Immediate apologies to the following people:
Anyone expecting a thread about Transformers.
Anyone who might have commented on this idea before: I've not found any discussions, hence the post.
The methods and goals of story games (the games themselves, not the forum) fascinate me. I've always been intrigued by the mechanics of games and particularly in making the rules enhance the story and setting, despite my flirtation with generic systems. Some of the best known "indie" RPGs have very specific, tightly defined mechanisms for things such as social conflict, character interaction etc. and I find myself wondering if we are always best served by making some ofese games RPGs rather than card or boardgames.
It really hit me as I was tinkering (again...) with the system underlying a game I have been working on for a while, one which is intended to force people to face the consequences of their actions very directly, while also giving them compelling reasons to try to keep up a respectable front to the world and handle ludicrous escalations of conflicts that the characters will try to keep hidden. As I trimmed away some of the more cumbersome system elements I had added and started to work on something more unified I realised that I actually had the makings of an interesting boardgame. Thing is, I don't play many boardgames any more (although I used to, before RPGs truly stole my heart) and so I don't actually have much interest in designing one. So even though I am beginning to think that a boardgame might suit my intended goal better I still expect this design to be an RPG.
In our attempts to create formal structures within our games to enhance the roleplaying elements do you ever think we might, on occasion, compromise the design because we want to make an RPG, regardless of whether it is the best form for our intended purpose? Have you found yourself looking at any published games and wishing that the designer had turned it into a different form of game?
The heart of this rambling, I think, is that sometimes the methods used in story games have a very non-transparent structure. Usually deliberately they enforce certain modes of play; indeed, that's rather the point of many of them. Sometimes I wonder if we are being a bit narrow in our focus, rather than looking at the best form of entertainment with which to present our vision.
Or I could be talking utter bollocks, of course.