Monday, January 11, 2010

Sample Outline for Game Preparation and Organization

Here is a sample outline designed to help GMs describe their method and process of preparing a game.

Sample Outline:
  1. What are your priorities?
  2. How effectively do you communicate with your players? Do you talk to them before or after the inspiration for the game is set. Do you just have a small talk or Do you go out of your way to interview them each? Do you negotiate expectations? Do you they have a lot of ideas or do they expect you to come up with most of them?
  3. Do you have an agenda or a clear goal in mind when your prep a game?
  4. What do you expect from a GM and Players? How much work do you expect from your players?
  5. How much game material do you need to prep? What resources do you find very valuable and why?
  6. How do you organize the tasks of preparation? Does it come naturally or do you have a system? Do you get any help?
  7. How do you wrap up or know when to stop? Do you set a personal deadline?

Some Questions that can be answered by how Gms prep their games:
  • How they spend their time and how much time do they invest on prep?
  • What they do to inspire themselves or their players?
  • Tips to working w/o inspiration?
  • Resources they frequent?
  • What do you ask their players? What standard set of questions you ask players when you need to get feedback for your game?
  • How to cheat the amount of work or do you have a Pro-tip?
  • Do you delegate work with players?
  • Do you notice any predictable patterns in your style? How do you shake up things?
  • How do you enhance your improvisational skills?
  • What are your Post Action Reports like?
  • How much energy goes into your games? Is it intense and short, low but sustainable, do you have a way to gain momentum in the middle of the game? Do you "burn-out" after a session or do you have a wind down?
  • Any bad habits or challenges that make game prep hard?

Thank to all those who contribute, i didn't realize it can be energy intensive to summarize a ton of one's experience in games in such a short medium.


spielmeister said...

This is pretty in-depth Justin. I'm learning that making use of such questionnaires and outlines really helps focus the prep process for us harassed GMs. Plus, facilitating communication (whether with one's players or with one's self) is always a plus. this is most helpful!

justin aquino said...

Thanks bob, this is me exercising the management/empirical process to problem solving.

The questionnaires follow the scanning/communicating > processing/planning > execution > closing/feedback (loop).

The GURPS thread is quite insightful, you can really get into the heads of the various GMs commenting and see their individual economy of resources.

Each GM is governed by a specific economy. Values over various aspects of preparation allow an inference on many governing factors.

There are many things the GMs have in common, especially the more seasoned ones. The differences are not so big when they have a well facilitated opportunity to communicate it.