This week, I finished up a four-session arc of duets using Spire: The City Must Fall by Grant Howitt and Chris Taylor. This is my third time running Spire, and there is a lot about the game I love. The writing is top-notch, the setting is rich with conflicts and status quos that just beg for player meddling. On the larger scale of the episodes and overall "season," the system delivers.
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I love this quote from The Mountain Witch: "All conflict is a form of combat." For Justin Nichols' Kinfolk, the issue is that he's got a big whole-game arc of whether the invading industrials can be successfully repelled or otherwise stopped by the fey folk ... and sure, you can make a chapter structure, and sure, you can think of points that accumulate through lower-scale actions and fights ...
Our topic this time is the length of play as it relates to game rules. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not as simple as seeing what the rules say and obeying them; people play long or short in defiance of those rules (when present) all the time. The question is when or how the rules facilitate the decision to continue to play.
I’m not making any claims about the logic or organization by this point in our talks, rather, I’m hoping Justin isn’t thinking that I’m totally making it up as I go. It's certainly been helpful to me to recognize what pieces I need to pull into their own how we play discussion so they can be treated as understood for a how we design presentation.
Justin Nichol and I continue our discussion, or training, regarding game design. This session (in 5 videos) delves into the way we talk / the way we roll. The topic shifts quite logically from whether & when describing things colorfully works, to gaudy and painful consequences of moment-by-moment decision-making.
Here's the second session with Justin Nichols as I test my current notions of a Design Curriculum upon him. Last time, we talked about the desireable "reward" cycle of excitement, engagement with the procedures, and inspiration. This time it's about a particular structural rubric you can find attached to this post.
I've been working up a Design curriculum for role-playing for a long while, so when Justin Nichols approached me for a game design discussion that leaned toward mentoring, I accepted without reservation.