The Six Successful Game Elements: Part 1 | KingSpoom's RPG Design & Theory Junkyard

The Six Successful Game Elements: Part 1

There are six elements that most successful video games have. I intend on breaking them down, applying them to roleplaying games, and seeing what still fits. The first element is preparation.

Preparation is something the player does before a challenge that has an affect on their odds of success. Interestingly enough, right away there is a difference between video games and tabletop rpgs: Preparation can apply to both your character interacting with the system and you interacting with the GM. The scale of preparation can change depending upon the game. Some preparation is set in stone, usually during character creation, but a lot of it can persist during actual play.

I feel preparation is an important aspect of roleplaying games. Some playstyles have preparation accounting for a majority of their playtime. In fact, it is hard to imagine an rpg without preparation. There can be gaps due to scope, however. For example: When looking at the long-term goal of Rescuing a kidnapped princess, there is usually a lot you can do to prepare. You could ask around for information on your enemy, buy new or specific equipment, or any number of things. A short-term goal of winning the combat you are in can still give you many chances to prepare. Each individual move you make still voices your opinion. Throwing sand in the enemies eye, destroying his potions before he uses them, or deciding who to take out first. Preparation usually breaks down, to a point, on each individual roll (or resolution). Although there are things you can do before you attempt an action, not many rpgs offer you a chance to do specific actions (read: skills) a different way, unless you count GM interaction (usually coupled with a situational modifier for a good or bad idea).

In this element, RPGs are solid. The interaction between the player and GM usually guarantees the ability to prepare, and many if not most systems allow great amounts of preparation (down to the resolution level). I feel as if roleplaying games could benefit from allowing preparation even during resolution, such as offering give and take options, but it is not necessary.

3 Comments:

satyre said...

Preparation: Does anyone remember Ravenloft any more? You encounter the big bad. You research it's vulnerabilities. You arm up. You smite the evil and if you're lucky, you make it out in one piece without too many scars...

seaofstarsrpg said...

I really enjoy research and preparation in games that encourage and reward it. I try to reward preparation and foresight in my campaigns.

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