h1

Creative Agenda: Processes

December 28, 2011

Different descriptions with the same fundamental meanings for Creative Agendas.

These sentences are short and precise, though that doesn’t necessarily make them easier to understand.

The one nice thing is that of these, only one word is used out of “general understanding” and that is “fiction” being the “Things we imagine at the table when we roleplay”.

I’ll go ahead and put up the usual, rarely heeded caveat that these descriptions indicate what each CA highly prioritizes over other things, which isn’t the same as completely excluding what the other CAs prioritize.

Narrativism:
Systems aimed at producing a creative process that creates emotionally meaningful improvised fiction.

Gamism:
Systems aimed at producing competitive challenges that includes non-quantifiable factors (Fictional Positioning) as aspects of play.

Notice that the non-quantifiable factors actually are what differentiate gamist rpgs from other types of general games (boardgames, minis, cardgames, etc.)

Simulationism:
Systems aimed at producing fiction and experiences within a given set of expectations and boundaries.

The Overlap Fallacy

Below I list game design features prioritized for each type of Creative Agenda.

You’ll notice that each Agenda shares about HALF the features from the other two sets…but only half.  It could be considered like three sets: AB, BC, AC.

The thing is, this reality is something that becomes a terrible pitfall for many people, both design-wise and in gameplay.  People see there’s a common feature between two groups, but don’t realize that the excluded parts – what they are different in, is what makes them mutually exclusive playstyles.

For example, the player wanting Sim campaign invites the player who wants Nar play to join in- at first all the talk about character backstory and fiction gets them both excited.  But then the player who wants Narrativism starts making hard choices for their character, choices that change the character, and maybe the setting too… and the Sim seeking player is frustrated and at a loss for what to do.  They decide the Nar player is a “problem player” and stop inviting them after a while.

IT IS CRITICAL TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE PRIORITIZED FEATURES ARE PRIORITIZED OVER THE EXCLUDED SECTION.  If the set is AB, then AB are always going to be more important in this set than C, and if the set is BC, then BC is always going to be more important than A.  When you try to put the groups together, you get people arguing between the features they exclude or consider a non-priority.

Narrativist games prioritize these features:

– Requires player agency
– Requires uncertain outcomes
– Often benefits from immediate reward systems to focus play

– Requires coherent creative buy-in from everyone playing
– Fictional elements are often key to decision making
– Often may benefit from having solid setting/situation materials from which to draw upon.

Gamist games prioritize these features:

– Requires player agency
– Requires uncertain outcomes
– Often benefits from immediate reward systems to focus play

– Successful play requires a strong understanding of the limitations to acceptable action (whether fiction based or mechanics)
– Often benefits from mechanics designed to enforce consistency

Simulationist games prioritize these features:

– Requires coherent creative buy-in from everyone playing
– Fictional elements are often key to decision making
– Often may benefit from having solid setting/situation materials from which to draw upon.

– Successful play requires a strong understanding of the limitations to acceptable action (whether fiction based or mechanics)
– Often benefits from mechanics designed to enforce consistency

About these ads
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 111 other followers

%d bloggers like this: