Section 4: Two Timelines
A game's rules coordinate what's happening in the real world with what's happening in the game world.
A game's rules structure and coordinate decision-making among the participants. ("What should I contribute? How should I treat others' contributions?")
A game's rules (usually) also maintain and depend upon a body of real-world cues: dice, character sheets, lookup tables, maps & minis, whatever else. ("How do I roll the dice? How do I read them? When and how do I make changes to my character sheet?")
A game's rules respond to fictional events and details, and provide fictional events and details of their own. ("What must we decide before we go to the dice? What must we leave for the dice to decide?")
A game's rules create links and feedback between the player's position in the game and the character's position in her world.
Here's some old posts:
This is a cool thing. Bookmarked for reference purposes!
Section 6 is exciting stuff, not adequately explored by the links provided, in my opinion.
I don't know if any theory in the world is gonna help you capture that elusive something that makes an idea catch fire in a person's mind, that drives them to go out and buy the game, or playtest it, or make their friends play it, or post about it on a forum.
What is it that makes people buy shelf-feet of White Wolf game fiction? Why can't I get anyone to play Steal Away Jordan with me? There are answers to those questions, but they're complex and they're not going to win friends on the internet.
I'm making a game called "Dungeonfuckers" at the moment, and I suddenly understand what you mean about the call for playtesters. This is the first time I've had people bugging me to run a playtest. I thought I had crappy friends, but it turns out I was just making crappy games.
"The call for external playtesting is a dry run for publication."
As is this:
"I thought I had crappy friends, but it turns out I was just making crappy games."
But I don't know, Simon, I think Vincent's description there is pretty good at saying why games succeed: those games get in the hands of people who want what they offer and deliver on what they promise. That's it.
What do people want? Do people know what they want? How do people know when they're getting what they want? How do you best communicate what people will like about you game? How do you know what people will like about it?
What is the reward system in Apocalypse World? Is it getting character advancement? I'm sorry if my questions sound impossibly dumb, I'm just trying to see if I get it right, because I want to be able to answer to the same question regarding the game I'm developing (what is Beyond the Mirror's reward system?)
whoops. Seems like I posted in the wrong section. Please disregard. Humblest apologies. Some of the above discussions appear to be old enough to make it impossible to post comments on them. I imagine how tiring it would be for you to reopen such discussions to debate, it'd end in an unbearable flooding. Too bad, though. Back when you wrote them, the Forge's thought had not yet appeared in Italy, I'm afraid...
Any chance we'll see this synthesized and redacted into a published book...please o please o please. There's a pretty sizeable market for game design books well beyond this hobby...I bet it would be your best and widest seller ever (by orders of magnitude).
Also in section 2 did you mean "supplant"? or should it read "supplement"? If the former can you comment on why that and not the latter?
I'd pay money for that book. Having these article links collected and curated like this is worthwhile all itself, too.
Simon: My experience with Apocalypse World is that it places the fruitful void in a concordant place with what I want to fruitfully fill. Even as important, it does *not* leave a void in parts of the game where I'm uninterested (or currently unable due to schedule) to fruitfully fill.