I have spoken in the past about how I think of game design as disability accommodation. It's these gaps in the conversation you are building accommodations for. The thing is that it's not just fictional gaps you have to build for. It's also real-world difficulties like recall, your ability to process a wide range of options, your ability to think on your feet.

It's accomodation in both the literal and metaphorical sense.

One of the things my space whaling game does is address itself directly to those moments of indecision, right at the intersection between the player and the fiction. The points where the GM rolls the dice are expressly phrased as questions:

"Will the ship stay intact?"
"How fares the health of the crew?"

If you know the answers to those questions when you are brought to ask them of yourself, great! If not, you can lean on the rules to help you answer them.

I consistently struggle to run Apocalypse World because of my actual real world disability, but Under Hollow Hills was the most joyful and easy to run game I have ever played.

Why are these games, both by the same author, so different for me?

My thinking as a designer has to extend beyond just the mechanics to how the conversation is inflected by my capacity, and what the mechanics can do to support me in play in the same way that a notebook and calendar system support me in life.

I have a lot of difficulty processing information, and get incredibly overwhelmed when I have a pile of papers in front of me to work from.

So of my design goals is to ensure that each player really only needs to consult one piece of paper. There are multiple reference sheets for the GM, but you switch between them very infrequently, and can tell from a ways off that you are going to be making the switch.

@turtlebird My design goals are very similar. Think I've hit the sweet spot for me -- half page character sheet for everyone but the ref, one page cheat sheet for the ref with prep notes prompted clearly from the rules. 2 pages max for me, half for each other player.


How's things coming with that space whaling game project, since you mention it?

@signalstation major leaps forward over the last two weeks, after about a month or two or aggressively narrowing down the scope. I have about seven or eight buckets to fill with content, the shape already determined, and one dice thing left to fiddle with.

Free time being what it is, I can confidently say: soon!

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