The Six Successful Game Elements: Part 2 | KingSpoom's RPG Design & Theory Junkyard

The Six Successful Game Elements: Part 2

The first element most successful video games have is preparation. The second element is a sense of space.

Identifying and establishing a sense of space can be a difficult task. Essentially, all a sense of space really is is the confines in which gameplay takes place. For a game like chess, the sense of space is the 8x8 board. A game of monopoly, however, includes both the board, and the social relationship between the players. When you try to identify the simple concept of a sense of space to RPGs, you see that it is a large aspect of the game.

Although many roleplaying games don't have rules for it, there is a large social aspect to the game. The sense of space can be hard to gauge without rules. Does giving the GM's car a jump affect what happens in the game? Does buying snacks for everyone affect the game? Does being a jerk affect the game? All of these things affect the atmosphere of the game and how much fun you get out of the evening, but they can also affect the actual happenings of the game depending upon your group. Ever have a player try to open up a business or gather an army in a dungeon crawler-style game? That's probably because he didn't understand the sense of space.

Without a sense of space, players can really misread things. Rules help a great deal with this, by laying the groundwork for resolving the types of things characters will be doing, but they can only do so much. The setting can also help (and sometimes hurt) the sense of space a player has about the game. Experience playing the game, as a group, is very valuable as well.


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Maddman said...

Space is a very interesting way to put it. How much agency will the players have in the game? Surely 'let your players affect the setting' is universally good advice, but how much? Your example about starting a business in a dungeon crawler is a good one - its not that its bad, but it is likely outside the scope of the game everyone else agreed to play.