Thursday, August 26, 2010

Modes of Madness

If I were to tell you that I decided to start a blog out of sheer boredom I would be lying. I’m currently running two role-playing games, assembling and painting my Space Wolf army while still having time to play, trying to get a commissioned model painted, and trying to beat Starcraft 2. That’s without mentioning all the things I ‘should’ be spending my time on; like working out and trying to learn internet protocols. The reason I decided to start a blog is because I have ideas, observations, and opinions that I would like to share. If all goes well then I will get your perspective on these ramblings.

This is a blog about gaming in its various forms. I have been playing role playing games, table top games, video games, card games, and board games for the majority of my life and therefore I believe I have a somewhat developed opinion of these modes of gaming. I’ve experienced the good the bad and the ugly of the gaming subculture.

I think every gamer, at some point in time, gets this question from someone ‘uninitiated’ in the gaming culture. “Why do you do play games?” The usual response I hear from other gamers, and the one I most often give myself, is that it’s fun. The question I always ask myself after I tell people its fun is “why is it fun?” I think this has to be in some ways related to the games I play and how I play those games. In Ron Edwards GNS theory ( three different modes of gaming are described. I have written them down in my own words below.

• Gamism: Focuses on decision making based on competitive play. Game oriented decisions are based on winning conflicts, defeating enemies.

• Simulationism: Focuses on the exploration of a world that is fully fleshed out with its own internal logic. Simulation is more concerned with whether or not the world is ‘real’ than whether it is balanced.

• Narrativism focuses on the story as the center point of the role-playing experience. All parties involved are co-authors creating

While I think all gamers use all three of these modes of decision making I also believe that most gamers have a preferred mode of decision making. In other words we tend to enjoy games that reward one or two of these modes of decision making. I tend to make an equal amount of game oriented and narrative decisions.

What is it about games that keeps you coming back for more?


  1. I play games until I learn to control my terrible sense of humor.

    I once completely derailed a game session by starting a "use the word ghoul in a song" contest..

    "Sha la la la la la la la la la la la, my brown-eyed ghoul..."

    verification word "quenge", the name of a mysterious Obelisk on a barren plain.

  2. Well I tend to play games that are fun or I can win ... if I can't win I don't play ... like Monopoly.

  3. I play games I can win, in a narrative way, with action.