The explanation for this image is wonderfully apparent in the second session.
Tod requested consulting specifically about late-stage design, bordering on presentation and writing, concerning how to GM, which in turn includes how to present and teach the game. As people reading this probably know, this is my cue to do exactly what the client does not want, which is to abandon all talk of writing and product design, and to return to play as the source of effective pedagogy.
The design space that includes his game, CORE (Creative Options Roleplaying Engine), can be difficult for me to haul into that discussion, because when I say, “let’s do it,” the conversation can get bogged down in how customizable it is. It takes us a while, almost the whole first session, but eventually, by letting go of what could be done, we simply did the thing in one of the ways it can be done. I managed to get over the hump by mandating that the second-session discussion could not include any game pitch nor any explanation.
Specifically, Tod riffed off his enjoyment of the film Brazil, and I did the same, to play Sammy Ray. He’s not very much like the film’s protagonist in personality or situation, but he is almost certainly as doomed.
It paid off. We had an excellent time playing this thing, and I suspect the fantasies and travails of Sammy Ray / Superguy will continue, not for consulting as such, but just because we want to. I hope the subsequent dialogue will teach you, viewers, whoever, why one cannot consider writing without being grounded in genuine, non-hand-held, non-remedial play.
The principle is simple: you cannot teach X without yourself being happy to do X with people you know can do it too. Why? Because if you are in a state of trying to convince people, then you are not, yourself, playing. And if you’re not playing, then you can’t observe yourself and others to understand how actually to play.
That’s why it’s good to consider other people to be probably better than you are at this game you’ve designed, given just a wee bit of instruction with no justifying explanations or justifications. For one thing, that’s actually true, as long as you stay far, far away from the self-important promotional publishing project culture. For another, it’s incredibly affirming to discover that you’re playing your own game without having to backstop it and “make sure” that it’s working.
As of this posting (sessions 1 and 2), Tod isn’t visible in the videos, which is probably why we talk over one another more than once. As the consulting continues, he will appear.