I was recently playing a very very old Age of Wonders demo, and being aware of the fact that the demo map has a bunch of cute little things scattered around it that are fun to explore, but that taking the time to explore them was essentially incompatible with winning the game efficiently (which, as in almost all grab-resource-producing-sites games, is achieved by building strong-enough teams and getting them to key sites faster than your opponent), and also that once you had established enough control that you didn't have to push forward constantly in order to keep the enemy on the defensive, you also had enough momentum that you pretty much won the game despite yourself.
All of which is related only by way of the general principle that sometimes it's more fun not to win, or at least not to win just yet.
I'm also reminded of a post you made ages ago about comic book RPGs and the idea of "OK, you need to be stupid in order for this plot to kick off, so I'm asking you to be stupid now and giving you 'do something really cool' points in exchange that you can use later.'" in order to simulate the perpetual comic-book plot thing where our hero walks stupidly into a trap, then later does something really cool that he would normally not be able to do in order to get out of it, because that's just more fun.
Which also reminds me of Sulu's solution to the Koboyashi Maru problem.
OK, Dave's House of Random Tangents is closed for now.
As usual, this all depends on who your players are and what their expectations are. This definitely seems like a solution for a game geared for players who enjoy the two things you are rewarding here: being clever and doing things world-breaking. Cognoscenti is perhaps the ultimate example, as it's all about working on a grand scale and its system is a kind of strategy game (rewarding cleverness) for doing so.
Interestingly, when you started talking about Mythos, I thought maybe your solution was inspired by the adventure cards--a script that was pre-approved by the GM ("Yes, if you do those five things, I'll allow the world to change in X way... But you'll have to do these two other things if you want Y also.") but required certain game-driven conditions to be fulfilled that could have unexpected obstacles placed in front of them (by other players, for instance). But there's not much room for being clever in this case, so it would be suitable for players who don't mind the story being on rails, yet want some influence on where those rails are heading.
I don't think it's just players who want to be clever, though. I think it's a potential problem in any game where the game world resembles the real world and the players are allowed to make significant changes to it outside the immediate context of the game. Even if no-ones aiming for it, in a long-running game, the odds are good that eventually one of the changes somebody made is going to interact with something else, be it another player's change, the real world, or GM plot, in a way that's really hard to manage in-game.
I think the one of the best ways to cope is to be prepared, at some point, to jump up to the meta-level and deal with it there by congratulating the player and giving them some kind of compensation for needing to undo whatever it is...
The adventure cards idea, that's really interesting. To some degree, it sounds sort of like a formalization of how one-shot larps are set up. I'd love to hear more about it. An example, maybe?
So, I don't know the people you game with all that well (I mean, I have met several of them, but only on a couple of CO visits). But I really get the sense that your gaming group is, well, more likely to be decent than most LARP groups.
Maybe your suggestion works only in the, "no assholes" version of LARPing. Does that actually exist? (I'm only semi- being facetious...)
But I really get the sense that your gaming group is, well, more likely to be decent than most LARP groups.
Distinctly possible. I am a big believer that how people behave is strongly influenced by how you address them, and that if your general approach to someone who's broken the system is "hey, wow, that's cool! Can you help me fix it?" they'll usually respond in kind.
But that said, I'm also a big believer in dealing with social problems at the metagame level. If someone's being a jerk, the right solution is not to try and fix it with in-game social engineering, but just to say "that's spoiling people's fun, please stop." Or not to game with jerks in the first place...
Oh, I totally believe in the metagame level, and in not gaming with jerks. The only question is how easily people can be taken aside and, well, in Quakerism, we call it "eldering"...
2007-08-04 01:00 pm (UTC)
A player might do something cool to make himself Duke / President / Position of Authority. He might have gathered most of the players to support him. The game could be about him holding onto to power for a while. But if he makes it impossible (or even just unfun) for new characters to join the game, then the game won't be able to continue. The Game has some stuctural requirements that are more than just the requirements of the players.