Narrative Control – Episode 8 – Pacing

Pacing in games. Justin and I talk about mechanics and techniques we have used for pacing our games. These range from dice mechanics, to actual timers and at the end a discussion of player created urgency in the Sons of Liberty.

Hosts: Sean Nittner and Justin Evans

Length: 30:20 Minutes

Liner Notes

[00:30] Show Introduction – Pacing Mechanics.
[01:24] bumper.
[01:42] Definition of Pacing. A couple useless ones first.
[02:00] Controlling the urgency in the game upping the stakes.
[03:19] Preventing analysis paralysis and encouraging immersion.
[03:47] Pacing built into most games, usually in combat systems. Something we are all familiar with.
[04:32] The same hit point system most gamers are familiar with from Dungeons and Dragons are used in Burning Empires to represent Disposition.
[05:47] Situation: Disarming a bomb in Spirit of the Century. Creating pacing for a non-combat conflict to create urgency.
[07:48] Another SotC mechanic extended skill challenge.
[08:15] How Justin used an extended skill challenge in a Firefly game to represent the race to find an outlaw before he was caught by a bounty hunter.
[10:42] Using props as a visual aid to represent margin of success and chance of failure.
[11:11] Skill Challenges in 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons are very similar.
[12:10] This form of pacing comes form game mechanics.
[13:00] Bringing in outside elements. Sand timers, egg timers. Not giving players enough time to analyze all the information available.
[13:50] Introducing a mini game as a spotlight moment.
[14:45] How Justin escalated things even further, causing distractions.
[15:58] Potential backfire? Does this still work if the characters fail?
[16:37] Using a timer in My Life with Joker to trigger random events.
[18:24] Ding! Ding! Ding! A bank blows up!
[18:57] An extreme example in John Wick’s Play Dirty.
[19:44] Applying the mechanics as in game effects. In a Matrix game “Time is always against you.”
[20:49] Doom in Roanoke. Affects narration of end game.
[21:42] Sean was disappointed there wasn’t more doom.
[21:52] Pace set by the players in Sons of Liberty.
[28:54] Pacing is game agnostic. Try it out.
[29:04] Another bumper.
[29:09] Show Recap.
[29:50] Let us know what you think:

Dungeons and Dragons
Burning Empires
Spirit of the Century
My Life with Master
Play Dirty
Sons of Liberty

Direct Download: NC_Episode_008.mp3

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