Moments of Judgment–AAARRRGGHH!
Vincent is drilling into the nitty-gritty of how Points of Contact work over on anyway.
In his most recent post, he calls attention to the “moment of judgment” that is required when providing mechanical teeth to wholly fictional input. In most traditional games, this often applies when the GM hands out situational modifiers for tactics, weather, etc.
In reading his comment about how many recent games deal with the problem of these judgments being potentially biased by “commoditizing” them. That is, players spend game currency or the like to buy the verdict of the judgment. I find myself drawn to this solution repeatedly.
Why do I commoditize or avoid as many moments of judgment as possible? Quite simply because whenever I have to make them, I feel like I’m wrong. 20 years of playing these games, I still always feel like I’m wrong. If I decide against the players, I feel like I’m being mean or cheating. If I decide for the players, I feel like I’m being a pushover or not challenging the players enough. Even when everyone agrees with my decision. I hate it.
This probably explains why–despite my admiration for the intricate construction of Luke’s games–I failed as a Mouse Guard GM. MG and BW depend heavily on the exercise of the GM’s judgment. And I find that taxing in the extreme.
No big conclusions here, except about my own psyche. And, if you’re interested in RPG theory and not reading anyway, you should!
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Tags: game design