Friday, October 9, 2009

Matrix games and decision-making

One of the interesting points made in response to my last post was, essentially, that whether you have many or few rules, there will always be arguing, and if they aren't about rules they will be about DM interpretation (though in my experience, a larger number of rules has always been accompanied more rules lawyering while a larger number of non-rules GM judgments sometimes leads to more player grumbling, so I think there is at least a qualitative difference between responses at the table....)

This (as often happens in my navel-gazing) has led me to think of resolution systems, which made me think of an old Shadis magazine article on matrix games. With a little digging, I came up with this link explaining the concept.

In short, players can establish a set of supporting actions linking an action to a conclusion. The DM can accept that or counter. Thus the answers can be not only yes or no, but yes answers can be appended with "and" or "but" arguments and no results can be appended with a counter argument "actually, ...."

Removing the formality (what little there is) from Chris Engle's original format gives a simple discursive way of engaging "reality lawyering" in a game play adjudication setting and allows some consistency (or at least a sense of such) to how things are resolved.