Monday, June 29, 2009

For Your Consideration

Rule -1

"If the participants are enjoying the simple acts of rolling dice, eating chips and talking in funny voices that trumps anything ever thought, said or written about RPG theory."

29 comments:

  1. Eh.

    RPG Theory generally exists to address issues. It isn't so much that it is trumped by these things, but that if people are having fun then theory isn't likely to be useful. There shouldn't be competition between theory and the situation you describe.

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  2. The gunk under the fridge trumps anything ever thought, said or written about RPG theory.

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  3. Hear, hear for Cheetoism! Hanging with buddies and having fun.

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  4. I'm down with that if we agree to disagree about the funny voices.

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  5. I believe this can be simplified to "The participants having fun trumps all rules and theories."

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  6. I couldn't agree more.

    As a matter of fact, I can so I do. I agree more!

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  7. Guy Srinivasan7:44 PM

    Nope. It trumps all incorrect or incomplete or approximate or maybe-possibly-flawed theory. Which is all we have. But lack of truth is no reason to go around saying that fun trumps truth.

    Unless you believe that fun is somehow fundamentally irreducible to anything we can know. That's what they thought about lots of things we've figured out through history, but it didn't help, we still figured them out! :D

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  8. 100% agreement. RPG Theory seems most useful for generating debate on Internet RPG message boards, however.

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  9. I'd like to point out Rule 1 means we can feel comfortable throwing out RPG's in general and playing Craps, or Risk, or Monopoly etc

    After all, a few drinks makes for some darn funny voices.

    Im a bigger fan of the RSP Gaming Theory mind you, but I think its worth noting the sources of fun for different games. Not because fun can be distilled, but so that if you say "I find this fun because it has two parts retro and one part stupid" I can say "Oh, I tend not to find that as fun as a nice full bodied Stupid Pretentious game, I'll go buy a game that suits my tastes for fun".

    Thats just my 2c

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  10. I've been RPGing for a pretty good while now, and this RPG Theory is news to me. I guess I missed the memo.

    Does this mean my game buddies and I need to get re-certified?

    And what if my voice is just naturally funny? Should I maybe take hormone tablets?

    Aww man..this is getting too hard. Can I go outside and play now?

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  11. Adam Drew10:11 PM

    Ditto slizard.

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  12. I think I like that better than my own Rule Zero: "Don't be a jerk."

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  13. Zzarchov sayeth I'd like to point out Rule 1 means we can feel comfortable throwing out RPG's in general and playing Craps, or Risk, or Monopoly etc

    If by "we" you mean "those of us who'd rather play craps, or Risk, or Monopoly tonight, then yes, that approach would be more productive.

    If by "we" you mean "those of us who'd rather play an RPG tonight," then that approach would be less productive.

    Simple as that. Easy squeezy.

    Golgotha Kinslayer sayeth: I think I like that better than my own Rule Zero: "Don't be a jerk."

    Your rule is excellent, too, since it faces with honesty the direct result that most RPG theory attempts to arrive at circuitously.

    Guy Something-I-Can't-Spell sayeth: "Unless you believe that fun is somehow fundamentally irreducible to anything we can know."

    Fun is absolutely reducible to something we can know. Many things, including: actual practice and technique.

    (and theory, too, but when you've got practice [in creative/entertainment context], theory is moot, and the kind of people who try to formulate it tend, therefore, to be the kind of people who skipped practice) ;)

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  14. Beer. Brew at the table and some good game buds, beats th' shorts offa theory easily. Hard to get buzzed and laff at theory!

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  15. Tacoma2:00 AM

    I don't like the current game theories I've found because they're all dumb. Like a self-help book written in Simple English dumb. I'm not sure fun can trump any future game theory, but it sure trumps GNS / RSP / etc.

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  16. Yep. The rules serve the game; not vice versa.

    (I've no idea who I nicked that from, it just struck a chord)

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  17. I have another way that your rule #1 can be phrased:

    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    Yes that's fun.

    For a while.

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  18. Gasp! You're a Participationist!

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  19. It's good, but this rule is supported by many unwritten rules. Most of them reference Social Contract Law. It discusses especially consensus making, and like Golgotha Kinslayer mentioned, good behavior. However you roll, you have to roll together.

    Speaking of gamer social contract law, lawyers can find it in Westlaw. It's there, really it is! You have to look deep, and a little to the left. Actually it's more like West-Southwest. Be sure to wear red/blue 3-D glasses, and to do the search between midnight and one-teen o'thirty.

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  20. Anonymous11:49 AM

    I'm with you unless the "funny voices" are quoting Monty Python...

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  21. Anonymous1:10 PM

    Fun is first. that's even the rule in "serious" theatre.

    btw. i have character names in my group like cannibus maximus, labia majora, and vagijar. funny voices are sorta unavoidable sometimes.

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  22. Settembrini2:42 PM

    Am I the only one who read Jeff´s subversive proposal as being rule MINUS one?

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  23. But they’re doing it wrong! (shakes fist)

    Yes, Jeff’s statement could be simplified, but that’s not an improvement, IMHO.

    The opposite side of the coin: It’s when you’re not enjoying rolling dice, eating chips, and talking in funny voices when you need to start understanding what makes the hobby fun for you and how to bring more of the awesome.

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  24. Let me restate my objection.

    I read your Rule -1 (abstracted) as:

    "If the people are having fun doing X, then this overrules theory developed to help people try to have fun doing X."

    The theory isn't for these people. They don't need it. They're cool.

    If that's all you're trying to say, then that is fine. The way you said it, though, sets this up as some sort of artificial contest between theory and fun, which I think is unfair.

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  25. I agree with szilard. All the theory hate is unjustified. If you're having fun, you don't necessarily need the theory, but to create a false dichotomy between fun and figuring out what's fun and how to do it isn't helpful (which may not be Jeff's point, but several commenters are headed there).

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  26. If you're having fun, you don't necessarily need the theory [...]

    And if you're not having fun, you need fun.

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  27. Yep. The rules serve the game; not vice versa.

    (I've no idea who I nicked that from, it just struck a chord)
    .

    It suspect it was either me or Thomas many moons ago on the Giant in the Playground forums.

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  28. This is like saying that living a healthy life trumps anything ever thought, said, or written about medical science.

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