may have little acquaintance (or none at all) with the systems being discussed. So it’s extremely important that consequential aspects of things they may not be acquainted with not be omitted, abstracted, or elided.

2) To put all of the loop stuff on the board to compare contrast (your final paragraph on “where differences lie” in the above post I initially quoted.

For instance, beyond codified Agenda, Principles, Best Practices, Play & Conversation Structure, what in that core loop diverges from 5e’s core loop? There are many, many areas that could be put under the microscope for impact on play experience divergence. Easy reference for that work.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
My post here is really just two things:

1) Correction on the consequential meat of the AW/DW/ST loop. This is for bystanders as much or more as it is for participants. We have to remember that folks not engaged directly in our conversation may have little acquaintance (or none at all) with the systems being discussed. So it’s extremely important that consequential aspects of things they may not be acquainted with not be omitted, abstracted, or elided.

2) To put all of the loop stuff on the board to compare contrast (your final paragraph on “where differences lie” in the above post I initially quoted.

For instance, beyond codified Agenda, Principles, Best Practices, Play & Conversation Structure, what in that core loop diverges from 5e’s core loop? There are many, many areas that could be put under the microscope for impact on play experience divergence. Easy reference for that work.
Certainly. I omitted a great deal from 5e's basic pattern, too.

I have not had a chance to play Stonetop yet, but I am very familiar with Strandberg's articulation of the core loop. In fact, that is down to @Aldarc who drew my attention in another thread to Strandberg's insights, that I had really failed back then to properly appreciate.
 

In light of many extremely gamist games prioritising hidden information (Starcraft for e.g.), can you expand on why you or @Campbell might see hidden information as an obstacle to gamism in an RPG?

EDIT To improve that question, I have noted concerns around hidden information for narrativism that have possibly overlapped with concerns around hidden information generally (therefore impinging gamism). What is your take on that? How, concretely, does hidden information impinge narrativism, and is hidden information an obstacle to gamism (where as a gamer, I might anticipate it to be a driver) and if it is, in what ways?
What I see is that gamist point of view use hidden information as a fact to be discovered or guess. The information need to be settle and freeze and can be seen as a prize and reward for smart play.

In a narrative point of view, the hidden information may be decided but also may be undecided and the DM make it up or change it as the game go on.
 
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Aldarc

Legend
I wrote in agreement that separating by "fiction-first" alone is superficial. It's not fiction-first versus not-fiction-first that separates those games, and I gave some examples. I absolutely agree that it is also those other important facets that you rightly call attention to. I did not intend my examples to be taken as exclusive.

Perhaps what is being objected to is that I implied we need to look deeper - at facets like those you mentioned - rather than a superficial "fiction-first" or not - assessment? Note that I do not say that @Aldarc was committed to such a superficial assessment, I agreed with them by pointing out that 5e can be lumped in, too (if applying a superficial assessment.)
This helps clarify, but I would still disagree somewhat, though it may help backtrack a bit. Earlier Campbell wrote,
There is a substantial difference between lack of secret backstory impacting resolution and fictional positioning not mattering at all. Fictional positioning within the shared fiction is crucial to Apocalypse World and Blades in the Dark. It's just not the same sort of black box because we're all aware of what's going on.
I agree with this, but I also pointed out how fiction first tends to be incredibly common among these sort of games, but also games like Cortex, Fate, and others. It's often a guiding principle of weight on the level of the oft-cited Rule 0.

Despite their differences, these games are commonly lumped together as "story" or "narrativist" games on this principle. I agree that separating by "fiction first" alone is superficial. However, I don't think that it's entirely meaningless that they are. Let's call this a subconscious awareness of difference or otherness.

This is why I point out how it's telling about the presumed norm that these games would be lumped together on this basis. This is to say that there seems to be some awareness that "fiction first" (and other overlapping principles) makes them distinct from games that operate more along the lines of D&D (5e).

Admittedly, my point is less about hidden backstory vs. fictional positioning not mattering, and more how many games that are less wedded to hidden backstory are nevertheless inextricably rooted in the fiction, often via the guiding game principle of Fiction First.

However, the fiction that most concerns "Fiction First games" is immediate and palpable for the characters. It doesn't sit waiting, hidden off-stage to make its grand entrance to the audience or, in some cases, never showing up in the play at all. "Fiction First games," IME, tend to dispense with "Crouching Setting, Hidden Backstory."
 

In light of many extremely gamist games prioritising hidden information (Starcraft for e.g.), can you expand on why you or @Campbell might see hidden information as an obstacle to gamism in an RPG?

I don't think its intrinsically so, but I expect part of the issue is (as they've referenced later) is that its a potential spot for the GM to make up whatever the hell on the fly once the box is opened. If the GM actually has the situation pre-defined and does not change it, it shouldn't violate a gamist concern, but, well, given some of the more illusionist takes to be found in the hobby, that's a bit "if".

Basically, if the situation is going to end up being adjusted for the convenience of whatever purposes has, the information being hidden veils that, and means the PCs are essentially wrestling with jello. That doesn't mean it isn't necessary for certain purposes, but its kind of, for lack of a better term, a moral hazard.
 

How does Free Kriegsspiel (not FKR) fit here? I think some argue that its purpose was training, and I've pointed out that one of its stated goals was greater realism.

Honestly, that's part of what makes it not a real game; from the description its going to be adjusted on the fly if needed to produce the necessary training elements. In some respects its more of an immerse teaching methodology than a game in any real sense.

I think though that Score - Achievement could have been at issue. Playing to do as well as possible: win the encounter. That is how FK wargaming sessions have felt to me (especially PvP.)

Since the goalposts are moved, in some cases after the decisions have been made, too much of the output is beyond the trainee's control. It may be a game in a general sense given how broadly its used, but given its one with deliberate built in "gotchas", well...
 

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