So I’m a classic design sort of player, GM and adventure writer and encouraged by a friend I decided to take a look and try my hand at the ongoing Trophy design contest. Having read the rules for Trophy and Trophy Gold (I understand Gold better) and mulled them for a day or two now I’m fascinated by my own confusion.
Not so much at the rules - it’s rules light after all, but at the unspoken assumptions of play. What’s expected of the GM and accepted by the players as within good play. The goals, the play ethics and design principles are all very different. The lack of maps or meaningful spatial elements for starters.
I don’t mention this to complain about Trophy or the design tradition it comes from, but to humbly acknowledge my own lack of understanding about it, and in that reflect on how little we know about the games other people play. I’m going to finish my Trophy submission (heck it’s almost done now), but I’m sure it’ll be a clumsy one simply because my natural concerns in adventure keys are space, time, lighting, and interrelation - which aren’t what the game is about. What I’m also realizing is that for the play styles I do understand it’s even more worthwhile to provide simple explanations to folks that are coming from something else. Not just about the procedural aspects of play but the whys behind them. Why is encumbrance important, why might you roll 3D6 stats in order, why is fudging die rolls to save PCs bad, why are maps important.
Has anyone else experienced this sort of bemused confusion trying to understand how a novel style of game is played? Not about the rules or mechanics but about the intent, play style and expectations for players/GMs?