Narrative Control – Episode 7 – High Prep vs. Low Prep Games

This episode Justin and I talk about high prep vs. low games and the advantages and pitfalls of both.

Hosts: Sean Nittner and Justin Evans

Length: 29:33 Minutes

Liner Notes

[0:27] Introduction to the show. Zero prep vs. high prep games.
[0:55] bumper.
[1:16] Cage Match! We want two winners.
[1:32] Definitions: Zero Prep games.
[2:21] Example of a zero prep game: Spirit of the Century. Pickup or zero prep? The same thing?
[4:40] Even less prep: In a Wicked Age using oracles.
[6:51] Story starts being developed during character/setting creation. Creates situation and conflict for the GM to use.
[8:10] Definition: High Prep game .
[9:57] May create different player motivations. Instead of directing plot, pursue developing character or find a reason to connect to the existing plot.
[11:00] Foster antagonism between the GM and players?
[12:40] Listening to Have Games will Travel: For a Few Games More. Paul talks about different types of stories.
[14 :44] More examples of low prep games: Universalis. Players sit down with a blank slate and bit on story elements to include.
[15:35] Prime Time Adventures. Pitch session is zero prep. From then on, low prep.
[17:07] Games that include a mechanic to push the story forward. Shab-al-Hiri Roach and Sons of Liberty and Polaris
[18:54] Show Notes (not schnotes, just in case you thought you heard me wrong but didn’t).
[19:32] High prep games examples. Dungeons and Dragons, White Wolf games, Call of Cthulhu and Shadowrun.
[20:04] John Wick’s method for combining low prep mechanics in high prep games: Dirty Dungeon. Method from Wilderness of Mirrors.
[21:11] Win and Fail of low and zero prep games.
[21:23] Win! Low prep games offer a great time savings.
[22:42] Win! Player Buy in. They like it because they built it.
[23:35] Fail. The game could be potentially less coherent. Different players with different ideas about what the game is about.
[24:45] Fail and Win! Investment in the game for both GM and players.
[25:00] Win! Less pressure on the part of the GM.
[27:04] What happens if someone isn’t exited about a game?
[28:33] Try swapping back and forth. Spice it up!
[28:44] Closing notes. Lets us know what you think at or email

Spirit of the Century
In a Wicked Age
Have Games will Travel: For a Few Games More
Prime Time Adventures
Shab-al-Hiri Roach
Sons of Liberty
Dirty Dungeon
Wilderness of Mirrors

Direct Download Here: NC_Episode_007.mp3

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