On Flags; a Component.

First, let me say that I am still awaiting replies for this post,  and that you people should be participating. This is a group effort, feel free to reply to posts, no matter how old. You will note that all posts are visible on the front page, this is to note that all posts are still in discussion. If discussion on an old post starts hopping, I promise to link to it.

Second, it seems that it’s becoming standard fare, but I am still in a sort of a personal haze, so I apologise for the lack of updates. I will try to return to a schedule of at least one post a week, and about three posts every two weeks. You should feel free and are even encouraged to email me posts and post-seeds, which will then be displayed on this very blog.

Third, the next entry is expected on early Sunday, and will be about Gnostigmata (Scroll down to the bottom) and Story. I will talk about Gnostigmata, which is currently in Beta version 6.0, which you’ll all do good to read, and use it to talk about different aspects of Story.

Last, Cranium Rats finally got to version beta 3.0, where efforts at improving readability had been the main concern. If you can find the time to peruse it and give me your thoughts, I’d be thankful. If you’d be able to playtest it, I’d be even moreso.

This post is a direct continuation, or perhaps the post leading to the previous post on this blog, the one about ‘Tunnels’. I will explore Flags, or to be more precise, I will explore their usage, particularly in CSI Games.Flags are tools that allow for better communication between the different parties at the game-table, I think they are of special interest in games where the position of creating the game-world or story is held as a distinct right by a limited number of people, as it allows the players to inform these figures(GM is a good example) of what they want explored in the game.If you ask me who is the person to watch if you want to explore and understand Flags better, I’d say Judd Karlman, who goes as Paka on various fora, you would do worse than to go to RPG.Net and read threads started by him.Anyway, I’ve explained in an ultra-brief manner what Flags are/do, so, what is their use in Competitive games?

First, they act as Demarkation. In competitive games and areas you need to know where is the limit, what is being contested, using what tools and how far you may go. One example if Capes, where the other players do not have to engage in competition with you, but you want them to in order to be able to reap the rewards, so finding out what their Flags are is a key skill to the game, showing you where you need to apply force, because that’s what these players care about; in a way, this is the opposite of Flags, as players may not tell you what they want explored, but try to obfuscate it while at the same time following it and you have the job of pinning it down.

Another option is shown in Cranium Rats, which shows us another method of demarkation. You know what the competition is about, because there are set win conditions which you try to achieve. This promises that people will engage you, because they must if they are to win, or to stop you from winning. The competition isn’t defined by Flags, the competition is defined by the end-terms, the Flags in Cranium Rats are of a more mundane sort, they act to funnel the in-game fiction to align with what players want to explore. This will get more space in our next post.

Flags, especially of the Tunnels variety, may also be what you compete over. Whose story element gets advanced and whose remains unexplored. You probably want to change Flags as the game progresses, especially as older ones get resolved or dissolved (look at Keys in The Shadow of Yesterday), if you need to win a competition of sorts in the game to get a new Flag, then it provides a powerful motivation for players. What is the bigger rush than to define the world and the parameters of the story?

This post was rather bare bones and short, but as always, I consider my purpose to get you to think about things, rather than feed you well-chewed thoughts. Comments are as always welcome, especially if you wish to explore more purposes of Flags, in general and in CSI Games.