Crossposted from Story-Games – Moves Complexity

Crossposted from Story-Games – Moves Complexity

Crossposted from Story-Games – Moves Complexity

This is my theory about different kinds of complexity a move/class/playbook/game can have. What do you people think about it? 

“For World games I distinguish between different complexities.

Understanding complexity

How difficult is a move to read and understand. If it has a lot of moving parts it is harder to wrap your head around, especially when it refers to other moves, mechanics, items etc. that people are not familiar with usually. Also moves that make you choose a few things from a list can be harder to understand since you need to compare different combinations of things you can and can’t get to fully get what the move is doing. 

Handling complexity

How complex is the actual process of using the move at the table? A bad example for this might be Druid Shapeshift when it is a new form and now the GM has to come up with moves to give you. Another can be ritual or preparation of your spells. 

In short, the longer you need to spend on talking through the mechanical interactions of a move the longer 

Strategic complexity

How complex is it for you to actually trigger the move? When the move trigger is obscure or vague you might not find (or miss) opportunities for you to use that move. This is related to Understanding complexity but you still could have moves that you constantly forget to apply because their triggers are weird.

Ritual can also be a great example for this because ritual allows you to do EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING is hard to wrap your head around. 

Fictional complexity

This is also a bit arcane. 

How much does having this move change the things happening to you? When you take a move that gives you 2 loyal followers suddenly 2 new characters are added to the game and everyone needs to keep them in mind. If you get a minor godly power people might come and worship you. In a way the story gets more complex because you now have these capabilities. 

It is also strongly related to fictional effectiveness and potentially mindshare effectiveness.” 

3 thoughts on “Crossposted from Story-Games – Moves Complexity”

  1. Kudos for translating this bit of game theory to *world games.

    For a normal game (a game where there is a winning condition) you want low understanding complexity, low tactical complexity (individual moves are easy to master) but high strategic complexity. Such games like chess are deemed to be “easy accessible but deep.” Such games also encourage emergent gameplay with new strategies evolving the whole time.

    RPGs have no winning conditions, the link between tactical and strategic complexity is tenious. That is why I love your idea of fictional complexity. But I do think one needs to look more to story theory than to game theory for RPGs in this regard.

    Definitely a worthwhile pusuit!

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