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Design Curriculum: Playing for a long time

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.

Looking back over it, I realize we could have spent more time investigating the fixed five-session structure that Justin wants for Kinfolk, especially relative to games like Grey Ranks which do very well with a fixed number of sessions.

Part 1 (embedded below) includes a callback to the Monday Lab How Long and reflects on character improvement relative to long-term play in the hobby’s history.

Part 2 asks, why continue to play longer? I offer the concept of ongoing claims or principles which allow rebooted questions.

Part 3 discusses what typically occurs instead, when a character or fictional concept is trapped by its own franchise; and I ask how one distinguishes between arc closure and overall conclusions.

Part 4 for time purposes, the first part applies the second part of Part 3 to my own games, but the majority is about understanding what long-form media often do, which isn’t actually telling a long story or even a series of sequential stories.

Part 5 shares what well-known authors have told me about why they extended the number of books in a series.

Part 6 seems to detour into Justin’s question about “my small business” play, but it does tie in because such play assumes that this particular group and situation will persist for a long time.