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Show Stuff => Show Talk => Topic started by: Josh on May 18, 2009, 09:25:27 AM

Title: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They Start
Post by: Josh on May 18, 2009, 09:25:27 AM
Favorite Season 2 moment:

Josh: They call it a clam, for a reason
Zeke: Faux GenCon
Meg: Birthday episode and Zeke Orgasms

Big changes for season 3, Zeke will be nude.

Walter Cronkite is dead

Two primary situations:
1: You have a group
2: You have a bunch of people to draw a group from


1) You have a group
You need:
-Ideas from everyone
-Everyone needs to be invested and excited
-Do not fixate on your own nuance, explicitly discuss it
-Be open about what means what

2) You have a bunch of people to draw a group from
-Be honest
-Ask everyone explicitly don't assume

low player count,
Group then game
pick a night(figure out game)

high player count
Game then group
pick a game (figure out night)

--

Bounce Your Boobies
Bhu
Zeke likes Songs and fried eggs hanging on a nail

Holly Dolly
emisairy666
Holly Dolly is a Donkey From the country who dreamed of being a big star

Sheeps
Meg's Aunt
The only form of pure art remaining
Zeke makes up some names “Rivers Cuomo” “Barak Obama”

--

The GM tips
-You are not the boss of them
-Do not “dispense wisdom”
-Be honest open and bring everything to the game
-No one is just an asshole, they have a reason for what they are doing
-Don't say “what do you like?” say “what do you want to do?”
-As soon as they start fighting with you, even slightly, figure out why.  T
-Try to make sure people know their chances before they roll the dice
-You want to catch problems before people even know they are problems.
-You must reduce the complexity of the game to the aggregate of the players.
-Do not be afraid to change games, mod games or create house rules. 
-Check to be sure you have the game right before you go changing things.
-Eat the frog

People don't like low magic
people enjoy the presence of something cool
or the absence of an irritant

Poisonous Ideas

There is a persistent idea that adventures should hold to a “realistic” or “balanced” framework.
Adventures ideally should give everyone in the group what they are looking for. 
Anything more is a waste of effort and anything less could be done better.

You know the adage “if you don't know, make it up” gets tossed around? 
Don't listen to them.  Here's why.
The people who say that, say it, because that's what they do and it works. 
Because a)they know the game or b)they don't care about the rules anyway. 

The first guys are just not expending effort and doing it right anyway
The second guys suck.
Cliffhanger
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They Start
Post by: bhu on May 19, 2009, 11:48:47 AM
Just listened this evening.

In mah defense there were non animated versions of the song I could find which werent on sites also containing porn :D

And most of the other stuff on youtube was cheezy.  See what I mean:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRLEZjNd39Y&feature=related

I had some other thought but seem to have forgotten it...

Nice job though.  I must get my group to listen to these podcasts somehow...
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They Start
Post by: AfterCrescent on May 20, 2009, 04:14:22 AM
I enjoyed this one, even if my favorite moment of the season coincided with Josh's.  :D

Quote
-Try to make sure people know their chances before they roll the dice
I'm torn on this. I agree in some respects, like the odds of performing most tasks, but I think part of it is system dependent.  While on one hand, a system like Savage Worlds works with a set DC that everyone knows, the same cannot be said of D&D. Burning wheel has varying DCs, but it functions well, I think partially because it ranges in a set area (1-10).  In SW and BW, it doesn't hurt, and indeed helps to know your chances ahead of time for most, if not everything.  Is that the case in D&D, though?

You always tout that D&D is an action game, but with so many mechanics and options, part of the challenge in the strategy aspect comes from, in my mind, not knowing your foe's AC or what defenses he has. Possibly even not knowing a certain modifier (like how unbelievable your lie may seem to the NPC for his sense motive) could add to the 'challenge.' Thoughts?
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They Start
Post by: veekie on May 20, 2009, 02:50:13 PM
I enjoyed this one, even if my favorite moment of the season coincided with Josh's.  :D

Quote
-Try to make sure people know their chances before they roll the dice
I'm torn on this. I agree in some respects, like the odds of performing most tasks, but I think part of it is system dependent.  While on one hand, a system like Savage Worlds works with a set DC that everyone knows, the same cannot be said of D&D. Burning wheel has varying DCs, but it functions well, I think partially because it ranges in a set area (1-10).  In SW and BW, it doesn't hurt, and indeed helps to know your chances ahead of time for most, if not everything.  Is that the case in D&D, though?

You always tout that D&D is an action game, but with so many mechanics and options, part of the challenge in the strategy aspect comes from, in my mind, not knowing your foe's AC or what defenses he has. Possibly even not knowing a certain modifier (like how unbelievable your lie may seem to the NPC for his sense motive) could add to the 'challenge.' Thoughts?
Regarding rolling, and knowing the DCs, I expect static challenges to have fairly obvious difficulties, known both IC and OOC, while players should have a rough idea of how strong a monster is, relative to themselves(at least to the extent of CR > or CR < PCs, for anything above 2 point variance in either direction). Especially for homebrewed critters, when the party gets an extremely impressive description tied to unimpressive stats leaves the PCs jaded and walking into a fight they aren't supposed to be picking yet.
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They Start
Post by: Josh on May 21, 2009, 09:11:50 AM
You always tout that D&D is an action game, but with so many mechanics and options, part of the challenge in the strategy aspect comes from, in my mind, not knowing your foe's AC or what defenses he has. Possibly even not knowing a certain modifier (like how unbelievable your lie may seem to the NPC for his sense motive) could add to the 'challenge.' Thoughts?

In general the players do know their chances. 

Against the average target the fighter will mostly hit.  If the target is armored the chance will be reduced.

Tough critters have good fort saves, smart critters have good will saves.  You know your chances usually.
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They Start
Post by: AfterCrescent on May 21, 2009, 06:06:47 PM
Ah, so you meant it in a very vague aspect. I thought you were referring to more concrete chances than "X has a high fort, I should aim for a will save."
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They St
Post by: Psychic Robot on July 14, 2009, 09:16:32 AM
Quote
People don’t like low magic
Yes.  Yes, they do.  In fact, making a blanket statement that "people don't like low magic" is retarded.  It'd be like me saying, "People don't like survival horror games."
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They St
Post by: Zeke on July 14, 2009, 02:09:33 PM
Mr. Robot, you misunderstand the point. People don't like horror survival games either, they like what those games do for them. What Josh and I are saying is that it is important to find out what people are after in their choices than to fixate on specific details.
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They St
Post by: Psychic Robot on July 14, 2009, 08:21:12 PM
That sounds like a hefty dose of semantics and doublespeak.

"I like survival horror games."
"No, you like what they do for you."
"...No, actually, I like the entire genre."
"No, you like what the genre does for you."

I don't actually know what you're trying to say here.  I like survival horror.  I like low magic.  I don't particularly like high magic.
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They St
Post by: Zeke on July 14, 2009, 08:43:52 PM
We're just suggesting a way to think about it. If it doesn't help you don't use it. We are not saying that no one actually likes those things. We said it that way as a means of making a particular point.
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They St
Post by: Josh on July 15, 2009, 04:19:34 AM
Quote
People don’t like low magic
Yes.  Yes, they do.  In fact, making a blanket statement that "people don't like low magic" is retarded.  It'd be like me saying, "People don't like survival horror games."
Actually it's like you saying they don't like the survival part of horror games. 

But again, you still miss the point.  So let just say you are right.  It is just a semantic dodge.  You win.
What did you accomplish?  Absolutely nothing.  People still feel the same way, and you simply miss attribute that. 

Lets say then that the semantics are important.  People don't like "low magic" they like something else about the setting.  Now you can focus on what they actually like instead of happening to hit it by accident.

The refutation of the argument "people don't like low magic" is actually "people do like low magic."  And then you could site a unique quality of low magic that people like.
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They St
Post by: Lakira on July 21, 2009, 02:28:36 AM
Is it fair to say that that the silent ending of "People don't like low magic" is "for low magic's sake"? That is, it's not "low magic" or "survival horror" or "beef jerky" that's likable in and of itself, but qualities of "low magic" (ie: focus on inherent skills rather than objects of power) or "survival horror" (ie: the thrill of overcoming overwhelming adversity) or "beef jerky" (ie: salty salty goodness) that are likable.
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They St
Post by: Josh on July 21, 2009, 06:55:57 AM
Except for the beef jerky.  But yes, low magic-ed-ness is not something you can hang a hat on.  But, inherent (non magical) skills is.

People don't like surviving, they like telling a story or overcoming adversity.

So nail on the head.
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They Start
Post by: Caffeinemage on July 22, 2009, 04:03:37 AM
I thought this was a really good episode in general.  A lot of that advice (especially the scene skipping advice) is stuff new GMs could stand to hear. 

However, it left me with this question: What do you mean by velvet roping?  You say don't do it, but it seems like you advocate exactly that  (X won't get along with Y, so we cant invite one of them). Can you be more specific with what you do and don't think is appropriate in choosing players?
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They St
Post by: Josh on July 22, 2009, 05:30:00 AM
I thought this was a really good episode in general.  A lot of that advice (especially the scene skipping advice) is stuff new GMs could stand to hear. 

However, it left me with this question: What do you mean by velvet roping?  You say don't do it, but it seems like you advocate exactly that  (X won't get along with Y, so we cant invite one of them). Can you be more specific with what you do and don't think is appropriate in choosing players?

Velvet roping is the act of excluding people to make yourself seem cool.  Like those clubs where the doorman only lets you in if you look good enough.  A very sort of high school behavior. 

The litmus test of velvet roping is: would you feel comfortable telling them face to face?

If you say "look, when we play we just don't get along."  That is not velvet roping. 

Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They St
Post by: Lakira on July 24, 2009, 08:36:20 PM
Except for the beef jerky.  But yes, low magic-ed-ness is not something you can hang a hat on.  But, inherent (non magical) skills is.

People don't like surviving, they like telling a story or overcoming adversity.

So nail on the head.

Okay, good to know I'm starting in the right area.

So, it occurs to me that the payouts episodes are good, especially when you have a low player count (you can ask the players "What do you want to do" and figure out payouts etc), but less useful with a higher player count since it's a game-then-group scenario. As I recall (and I could be out of my mind - it's been a while since I listened to the payout eps), there wasn't a strong "things games can provide and how they can do it well" perspective. So, if a game says, "If you love low magic, you'll love me!" how do you figure out what the game actually gives you?

As far as I can tell, there's reams and reams of text on the 'net devoted to this to some extent or another, but I don't recall a BG opinion.
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They St
Post by: Josh on July 25, 2009, 08:25:06 AM
Except for the beef jerky.  But yes, low magic-ed-ness is not something you can hang a hat on.  But, inherent (non magical) skills is.

People don't like surviving, they like telling a story or overcoming adversity.

So nail on the head.

Okay, good to know I'm starting in the right area.

So, it occurs to me that the payouts episodes are good, especially when you have a low player count (you can ask the players "What do you want to do" and figure out payouts etc), but less useful with a higher player count since it's a game-then-group scenario. As I recall (and I could be out of my mind - it's been a while since I listened to the payout eps), there wasn't a strong "things games can provide and how they can do it well" perspective. So, if a game says, "If you love low magic, you'll love me!" how do you figure out what the game actually gives you?

As far as I can tell, there's reams and reams of text on the 'net devoted to this to some extent or another, but I don't recall a BG opinion.

When I first pitched this podcast the list of things were were not going to do included product reviews.  It seemed like every podcast was doing them.  Here's what happened, I tried to find out some information about some games.

Without belaboring the issue, there is no good source.  Until we make one.

Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They St
Post by: Lakira on July 25, 2009, 04:12:45 PM
When I first pitched this podcast the list of things were were not going to do included product reviews.  It seemed like every podcast was doing them.  Here's what happened, I tried to find out some information about some games.

Without belaboring the issue, there is no good source.  Until we make one.



I'd argue that there's probably no good central resource, but I suppose it really depends on what you mean by "good source".

I wasn't necessarily thinking about product reviews, but I guess product reviews are the easiest way to illustrate what you might mean. I'm kinda wandering into theory-land and I get the impression the BGs want to pull back from too much theory. The breed standard metaphor might be a good place to start, though. Gamers tend to talk about certain kinds of games more often than not: rules-light, survival horror, kill-'em-and-take-their-stuff, etc. Sometimes it refers to a genre, sometimes it refers to mechanics. But when gamers talk about, say, rules-light, it means they're looking often for certain kinds of things, not just "not many rules." If it meant "not many rules", we'd all be playing D02. If a game says "rules-light", does it actually offer the underlying things gamers expect? Or is it "rules-light" because the number of rules happens to be small?

Hrm.... Going for "rules-light" as an example may not be the best one. Genre stuff, I think, is easier to pin down but when you wander into mechanics the wankery can get crazy.
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They St
Post by: Josh on July 27, 2009, 09:36:40 AM
Here is what I mean by "good" source: a resource on RPG's that is flat out good and needs no analasys by the reader/viewer/listener. 

Most reviewers of RPGs are mostly wrong (there are exceptions).  But I don't want to waste my time on them, I would rather just try to fix the problem.

Sometimes it refers to a genre, sometimes it refers to mechanics. But when gamers talk about, say, rules-light, it means they're looking often for certain kinds of things, not just "not many rules." If it meant "not many rules", we'd all be playing D02. If a game says "rules-light", does it actually offer the underlying things gamers expect? Or is it "rules-light" because the number of rules happens to be small?

Rules lite is a good example. 

Less rules means less the game can do.  If it is a good game to start with. 

So do people mean "not a crap game?" 

Burning wheel has more rules than WoD but it does more and is easier to play.   

And so on.  Nothing can be rules lite because rules lite is nothing
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They St
Post by: Lakira on July 31, 2009, 06:31:43 PM
Here is what I mean by "good" source: a resource on RPG's that is flat out good and needs no analasys by the reader/viewer/listener. 

I'm assuming an unspoken "good at/for what it advertises it's good at/for" in this. Am I correct in that assumption?

Most reviewers of RPGs are mostly wrong (there are exceptions).  But I don't want to waste my time on them, I would rather just try to fix the problem.

Are your exceptions individual reviews or individuals? Because if it's individuals, I'd love to know who you think reviews games properly.

Rules lite is a good example. 

Less rules means less the game can do.  If it is a good game to start with. 

So do people mean "not a crap game?" 

Burning wheel has more rules than WoD but it does more and is easier to play.   

And so on.  Nothing can be rules lite because rules lite is nothing.

While I don't want to get too hung up on the example of rules light, I recall a podcast where you said there's no point in going beyond the maximum amount of fun your group can have. So if the game does exactly as much as it needs to do to ensure maximum fun for your group even if it has few rules, then the fact that it does less shouldn't count against it. If it claims to do as much as a "rules heavy" game, then there's a problem in the advertising, certainly.

It's been my experience with rules light that what is meant is "more abstraction". Whether this is accomplished well or poorly depends on implementation.

Do the BGs intend to talk about game mechanics at all (not necessarily of specific games but more generally) or is the intention to ground everything in products?
Title: Re: Sode 41 - Getting the Group Together and Heading Off Problems Before They St
Post by: axleleft on September 06, 2009, 08:38:18 AM
It's been my experience with rules light that what is meant is "more abstraction". Whether this is accomplished well or poorly depends on implementation.
I agree. Games such as GURPS (and to a lesser extent Burning Wheel) are good because they have rules for almost any situation you'll find yourself in, but there reaches a point where the scale of actions requires abstraction to keep a game fun.

There is also the "Ooh, cool," factor. If I recall correctly, one of the BG issues with rules light is the game becoming a "May I please win now, Mr. GM?" situation. The games I've played (on both sides of the screen) that are rules light tend to be more focused on the players doing over the top, insane, ungodly, world-shattering acts and be opposed by the same. Nobilis pulls this off very well in my opinion. One couldn't design exact mechanics for an immortal power of every aspect of creation but one could design mechanics for an abstraction of relative power levels and keep it simple with: if you are more powerful you win. The trick for the players then becomes the resouce management of the points that let them temporarily go beyond their normal power level.

Now for a bit of Devil's Advocate:
Just as min/maxing helps develop a character a rules light system helps develop a gaming world and it's NPCs. Do such games lend themselves to an unplanned session? No, and the Devil would say that a game with more rules lets the GM come in with less prep. A duel of wits, a diplomacy check, a public speaking roll - they all allow the GM to fall back on rules and numbers if need be. In a system with little rules, the first to often come under the axe are those governing social interaction. The GM then must keep track of the nagging details as to what the NPCs want, what stereotypes would they project on the players, etc. The drug-dealer confronts a player moving in on his turf and what would convince him not to start a gang war?

Note that this all comes back to Lakira's comment on implementation. The players and GM both have to understand what is expected of each other and cannot fall back on the dice; some groups like this style of play and others don't.