Running a Clean Game: What are your hygiene factors?

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Sep 272020
 

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?

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 Posted by at 10:19 am

Power and Control: The Out-of-Character Side

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Sep 202020
 

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…

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 Posted by at 10:38 am

Power and Control: The In-Character Side

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Sep 082020
 

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.

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 Posted by at 8:55 am

Captain, My Captain

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Sep 062020
 

The issue of one PC having authority over another has been something that has perpetuated through RPGs for decades. When I first created Duty & Honour, over a decade ago, it was something that was cited as a facet of the genre that would make it a bad game; something that could only end in disaster. With the recent success of Star Trek Adventures, there are once again GMs wondering whether a table can handle those fateful words “That’s an order!”

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 Posted by at 10:10 am

Mind Your Language

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Jul 062019
 

“DCI Huntley has the right to be questioned by an officer at least one rank senior”

Fans of the TV show Line of Duty will recognise that as the show’s de facto catchphrase and one of the many recurring soundbites that are embedded in the scripts and form the skeleton around which the hit show is built. What I find remarkable is that these noises and phrases are not the catchphrases of the characters or running jokes or puns, but rather procedural language that reflects the setting and adds to the authenticity of the show. This got me thinking about other instances where procedural language is embedded in the presentation of the media that inspires our games, and how can we use it to our advantage.

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 Posted by at 8:43 am