Game Design: Action, Ply, Turn, Roundon December 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm
“Ply” is a word to describe the actions of a player during their turn. “Turn” is a term that describes a sequence of actions during an interval as it relates to one player. “Round” describes one or more turns that take place among a number of players. “Action” is an instance of play. Action < Ply / Turn < Round
Off and on over the last year (two years?), I’ve had a few opportunities to experiment with simultaneous actions, player-determined turn order, alternating players, with the intent to find the “most effective” and efficient method of handling complex, goal-oriented gameplay. *whew* That was a real mouthful.
Ideally, you have players with a certain, minimum level of game mastery not only paying attention to the turns of their fellow players, but actively participating. I’ve seen it with good players during games of Arkham Horror, but I’ve seen it most in Elder Sign, and it is a very desirous thing to achieve.
Having every player at the table engaged at the same time, working on solving the same problems together at the same time, planning ahead for the next action or turn – that’s the level of cooperation that I’d like to see all the time in my D&D games, and it’s truly an awesome thing to behold. Everyone contributing something.
“Good” players do it naturally, almost instinctively, perhaps because they’ve trained themselves to do it, however I’ve also seen inexperienced players manage it just as efficiently, which makes me think that the right combination of environmental factors can trigger such a high level of cooperation and attentiveness.
I think simple, powerful effects that virtually any player can use on the turn of another player to aid them in the completion of straightforward tasks with explicit pass/fail conditions and clear rewards as found in Elder Sign, is the ideal training ground for effective, inter-player cooperative strategy. Wrap it in a roleplaying game for the win.
That’s exactly it, that’s the game I want to make. A roleplaying game where everyone determines their level of involvement and is encouraged to be in constant communication with the other players. It builds teams and it tells stories.
I think I can do it. I think I can reduce the process to a set of easily-identifiable systems and goals for players to develop operational strategy. I’m going to make it happen.
Look for it. Right here.