Thinking About the Purpose of Mechanics from a Neo-Trad Perspective

hawkeyefan

Legend
I think the six cultures of gaming is helpful because it at least gives some structure to conversation about these things. I don’t think they work as hard and fast descriptors because so many people (and games) will straddle the lines between more than one.

But if you’re going to talk about play goals and the like, it at least offers a vocabulary to work with as a starting point.
 

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I took @kenada's point to be that the "six cultures" don't actually yield any design prescriptions or advice. They don't tell you what techniques, or procedures, or elements, you might include in a game to make it a good trad game, or a good neotrad game, or a good "story" game, or whatever.

The blog post itself isn't prescriptive. That I understand. But I do think once you carve audiences into these groups, there are pretty strong design implications (it also seems to have led to people reviewing games through this lens, as if a game were designed with one culture of play in mind, even if that wasn't the case). However I think me and Knead are largely in agreement, even if we disagree on one small aspect of this looking at Kenada's follow up post.

This is touches on why I am critical of the taxonomical approach — the problem being that as soon as you deviate from or step outside of the taxonomy, it becomes a lot less (if at all) useful.

Here I agree pretty strongly. Again, for me I think it is a two-fold issue. One there is this problem that arises when you exist outside the categorizations, or step outside them. The other issue is it becomes a self fulfilling category people start putting themselves into and I am not sure that is good. I think the original article is fine. I have no issue with him writing something that clearly reflected his take on the RPG landscape. But I remember reading it and thinking it was way off when it was first posted. So I have been surprised to see it almost become a kind of gospel.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
The blog post itself isn't prescriptive. That I understand. But I do think once you carve audiences into these groups, there are pretty strong design implications (it also seems to have led to people reviewing games through this lens, as if a game were designed with one culture of play in mind, even if that wasn't the case). However I think me and Knead are largely in agreement, even if we disagree on one small aspect of this looking at Kenada's follow up post.
I think reviewing through a particular lens is okay. It helps an audience know if a work is something they’d like. However, see below.

Here I agree pretty strongly. Again, for me I think it is a two-fold issue. One there is this problem that arises when you exist outside the categorizations, or step outside them. The other issue is it becomes a self fulfilling category people start putting themselves into and I am not sure that is good. I think the original article is fine. I have no issue with him writing something that clearly reflected his take on the RPG landscape. But I remember reading it and thinking it was way off when it was first posted. So I have been surprised to see it almost become a kind of gospel.
These issues both seem to have the same root: misuse of taxonomies in RPG discourse for edition warring and other BS. Not surprisingly, that also makes discussing the nuts and bolts of RPGing difficult (and often very tedious) due having to wade through all the accumulated crap.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Right. It's also not as if people swear themselves to these gaming cultures as if they were factions. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure that some people do, just like some people declare themselves part of "Team Simulationist" before launching a crusade against G and N, whose very existence somehow threatens them. But anyway, there are plenty of people who jump between these cultures of play without thinking anything of it, perhaps picking up an OSR game or playing a Story game or two and then going back into a more Traditional game.

I don't think people formally/overtly do so, but there are certainly people who do so in practice; that's often what One True Way arguments are about.
 

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