Narrative Control – Episode 80 – Conversations in Design

Hi, and welcome back to the show! This episode sparked from a twitter conversation between Luke Crane and I about design intentions. To hack or not to hack, Conversations in Design. Luke had thoughts. An hour of thoughts. Check em out! Note: This is an explicit episode.

Host: Sean Nittner

Guests: Luke Crane

Length: 1:08:21

[00:28] Intro to the show – Interview with Luke Crane.
[01:16] Luke prepared for an interview and to say things he probably shouldn’t.
[03:03] Design process. Different when you’re working on a game and when people are playing it.
[03:35] Luke’s History of Hacking.
[07:40] Part of the hacking culture is the belief that games don’t work as written.
[08:01] Difference between expansibility (developing products for a game) hacking (changing the rules)
[09:35] Design intent for Burning Wheel – Make the system shoulder the work.
[14:37] “If the game can do the heavy lifting, it should.”
[15:04] The anatomy of Burning Wheel – See diagram below:

[16:27] Burning Wheel Refined – A very compact and tight game. “If you find a place in Burning Wheel where you’re fighting with the game…you’re playing it wrong.”
[18:08] It’s very difficult to have a conversation with Burning Wheel.
[21:05] Nobody has thought about Burning Wheel as much as Luke has. Three people made sudden insights that helped the system: Ralph Mazza, Kenneth Hite, and Thor Olavsrud. And those prompted the change form Classic to Revised.
[26:16] Burning Wheel path to expansibility – Trait votes!
[27:57] Burning Wheel is a heavy brick of game design… Apocalypse World was designed to be hackable! Fate has the same ethos. Designing for the culture!
[30:15] But… they have captured the audience so well that it stymies design.
[31:52] People are still making D&D clones… so making a product that is hacked isn’t anything new.
[32:30] Apocalypse World and Fate Core raising the bar for fledging game designers, but also creating a paper ceiling.
[38:20] Vincent Baker designed all those game.
[39:39] Discussion about the playability and enjoy-ability and good that has come out of Apocalypse Engine and Fate games.  Not about whether it is fun to play or not.
[41:28] The state of RPG design in the aftermath of Apocalypse World and Fate in 10-15 years. Right now were playing with the new bounty we have.
[42:47] Frustration of developing in the shadow of Vincent [and Fate].
[44:18] The games have given Luke a new perspective on Burning Wheel and a new appreciation for it. BWHQ manifesto includes that we’ll never make a popular game and that’s okay.
[46:40] Fate*World. Yep, it exists. Ryan Macklin posted it.
[47:30] What is Luke looking for in the future from other designers?
[49:54] The secret history of why this podcast is named Narrative Control. #notasecret
[50:19] Value of expansibility content. New adventures, settings, new systems for specific uses. A plug for my own development of Stone Dragon Mountain
[55:05] A gift for Vincent from Luke. Two soaring birds.
[55:12] Board gamers are very good at articulating the components of their games. RPGs aren’t distilled down that quickly.
[57:17] The political discussion about games is counter-productive.
[58:08] RPGs are hard to talk about. They are on the cutting edge of “what is a game”?

Direct download: NC_Episode_080.mp3