Monday, February 14, 2011

A Question To Readers

The purpose of this blog is to discuss the development process of JAGS. Playtesting is, of course, key to that process. I have been somewhat circumspect about writing about the games we're playing because (a) the players read the blog, (b) I haven't been running the games mostly of late and (c) I'm not sure there's a huge amount of interest in how we set up and play these games--the craft of them.

However, seeing a bunch more people following the blog I'm going to put out the question: do people want to hear about the games we're running and see materials, get actual-play updates, stuff like that? It is topical since understanding the conditions the game is play-tested under is possibly one of the most valuable things you could know about the intent behind an RPG design (on the other hand, I can see very credible arguments that the intent behind and RPG design isn't all that important to begin with).



  1. I think some of this might be more useful than you think, Marco.

    While intent isn't the whole story with RPG design, often its too hard from the outside to see the likely implications of a given piece of design work, unless a design is very, very simple; knowing what a designer was trying to do can (at least if you assume the designer is at least of basic competence and that _some_ testing went on) liable to give you some sense of likely effect of design choices.

    As an example, a first read of JAGS can easily sell it as a very gritty system. While other things can disabuse you of this, one of the things that did so with me was realizing that the majority of things you and yours did with it seemed likely to actually be fairly cinematic; that meant either the system was not as gritty at core as it appeared on the surface (somewhat true, I think) or that there were twiddleable bits that made it less so (definitely true).

    In addition, there are implications in the setting books you've published to date. Have-Nots, Wonderland and 13 Colonies all have one thing in common: they're _quirky_, at least by the standards of most vanilla games. How typical they are of the games you've used JAGS for may be instructive, as it may of what areas have been worked with a lot, and which haven't.

    In other words, I think there's some genuine utility to doing at least some of what you're talking about.

    (As an aside, I sent you an email a couple weeks ago regarding something in the Archetypes playtest...I don't want to nag, but if you could get back to me on it (assuming since its unavailable to most people you don't want to talk about it here) it'd be very helpful).

  2. Oops. Yeah--let me get back to you on the question about size class ... I'll have to look that up. You can post this stuff here too if you want. I'm not too concerned about keeping the comments "stratified."

    I think I'll do some posts about the philosophy of scenario design and gaming best-practices as our group's take on this has informed JAGS pretty heavily.


  3. Good enough. If I ask questions about the Archetype draft, I'll try to give enough context so that the poor people who don't have it have some basis for understanding the conversation.

  4. For me, the answer is definitely yes. I'm curious about the games you and your group are running and what you do with JAGS in actual play.