Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Bargaining For the Narrative

I've been overly preoccupied
with attempting to stomp out the shortfalls in my political education, so my thoughts are a scattered mess lately.

Browsing through the latest games posted to 1KM1KT (1,000 Monkeys, 1,000 Typewriters), I've noticed that a large majority of them are based around auction/bargaining/storytelling systems.

Less than a year ago most of the RPGs on this site seemed to be centered on the dice-rolling/GM-centric model, filled with tables and stats. Nothing wrong with such a system. I actually find both types enjoyable, depending on your particular aim. I just like to make note of what I perceive to be a paradigm shift.

Anyway, getting back on track, all that political gobbledygook must've short-circuited something, because I suddenly had a strange vision of the UN trading in story tokens in order to suggest changes to treaties, define borders or regulate commerce.

Reading about how the American system of government was hammered out between the founding fathers put me in this state of mind. Especially as concerns that amazing bit of back-and-forth known as The Federalist. Or Jefferson's correspondence.

Politics can often be seen as different sovereign entities vying for control of a common narrative. Of course, the traditional bargaining chips and methods are essentially the usual primate dominance rituals. And with a world growing so interconnected, I think the ability to, at the very least, interpose more equality into the structure should be encouraged.

Let's say you're on a Finance Committee. You get together with the other members and decide that you can make a four-point bill. Each member gets four tokens. Those tokens can be used for different actions: adding a provision to the bill, deleting a provision from the bill, altering within certain parameters. This means that to author a full bill would require several members to work together. There could be measures put into place from allowing an outright killing of the bill. Perhaps spending a certain number of tokens (if the bill matters enough, you should be willing to lay down the tokens).

I suppose something like Nomic, only not so incomprehensible.

I may have to crack open a few of those RPGs and gut their methods. Something to consider as I continue to watch our fine system of checks and balances wither and die as an inordinate amount of power becomes invested in a single branch.

Gimme a break. I haven't played any videogames for a few days.

1 comment:

Patrick Dugan said...

Brilliant stuff man, this is what I'm talking about when I use the term "progressive design", which I've so far only used once: http://kingludic.blogspot.com/2006/04/progressive-design.html