Saturday, August 7, 2010

[In the Game] Creativity

I recently read an article from Newsweek titled The Creativity Crisis. Check it out, it's a good read.

It started me thinking that there are a couple of thoughts (or more) we should ask our gamer selves:
  • “How could you improve this game to make it better and more fun to play with?”
And by more fun, I'm not meaning simply rules refinements or more rules, but also actually improve the fun the players have playing the game. In many games, it seems, we have plenty of rules to cover all (or nearly all) contingencies, why would we need more? Have we fully explored the interactions between players? Would it improve the game? Also, sometimes we play before we play, by adding story that should be done during the game. I've heard several podcasts decry this because it takes away from the actual, boots-on-the-ground parts of gaming. And there are other ways we ask each other "What else can improve this game?"
  • "Are we asking enough questions about games we play?"
How many days do you ask 100 questions? I don't even think I hit 50 on most days. The article states that the kids "lost interest because they stopped asking questions." Are there more monologues in your games or more question-answer dialogues? Do your NPCs give answers or questions to the PCs? Do you question the rules more than the setting or what the players want in the game? I know I've said it, we've all said it - the standard GM's question of "What are you going to do now?" especially after a lull in the action. That question doesn't provide any links to the vast array of possibilities that are open to the players and, because it's so open ended, maybe it leads to an overwhelming feeling there, an action paralysis and a fear of "doing it wrong." Maybe adding qualifiers, new information or just a plain off-hand comment to jumpstart the players to do something seems to be the way to go: "What are you going to do now that you've heard a rumor that Mr. X has bought a warehouse downtown?" Will this additional info get the game moving towards fun? I dunno but I'd hope so.

What do you think? Any more things to do to spark creativity at the table? I'm interested.

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