Tags/labels/genre for In a wicked age and Poison'd?

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Arvid

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Tags/labels/genre for In a wicked age and Poison'd?
« on: April 17, 2011, 01:15:36 PM »
I run an event called "The Indie Room" at a Swedish rpg convention. The name is an old tradition, but I feel a bit uncomfortable with how it implies that the games we run are "indie games". I feel there is a lot of confusion and value-charged terminology in Swedish rpg discourse, and the notion of "indie games" only helps that.

So this year I'm providing little information plaques for all the games with labels and tags that signify design school OTHER than "indie games". A little game theory education and clarification, so to speak. For Apocalypse World, I've written, sloppy translation to english:

IMPROV GAME
Game philosphy and rules similar to that of improv theatre's "yes and..."

NARRATIVISTIC AGENDA
Players with a narrativistic agenda aim to create a story by adressing human themes with their characters. A game is not narrativistic in itself, but can encourage a narrativistic agenda.

So, Poison'd and In a wicked age, I'm tagging with "IMPROV GAME", but what else? I'm considering tagging Poison'd as some kind of adult/hard improv game where you are encouraged to play hardball and put a lot of trust in other players. I actually feel this is an important point to make when assessing what kind of design/game philosophy this game moves within - But then, maybe Apocalypse World should have that tag as well.

Suggestions?

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Arvid

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Re: Tags/labels/genre for In a wicked age and Poison'd?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2011, 04:57:48 PM »
Come on, anyone? Where would you "place" IAWA and Poison'd? Surely you know! :)

Re: Tags/labels/genre for In a wicked age and Poison'd?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2011, 09:10:36 PM »
Hi!

I'm not sure I agree with your description of Apocalypse World, Poison'd and In a Wicked Age as "Improv" games. They're not any more "Improv" than, for example, D&D3E.

All three games require you to actively pursue the interests of your character. That differentiates them from say, Fiasco, where you're sometimes going to be working against your character's best interests.

In a Wicked Age's tension mostly comes from conflicts between players' characters, and Poison'd is the same to some extent, while in Apocalypse World that's not always the case (although it can be). All three games aren't like, say, Dogs in the Vineyard, which (at least initially) has the players' characters on a fairly unified team, and works fine even if they never come into conflict.

All of these games have explicit mechanistic resolution, i.e. conflicts are resolved by an explict process that references "real life" things like dice or character sheets. That makes them different from some "freeform" games (whatever that means), like Fiasco again, or Archipelago.

None of these games are explicitly competitive, like The Shab-al-Hiri Roach.

In a Wicked Age requires the non-GM players to use more Author and Director stance, from what I understand, than Poison'd or Apocalypse World. In other words, you're more often called upon to make decisions and invent stuff about things other than your own character.

Is this helping?


Re: Tags/labels/genre for In a wicked age and Poison'd?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2011, 04:08:22 PM »
Classification is for biologists.

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Arvid

  • 262
Re: Tags/labels/genre for In a wicked age and Poison'd?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2011, 08:52:19 AM »
Hi!

I'm not sure I agree with your description of Apocalypse World, Poison'd and In a Wicked Age as "Improv" games. They're not any more "Improv" than, for example, D&D3E.

All three games require you to actively pursue the interests of your character. That differentiates them from say, Fiasco, where you're sometimes going to be working against your character's best interests.

In a Wicked Age's tension mostly comes from conflicts between players' characters, and Poison'd is the same to some extent, while in Apocalypse World that's not always the case (although it can be). All three games aren't like, say, Dogs in the Vineyard, which (at least initially) has the players' characters on a fairly unified team, and works fine even if they never come into conflict.

All of these games have explicit mechanistic resolution, i.e. conflicts are resolved by an explict process that references "real life" things like dice or character sheets. That makes them different from some "freeform" games (whatever that means), like Fiasco again, or Archipelago.

None of these games are explicitly competitive, like The Shab-al-Hiri Roach.

In a Wicked Age requires the non-GM players to use more Author and Director stance, from what I understand, than Poison'd or Apocalypse World. In other words, you're more often called upon to make decisions and invent stuff about things other than your own character.

Is this helping?

Definitely helping, "Play your character" is to me a relevant strand of design philosophy.

Now that you mention it, I'm actually not too sure about IAWA and Poison'd, the latter I've never played, but I'd label Apocalypse World and Dogs in the Vineyard as improv games.

The reason is that the principle of accepting and "Yes, and..." is very prominent in their design. This is very prominent in the miss/7-9/10+ move structure (MC makes a move/Yes, but.../Yes, and...) which also counters blocking ("No")

There is a strong emphasis on the MC not to cheat the players but rather accept and build on what they do. Also, when the MC asks questions like crazy, that's an offer that calls for the player to say "Yes, and..." and then answer the question.

The principle of spontanity is formulated in how the MC should never have plan in mind, but rather do what honesty demands, and make apocalypse world seem real, while the players are encouraged to act on their impulses.

The tools might look different, but when entering a game of apocalypse world, one takes on much the same attitude as entering a scene of improv theatre. I think these principles are discernable in Dogs in the Vineyard as well, but on more of a prototype stage. The game follows a sort of here-and-now Input-Impulse-Input sequence of reactions. In my best games, the players just go with what feels right in that particular moment, given the narrative and their options.

He does this, (input from GM) what do you do now? (spontaneous impulse) -> new imput, et cetera.

You get fallout, (input from rules) what do you pick now? (spontaneous impulse)

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Arvid

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Re: Tags/labels/genre for In a wicked age and Poison'd?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2011, 08:55:46 AM »
Classification is for biologists.

John, I agree that classifications are kind of lame. But I'd rather have people speak of influences on game design, that's correct and informative, rather than the dichotomous and frankly erranous indie and narrativism-vs-trad discourse that's all too present in my local rpg design discourse.