Friday, December 3, 2021

2-3 hour games: Players help each other and the GM

This is a part of an ongoing reflection of running games when you have very little time left because of real life. 

Games are primarily a conversation, particularly the player narrating something that engages them strongly. Placing their character in a situation they are strongly conflicted about: it is not just something they like but something where their character has stakes and but their character's personality (人物性格)and history/background (来历). 

This means that in a 2 hour session, the GM has to set up something that will get the Player to engage and narrate. 

If you've tried to control meetings and realize topics tend to be uncontrollable in scope. Meetings with substance that cannot fit in an email are 1.5-2 hours long.  We talk about concepts as dense as world-building and character history and motivation in most Biz Analysis meetings. 

So how do we prepare for such games? Again the principle of a PLAN tells us if we are need to change what we are doing means we write down the inputs, actions/processes, and outcomes we intend.  So we write down our plan for each player and ideally arrange that in a MAP or Diagram. 

On the diagram we map the 3 phases of the adventure (expectations/set up, the conflict/violation of expectation, and the outcomes that pay-off the players). 

A box/process (in chinese process can be translated as 经验,经过,to go through is easily confused with the concept of experience) we name this our PCs/Players and place them working backwards from their outcome to conflict and what input or expectations will trigger a particular experience in the player. 

 Keeping it Simple. 
Just write the Hook or the Outcomes for the Players and their Characters. Someone wants to feel heroic and tough, someone who wants to feel smart, someone who wants to feel charming, etc... know what each player wants to feel to get them into the adventure. 

Then helping them get there. This doesnt have to JUST be the GM - get the players to psycho-analyze each other, this also helps the GM by making the players already know some of the plan to get another players pay-off and helping it along. The Players all help each other get to their character's pay off, not just the GM. 

GMing with a strong improvisation and trying to buy in a PLAYER is a lot of emotional labor, the GM has to arrange it that other Players help in the emotional labor. It is incredibly wasteful (inefficient) when the GM buys in each player - like he or she is performing some service - its the group and all the other players playing along and getting everyones characters into position AS well as helping the GM pivot or improvise when the conditions change.   

Lets not just have fun, lets help each other figure out how to have fun. 

Specific Actions: 
  1. Give the GM feedback on their observations what would make another Player enjoy the game. 
  2. Give the GM options how a scene will play out and its consequences that push the story towards the GMs intent. 
  3. Perform Actions that help other Characters enjoy the game more: ask them for aid, give the Character a reason to help or participate. 
  4. Tailor a scene or situation (framing) it favorably to the target player. 
  5. its ok to be transparent that the GM is trying to get them to THIS conflict or scene, how we get there. 
  6. Hangout just preparing for the game, earlier or after session to help make the future games better. 

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