Friday, October 7, 2016

Feedback Loops in TRPGs

Asking for constructive critique, taking notes, watching or listening to your game played back, talking to others with other styles, perspectives, systems, and experiences, trying out other systems and techniques.

Back when I began in the late 90s my most clear feedbackloop was my younger brother . Then there were the guys in AEGIS, the SJgames forums (all forums can be a bit difficult), and for a while there was the blog (but it was a very poor feedback loop since it started at around 2003 and 2008 with this blog). Hangouts was the most effective, especially when I could hangout with other gamers with a 12-14 hour time difference and all over the place. Making friends and talking to people who have much to share opened a lot of gates. Then there was the small community of gamers here with Gamers and GMs events and Tagsessions which had connected me to more accessible gamers in my area.

Feedback loops are important, basic, but something thats constantly challenging. We never have enough, have it timely enough, and there is so much to digest, document, think about, and experiment. The blogging community I'm part off is a kinda feedback loop, people shouting ideas into the void and hoping the readers would give feedback. Feedback in blogs focus on readership instead of more inspiration. When I think about the quality of Feedback loop I think in Kal Newports Deepwork and how parts of the Hobby should encourage some opportunities for deliberate practice.

I guess thats why it move to a Forum type or a G+ community. In social media the feedback is more convenient but can be distracting. Distraction and Low Quality Feedback can an obstacle for gaming improvement. Also finding the right audience or conversation becomes the challenge, other time the challenge or real life getting in the way.

What I'm getting with this post I guess is collecting our Feedback loops, Filtering for optimal feedback, and being able to discuss more challenging or relevant topics that get us growing and learning. Also that I grew fastest when I had good feedback, and an opportunity to exercise, experiment, and practice.

After feedback, there is that 5S, Lean work philosophy, or Zen  type element in skills and abilities where we try to achieve more with less. That we boil down to more essential skills: framing, pacing, storytelling, etc... and we refine the feedback loops for us to better monitor and improve on the core skills. That with the least amount of tools we can achieve a lot of what we need to make for a great TRPG experience.

I realized this was discussed in Deepwork, it was on the chapter on Tools. The Pareto principle behind the tools that returns most of the rewards. In this case: the skills that gives the greatest returns and what deliberate practice we can setup to have a virtuous feedback loop to improve this.

Here is my TRPG Skills List  updated with some new entries based on my business studies.

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