Summer 2017: I am seeing people having loads of fun with the new Swedish hotness. Yes folks, it’s not been that long since the Swedish invasion of quality gaming. I mull over the game, wondering whether I can be bothered with a game that leans so heavily on it’s lore and background. I ponder for a while and then, in a moment of spending madness plop down nearly £40 on a whim.
I really am a big fan of Herzberg’s Two Factor theory. There, I’ve said it. The idea that there are things (called Hygiene Factors (HFs)) that cause you dissatisfaction and stop you from being motivated, and others (Motivating Factors (MFs)) that cause you to be motivated seems obvious. Add in that simply eliminating the HFs doesn’t lead to motivation, and having lots of MFs doesn’t over-ride the HFs and well, it just makes a lot of workplace activity seem obvious. The colleague who cannot seem to go beyond the fact that someone gets paid more than him? The worker who is obsessed with how complicated changing a password is? Both are struggling with HFs that need to be dealt with.
But what does it have to do with gaming?
The first proper playtest of Duty & Honour v2 has come to an end and now I have a mountainous pile of notes and ideas to wrangle into an actual game text. Gaz, Martin, Andrew, and Guy did an amazing job of not just playing a great game, but also providing great feedback, ideas, and analysis. So much analysis!
But Neil, I hear you cry in my mind’s ear, why does a game that has been out for 12 years need such a rigourous going over? Surely just a lick of paint, some new art, sorting out that Measures issue nonsense, and a quick Kickstarter and you can fund your retirement?
In my last article, I talked about the various types of power and how you could use them to accentuate a PC’s presence in a game or abuse them to undermine the role of the same PC. This time around I’m going to go down the more controversial path and talk about power amongst the players at the table. I’m pretty sure this is going to push a few people’s buttons, but we have to be honest and admit that gaming tables are not a balanced nirvana where all things are equal. There are always imbalances, and I would argue that we can model some of them on different levels of power at the table. So take a deep breath, read charitably, and here we go…
Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts. Perhaps the fear of a loss of power. —John Steinbeck
Following on from the surprising popularity of my article on Player Character Commanding Officers, an article that dipped its toe into the murky waters where management theory and gaming intermingle, I thought it might be fun to do a couple of follow-up articles. Let’s examine ways that the things you learned in GCSE Business Studies might be helpful as a framework to think about gaming activities!
This first piece looks at power – what it is, where it comes from, and how we can examine it around the gaming table, both in-character and out-of-character. It’s inspired by some comments from @NarrativeEscapes, one of my wonderful gaming group. I would recommend checking out his website and youtube channel.