Beyond the Master of Ceremonies

September 12, 2010

This is my response to Ewen Cluney’s response to my response to Will Hindmarch’s response to Apocalypse World. This conversation just keeps giving and giving.

In Ewen’s words, one of the things that AW does is attempt to address that problem that…

…we don’t really have the vocabulary or techniques that we probably should for discussing (much less modifying) what exactly the GM does.

And that’s totally true. However, when I ponder that a bit further, I think about Vincent’s interview with Clyde and their assertion that now we can finally talk about how to design games, since we’ve won the battle about there being different valid ways to play, etc.

But where does that come from? What vocabulary do we have to talk about how to design games? And when I think about the MC again, and the new vocabulary we have to talk about GMing, I say to myself: Look, the GM is just a player, or maybe a specific kind of player role. So what we have is a new vocabulary for talking about how to play games.

Is that the same as a new vocabulary for talking about how to design games? Not yet, but it’s a hell of a lot better than what we’ve had previously. And in attempting to build on and explicate how to play, maybe we can figure out how to talk about design along the way.

5 Responses to “Beyond the Master of Ceremonies”

  1. Tim Jensen Says:

    The conversation in question was Vincent’s Gen Con interview with Clyde:
    http://theoryfromthecloset.com/2010/08/19/show059-interview-with-vincent-baker/

  2. Simon Says:

    Some good discussion of that point here: http://www.lumpley.com/comment.php?entry=528
    Specifically, Vincent’s comment 9 there.


    • Cool, Simon. I like all those links, but I also want to see more people talking about PLAYERS’ agenda/principles/moves, rather than focusing mostly on GM stuff.

      Just this afternoon, I thought about writing up the player agendas/principles for Fiasco and Geiger Counter to see what the differences actually were. I still think that would be a worthy exercise, even though those are GM-less/ful games, so they’re still kinda GM-related, tangentially.


  3. I’m working on a beginning of talking about Game Design, by approaching it like I did with the big model 4 years ago. Hopefully I’ve learned a bit more about how to make that interesting. I’ve got to put out a; state of the podcast / money begging episode, first.

    I’m going to be looking strongly to “The Art of Game Design,” by Jesse Schell, and to a lesser extent “A Theory of Fun,” by Raph Koster. Both great books, written in an easy to understand conversational tone. Plus… I’m thinking of more stuff, but getting my Buddhist podcast off it’s feet is the next priority once I start getting the game design stuff mapped out.


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