Been mulling this over in my head for a little while now and I thought I would bring it to the greater masses to get their opinions/pithy dialogue.
Do you feel that RPG's , in particular their texts which instruct us how to play them, should be considered more as a process or a product. A process would be the texts containing the steps and phases of the play which then you attempt to impliment to achieve the real product, a game that cannot be shoved in a book, as people in general are adverse to being rendered into neat bookshaped cubes.
A product would be much more along the lines of the literary thought, where the book is artifact itself and play that comes from that seems almost incidental to the book itself.
Also how do you think these two postions link to the idea/problem of customization? The Problem of Customization, where everyone interprets the rules indivudally and as a result have their own special version of the final product, seems really just a passed down version of the interpretation problems that plague some higher artistic forms (older if you perfer). The Alternative version has the great number of tables being seperated, (but not their indivudal rule text readers ) by the fact that the process is sensitive to who is running it, the context they are running it from, etc. This leads to the subjectivity that seems to predominate thought arround these subjects, (screwed one way or the other)
As a side thought, I often see some advice for indie games to learn from video games or board games, or the like, but this really seems to be blown out of the water by the whole process vs product thing. I find videogames really heavily onto the product side, you buy the game, you play the game as is. There is no necessary layer of understanding and implimenting the game for the user (The Computer does that) that seems rather directly opposed to tabletop/parlour play. Rpgs require a human processor and as a result seem to me at least to be laying at the process side of things. Boardgames seem rather firmly in the middle, (It is much easier for someone to say you are running a boardgame wrong, then an rpg, can this be used as a text for process dependance?).
Either way your thoughts,
Ps, Yes I know I'm setting out a dichotmy, and that in all likelyhood its a spectrum or some such, if that ALL you have to say, forget about it, I just said it.
Pss. If all you got for me are formal argument criticism, you can probbaly shelve those two. Trust me I probably do it better than you, and Im interested in the thought, not that I may have stated it too strongly for formal logic.