Friday, August 21, 2015

Transformational Leadership as part of my Game

there is enough data about Transformational Leadership that I can possible run it as a Game Aspect. This means a Player who chooses a TLeadership strategy can amass a lot of highly  skilled lieutenants like Jack Welch, Justinian, Alexios, Napoleon, and other TLeaders of history and contemporary world.

In Sins of the Crusade I'm already exploring it and have presented a number of Challenges in this manner. These would be called "Social Intelligence" Challenges and "Creative Problem Solving" Landscapes as defined in Complexity Theory and Creative Thinking Discipline. As with the Blogs "Mission and Visions" (lolz) I've been working on applying what I learned immediately to the game.

One inspiration I have is the Clausewitz Engine used in EU and CK games. Particularly the simple strategy of carving out a Map by its strategic quadrants, strong points, and Power structures. particularly following the various strategies and play-through since I have no time to play CK2. I was imagining my African Modern Game, which was initially set in Nigeria (biggest country in Africa by Economy and Population) but then I learned about the history of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - the Part of Africa no GM in his right mind would like to Explore and touch. 

After watching this and seeing and reading the Personality Profile of the "Leaders" of the Congo, they tend to fall into a very interesting and measurable Profile. So interesting that a lot of my TLeadership studies kicked in and my experience actually living in a 3rd world Lolz. 

One thing I love showing to an audience is the Cognitive Dissonance we work with when we live where we live. That if we meditate on it, it can be as bad or worse than the Congo in its own way but we intentionally gloss over certain things just because it would be too hard to live thinking of such. Its not a terrible thing to do, but thats what we do to live. 

Now with that Horror Type aspect having over my narrative being set in the CONGO, and the Day and Age we live in - it would be pretty interesting to run such a Game where Modern Day Adventurers go into the Congo with their Connections, leads, stakes, and try to Carve out their place. In a way we are in a future that is poorly distributed and that there is technology and complexity worth exploring and playing through. 

I plan to do is allow a Players to explore the many strategies of Transformational Leaders. There are many as there is no single leaderships strategy and style, of course there are the most popular ones but you have to work with what you have. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Gaming to Learn Life Skills and a Greater Sense of Agency

You will notice Game in the Brain crazy about using games to learn and create a greater locus of control or sense of agency in life. If you know how I GM, which is publicly viewable for all its flaws to see I focus on EQ and Life Skill Challenges. So it should come as no surprise I change my "Just Happy to Game" subtitle to the title to you see:

Gaming to Learn Life Skills and Greater Sense of Agency (or Locus of Control).

I'm in the unique position that allows me to study using Gaming, and using skills hard won in gaming to do Work. I also tend to talk about key biz and life skills and principles that I have researched in the game.

A bit about myself:

Currently I've been given access to Lectures (from TGC) which I am to digest and create material for our company into policies and training. I work as a "Director" primarily focused on Fixing Problems as well as smoothing out relationships.

I think myself as Jarred Dun - the lowest tier of nerd and often the most annoying because of our voice of logistics and elaborating challenges. The array of skills I possess  are libreoffice, knowledge of these soft skills, and technically amateur if one considers the 1st world biz world (at the level that I can at least flash a rom).

As Games and Writing about Games in this blog empowered me more and more in work, it has come to a Tipping Point where It has become one thing and a lifestyle. I've "bought" the domain and pretty much working to fix it up to focus on the Mission and Vision.

I do have my own Game Systems which I plan to be free with goals that allow me to pay others (since I like working in my job) to help me pretty it up and make it easier to use and more bells and whistles.

Tools I want to Built into my Gaming:
These are things that I want to build into the Game systems and GMing tools and tricks in Game in the Brain. A ton of life skills,

  • Success Zones
  • Diagnostic Thinking Map
  • Meta-cognitive Planning 
  • 6 Hats
  • Yes and
  • IDEO's Defer Judgement, Quantity, Associative Thinking (connection making), Novelty 
  • SCAMPER and various Random Association and Option generation techniques 
  • Torrence Test of Creative Thinking
  • Bloom's Taxonomy of mental processes. 
  • Writing Challenges uses Random Element Association
  • Multiple Equivalent Simultaneous Offers
  • Targets Topics Trade-offs and Targets within Trade-offs
  • How Diagramming
  • Competency Modeling 
  • Rule of 3 and 10 
  • Social Intelligence Challenges
  • Emotional Intelligence Challenges 
  • Leadership - from the discipline to the humanistic virtue. 
  • Various Communication and Influence skills.
  • Various heuristics and how to use models and such tools.  

I know its Buzz Kill for so many out there, but this is what I like and being called weird and strange for such - to be more niche for a hobby that is already niche is not so good.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Tutorials for Table-Top RPGs: lessons from Dungeon World

Extra Credit has one of the best well written and presented Game Design material. One of my favourite  is Tutorials 101. Now in TTRPGs, the question is: How  do you apply Tutorials 101 in TTRPGs? 

Go to Dungeon Worlds and download the Character sheet. You will notice that the rules are built into the character sheet. I cant remember when was the last time I saw this done, but it was so simple I wondered why it didnt become the industry standard. 

So basically if you didn't get the EUREKA moment and see the connection between Dungeon World Character Sheets and Tutorials 101 then let me explain:

In Dungeon World Character I realized I can slowly let people learn the rules 1 page (1 prefer A5 or Statement Size aka 1/2 Letter) at a time. Why can't I just add pages of rules to the character sheets 1 page at a time? I dont need to teach EVERYTHING at once. 
Scaffolding is worth looking into. This method allows for the Scaffolding techniques. It comes to this point that it becomes a great way to strategize teaching not just Adults Difficult Life skills - like communication skills and self awareness (EQ) , but teaching children as well. 
Second. I can SCOPE the encounter or scene to only use the Rules of One Page. Again following Tutorials 101, I just make a scenario where I only use the rules on that page, then Build Up. 
Anything that takes more than 2-5 minutes to explain verbally for me,  if someone asks to clarify,  is what I'm looking for.  The rule or mechanics that takes the least time to explain but used most (explanation to use ratio) is the most important. Since explaining is work note that a rule that is used more but hard to explain is worth trying to master explaining. 

Now that I've learned to Partition the Tasks I can build up based on the simplest core concepts, and most essential or basic challenges. 
Character Creation: Note that this can be applied to Character Creation as well. This is even fun given the Traveller Character Creation where it is a Game Making a Character. 
The Next Problem is that Certain Game Systems are a Mess. Admittedly if I tried to do this to GURPS its kinda going to be a little hell and a thankless effort. (experience from making GURPS Lite for Low Tech 11C ). Some Systems will be Awesome in this: MG Traveller or Classic Traveller or (more crucial is) Traveller 5E can benefit from this. DnD will take some work, but they need it the least. 
What typically Happens in such a tutorial system:
  • Rereading the rules and making extensive notes. This depends on how much rules I will be going through. I need to budget so I consider average skill level of audience and the free time I have to do this kind of prep. This will take almost half the tim. 
  • Several revision of the Plain speaking version of the rules in the shortest possible way. After making initial drafts there is a period of letting the ideas play around in my  head until better wording can be dreamed up. 
  • Layouting and Sourcing Images (if possible). What will add hours is graphing it because I can't do it in one Try. 
  • All this is accelerated if I have another POV from a friend who can review the work. Another person imagining all the possible ways this can be misread or misunderstood makes this much  more efficient. 
  • Printing it out since my Printer is a multi-step process. 

List of Systems and how much time I figure it would take for me to make some with my Libreoffice Writer Skills. 

  • Qin- The Warring States. 5-8 hours. 
  • Fading Sun 2E-Revised. 8-12 hours.  
  • In Nomine 5-8 hours
  • Eclipse Phase 12-16 hours. (because i have to telegraph key concepts)
  • Song of Ice and Fire, 5-8 hours (but the system is broken and last I checked no one bothered to fix  it; by broken is that benchmarks are off. PCs are way more powerful than the Book's characters). 
  • World of Darkness: 5-8 hours. 
  • Savage Worlds: 5-8 hours. 
  • Castle Frankenstein. 5-8 hours.  

Check out +Tobie Abad  teaching the apocalypse engine. The brilliant and crucial piece that lead me to this realization.

Although this does not count me LEARNING the system from scratch. But one thing GURPS taught me very well is RESEARCH lolz. I owe my citation and research skills to it. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Spiel Draft for the what I hope to be a Patreon Type Endevour.

Background. I've had about around 10 years to prepare my First Crusades. Ive been planning and working on it since 2002, in my older blog, when around that time I've wondered and tried to escalate to armies but found it constantly frustrating I had no real source to study.

I've worked on it for a long time, strangely starting with Economics and Demographics, and around 2008 I got my hands on The Small Wars Manual, the Strategikon, and learned to look at my sources with new light. Economics was my first forensic tool, and after more than a dozen history lectures from the The Great Courses (before the Teaching Company) I at least have a working model that carries into many cultures and eras.

Disclaimer: this is a draft, setting goals or a draft of goals is essential to know if the goals are workable and or the goals can lead to something possible. 

Spiel Draft 1.

What it is like to Adventure in History? Can I ever learn from the great figures in history in how they shaped empires and made life hell or a much better world for so many people? Where does the science of People fit in history?

If your a history lover then the world of the past is as strange, fantastic, and different from our own world to match that of any Fantasy. That we have stirring questions about the human condition that needs answering, and can only be answered by our empathy and passionate curiosity. The role-playing game has evolved to become a powerful tool of exploring the past, people, and our own understanding. I propose an Open Game System that models People (Character Creation and World Engine), and Conflict (Combat, Warfare and Politics) that works on the base line of the real world and can be easily adapted to any condition, era, and assumption.

This system follows the Narrative Design School of RPGs, as it is the lightest system one can achieve to make room for all the other skills one needs to develop when running such a game: Public Speaking, Creative Thinking (Includes improvisation), Problem Solving, Social Skills, and, Preparation and Planning.*

The OGS seeks to give a system with the assumptions and the science built in, while using modern Organizational, Management, and Social Skills that help break down complexity, make it into a challenging, educational, and entertaining set of tasks, and teach us how to apply sophisticated life skills in our hobby for practice, mastery, and sharing.


  1. Open Warfare System that can be played over any other Game System. This is freely available
    1. funding is for improving on the Appearance and Aesthetic.
    2. as well as creating more Visualization Tools. 
    3. Android Apps that will aid in preparation.
    4. I will personally pre-fund each goal to guarantee quality on delivery, hoping to recover the cost from the funding. Anything over the goals go to the next project.
  2. Open RPG System
    1. same as warfare system. while the core system is freely available the art, visual, and electronic tools will be part of funding. 
    2. Many of the tools are System Agnostic focusing on social elements around the character. 
  3. A Gamer Skill Map of all the techniques and skills that may help enhance the game experience.
    1. Apps that help in Various Soft Skill Exercises and Personal productivity hacks.  
* Strategists and Planners will find their time better spent on crafting the world in to usable material instead of working with the system. Thinking in terms of Economics, Environment, and Social Landscapes.
Social focused GM can hopefully just regenerate content and use Creative Thinking skills to create intricate webs in a short amount of time.

Life Skills tends to be the focus of the OGS, that the material comes with various life skills  in how to handle it and make it work for the Gamer, it also asks that the Gamer seek other sources of information - to broaden his world and see more of life like a gamer: challenges they can take on with planning and guile.

As an Open Game System, it is Open to the Life and the Experience of everyone out there. That it will grow and allow personal virtues and strength to have a means to be applied more readily to the real world.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hostility and Confrontations in the Game Table.

 Hostility and Confrontation are non-mutually exclusive (aka the dont have to be both true). Its important to teach people who quickly escalate to Hostile Confrontation the non-hostile option.

Sadly in a recent RPG thread hostile or expulsive action was encourage by 12 out of 17 commenters (not comments) when someone ranted about a problem player. I wanted to correct them, but publish shaming or loss of face does not help things. Correction, no matter how constructive can be a public shaming action and can cause a loss of face: so always do it in private.

It helps to always remember how much of an Asshole I was to give people the benefit of the doubt and another chance. If I didn't think I was an asshole I would be a much bigger gaping prolapsed one.

Often in TTRPGs most players dont know how to make Non-Hostile Confrontation :( but to be fair, if you point it out in a non-hostile and face saving manner there is a 50% (personal annecdote) chance of a defensive reflex that pushes things down hill BUT this can be mitigated in the strategies found in Negotiation Training (Professor Seth Freeman). Where there is multiple actions that can be taken with a low cost of failure and retries allowed.

Yup There are situations where a particular Course of action has LOW-COST OF FAILURE. Some strategies are Probing and allow the Player to adapt his method. There is always a risk for failure, in my opinion I can't see a lot of important situations which have failure being part of 4 out of 5 actions being taken.

In many situation: I can be PISSED OFF, but the minute I lose your my cool and act hostile: I lose. Check out Game of Chicken, like that life or death car game but its not the first to swerve or "chicken out" who loses, but the first who losses his cool.

Strangely a LOT of the techniques when dealing with petulant children apply but modified with adults. With children there is a need to talk, and only when things can be discussed when people are both calmed down. If anyone is lossing their cool, they time out.

"Hey man" (In a inquisitive tone) "Can you give me a chance to talk? (be sure to summarize the idea into 1 simple statement, but preface and end it in a constructive or positive emphasis. This is called aPositivity Sandwich or a Feedback sandwich)

Oh yeah: PLAN IT, rehearse it. Role-Play it with a friend. Its not EASY but the more I practice doing things in this way, the more intuitive the script and the faster and faster it takes to prep and it gets easier. But for RPG players, resolving a matter this way should be one of our strengths. Our empathy engine should be working in the game, and should find it an easy feat of empathy dealing with a real person with real fears and concerns, and vices that piss us off.

These days, when I feel strongly about something I get a warning signal from the conditioning of age. Like in airsoft and in life: I step back and assess the situation. I note again the goals and the pay-offs, and what is the best overall strategy PLUS the *fuck-it* option benchmarks. I'm old and slow, might as well take my time to think through things. I cant take risks anymore the same way as I used to.