The authorial tradition of game design is about the creation of published games. The bardic tradition is about local and situational purposes in designing mostly unpublished games (some of which may later be published).

@paulczege So is most play actually bardic, where we fill in the gaps and hack at the table for our local group?

As long those acts have local and situational cultural purpose they're bardic design. If they're just interpretation for purposes of usage then no. Your Tekumel stuff is definitely bardic design.

Bardic design is still design. It uses created material to express a vision and achieve cultural outcomes. Receiving cultural outcomes still takes work (filling gaps, etc) but it's not design.

@paulczege I would guess in bardic design you would see rules engaging in more uncommon work then authorial? I know games like The Clay That Woke, Empire of the Petal Throne don't follow that.

@paulczege Intriguing. You've defined bardic with reference to certain 'purposes'. What do you think the 'purposes' of authorial are? Presumably not just 'to have a published game'—that would seem reductive and uncharitable?

Authors and bards are creators with cultural purposes. For bards those purposes are local and situational.

@paulczege OK, I think that clarifies it a bit. Is it a question of authors thinking in broader scope, targeting a broader audience, etc?

Publishing is a different mechanism for cultural purpose. It hooks into culture in different ways. There's reviewers and critics. It uses different means to get under people's skin. If you're focused on publishing your designing is just different, uses different means, than if you're designing with local and situational purposes.

@paulczege the Internet tradition of game design is like the bardic one, only you throw stuff up online and see what sticks?

Sign in to participate in the conversation

A Mastodon instance for tabletop gamers.