330 The Problem with Examples

Yes, we are streaming tonight at 8pm CT. We’re talking about this…

Player: What can I do?

GM: Well, you could…for example…

And now the player may get caught up with only doing that and not bother looking outside the box.

Thanks to @rayotus for bringing this one up.

Streaming tonight at 8pm CT

Coming soon to podcatcher.

future link

Uh, yeah. That’s GM Tool #2A: Guiding the players. I use examples all the time to help those players with analysis paralysis and (yeah, spoiler alert) subliminally suggest what I want them to do. I’m playing the bad guys here, hello!

I’m actually going through this right now with a new play-by-post game for Pandora. Players get points to create scenes and they’re currently still getting their feet wet in the game and how we’re learning to play it text only. Plus there hasn’t been a lot of history to draw from, so the options are wide open. When it comes to learning a new game especially (and with new subsystems or situations outside of a player’s comfort zone, such as a social scene for a born-to-be-fighter player), players turn to the GM for help and those examples are one hell of a good shorthand.

Game text demands examples. They’re what seal the deal and help solidify the very mechanical text above it. It’s what allows us to lock in what we learned and process it in a plausible situation. Rulebook are just like textbooks but with cooler content - they need to provide examples to help seal the deal and lock that information into our brains.

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