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Seminar: Hearts & Minds

SEMINAR

What is this table-top role-playing thing? How does it work, what does it do, what kind of designs do which things? I've got some ideas, and so do you. This is where we talk it over.

Some of my posts here present a concept, game title, or a historical hobby event for discussion in the comments, so join in with a will. You'll also find interviews and conversations. (Soon I'll amend the Hearts & Minds  blue button so you can post these things on your own.)

I'm also running what I guess I call "labs," which are organized and prepared at the Patreon. I run them on Mondays using Discord, and anyone pledging there can participate when they feel like it. I post the recordings here the following Monday with ongoing discussion in the comments.

Evidently my Reflections by request video from Febuary 14 wasn't too badly done, as I've received a lot of inquiries about continuing the discussion, especially the topics raised at the end.

Posted by: Ron Edwards
05 Mar 2019
0 comments

You can go all the way back to 1998 to see me saying, “I want to talk about point-builds and dice, so let’s get past some easy points about goals of play and get to the good practical stuff.” Twenty-one years later and people are still blubbering about “but but simulation." I’ve repeated this plea many times, ever more plaintively ... Can we fucking just talk about dice already?!

Posted by: Ron Edwards
06 Feb 2019
0 comments

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.

Posted by: Ron Edwards
31 Jan 2019
0 comments

Justin gave me a list of questions or topics for this session, and I realized they made most sense in nested form. So I grouped IIEE and relationship mechanics into the larger category of Bounce and system diagrams (specifically their feedback or activity loops), then put the whole into the biggest category of design processes as an experience.

Posted by: Ron Edwards
23 Jan 2019
7 comments

I've shifted our focus more fully into the concrete experience of designing a game. I'm also finding it useful to consider the practitioner's general outlook of "this is how I did it," vs. the observer's or analyst's outlook of "but how does a person do it," without falling into the trap of tossing it back into the observer's lap by saying, "well, you just do it and then you'll see."

Posted by: Ron Edwards
14 Jan 2019
2 comments

The recent discussion in Actual Play has prompted me to what may be quite a lot of pointed looks at racism in role-playing content. I've made a little video to set local boundaries & standards for all of them, beginning right here. You'll be seeing that link again.

Posted by: Ron Edwards
13 Jan 2019
0 comments

At this point, we needed to do three things at once. First, to make sure we filled in any missing points or caught up with anything Justin wanted to revisit; second, to lay down some important points about design as a process, as I thought we'd maybe strayed into play-theory at the expense of the real topic of "make a game;" and third, to take the time to address any topics as they occurred to either of us as we went along.

Posted by: Ron Edwards
09 Jan 2019
9 comments

I’m looking now at the whole of fictional character identity. Classically, it’s composed of attributes, race, class, and a range of options concerning gear and spells. Many games have simplified or complicated this framework, and some have approached the idea from different angles, but it’s a simple idea that applies to any story-ish fiction and I don’t expect anyone to have trouble understanding it, or that it may have “hard” vs. “soft” vs. “emergent” parts.

Posted by: Ron Edwards
29 Dec 2018
2 comments

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.

Posted by: Ron Edwards
16 Dec 2018
3 comments

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.

Posted by: Ron Edwards
09 Dec 2018
10 comments

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