How can I try to delight them?

edited November 2011 in Play Advice
So it's been said elsewhere that when the stars align such that the GM is "responsible for the fun" (i.e. everyone else can be jerks but the GM has to somehow turn the game into something great) that something bad is happening.

But... there's another thing, which is ardently trying to make a game fun for everyone.

That's what I want to do.

I don't want to talk about my players specifically, but let's assume Geek Social Fallacies don't apply. I'm pulling in a mix of people, a mix of ages, and while I'm getting a mix of styles, everyone is conversant enough in what they like to know that they legitimately want to play my game. I run a game where we play to find out what happens and there aren't very many rules.

I've got their character sheets, with a how they deal with problems, relationships with at least 3 NPCs, how they relate to other player characters, and how they are likely to get themselves into trouble. So a pretty good starting point. Now, given that I have all this, what should I do to delight my players?

Another way of putting it:

How do I go from a good R-map, meaty character descriptions, and some color, to delighting my players?


  • I can't really answer without knowing what your game is? Like, are they rambling adventurers seeking their fortune in the wide world? Are they a competitive frungy team plying the spaceways and battling for the Triple Crown in the sport of kings?
  • How many players?
  • edited November 2011
    I find that The Daughters of Verona does what you ask, and is very good at it as well.

    And I think that the key feature that makes it so is the section of Truths in the rules. The Truths is a short list of things that we will know to be true. e.g. Since TDoV is a game of Shakespearean comedy, one of the truths is that it ends with a wedding. When setting up a game the facilitator/player with the most dramatic voice reads the Truths aloud so that everyone at the table gets to hear them.

    The truths will get everyone on the same track. Shared expectations, and shared joy from seeing the game progress in the expected direction will make your players delighted.
  • Some context: We play to find out, there aren't many rules (GHOST/ECHO dice variant), and setting and sitch are closest to Perdido Street station. The setting is the shifting city of Misplaced ruled by Queen Amethyst and her seven demonic husbands, in the world of Sidereal, which features shifting terrain (i.e. every few miles is like a seamless-transition-demiplane, and the demiplanes drift and swim among each other like a lazy school of fish).
  • Okay, but what are they gonna do? Why are they showing up to your game? Do they have a goal?
  • The characters are all people in poverty, and they don't have a single collective goal except to survive being caught between the demons/authorities and the revolutionaries that are trying to overthrow those demons/authorities. Individual goals include: Uncovering who killed a backstory NPC, atoning for a criminal past, regaining sanity, ambition to be rich, and fulfilling delusions of being a hero. Oh, and one character is a neurotic robot baker that would like to go back to baking, but the revolution just set up shop in her basement and is threatening to destroy her bakery if she doesn't cover for them.

  • Posted By: Ryexcept to survive being caught between the demons/authorities and the revolutionaries that are trying to overthrow those demons/authorities.
    Ah, there we go.

    Their delight will come in demonstrating their wits and prowess out of impossible situations. So start with a simple impossible situation: the authorities have trapped everyone in a building and they're searching it for a dangerous fugitive. The fugitive doesn't exist. Whatever they decide to try works.

    After that, proceed to different impossible situations and you'll be good to go.

    The initial delight is one of introduction - aha, this is why I'm here! This is what we're going to be doing!
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