In the past I've talked about solved and solvable games but today I've been thinking about what bothers me about various media and the concept.
Personally I dislike plays and stage adaptations that need to make frequent reference to events off stage. To me it feels lazy and it actively undermines my immersion in the story. The reason I feel this way relates to the fact that each medium has its own set of constraints. They can be somewhat flexible but attempting to break away from them entirely is rarely advisable.
One of my favourite TV shows is Bob's Burgers - it's a sitcom that mostly relies on banter between the existing characters and small-scale situations. Some of my favourite episodes use only a handful of locations. Some TV shows rely on novelty to keep things fresh but ultimately this becomes formulaic and tedious, at least in my view.
When it comes to games with too much scope I find myself unable to engage or confused. Minecraft is fun, for example, but unless I have something specific to work towards I struggle to find any real entertainment in it. Similarly without someone else to guide me through a story the scope of pen and paper RPGs is too broad for me. When asked to imagine something in the context of a nearly blank canvas it's hard to imagine anything at all!
Gorkamorka is a game I find very satisfying both to play and to write for. It's relatively small scale and requires innovation and creativity to come up with fun additions that fit. If one throws the constraints out then why not pay everyone in hugs and have the moon for breakfast? It's just as valid after all.
The reason I started thinking about this was because a nice chap on the YakTribe forum suggested vehicle capacities for Gorkamorka. The line of argument that appears whenever this subject comes up is that everyone's vehicles will end up with huge flatbeds in order to take advantage of the way crew capacities work (passenger capacity = however many models will physically fit).
Let's say we took away that rule and ran with fixed vehicle capacities. At that point what reason is there to field anything but the standardised vehicle models (aside from personal drive to field odd creations)?
No longer does it matter how big a vehicle is - it might as well be as small as possible. Tactically that would be advantageous after all (and that's the line of reasoning that was originally posited).
Earlier I was talking about working within a medium's constraints. In this case the constraint in question is vehicle size. A larger vehicle is more difficult to manoeuvre and a much larger target. A small vehicle can't carry as many passengers. Both choices have their advantages and disadvantages. It creates a fixed space within which to operate forcing players to make choices and innovate.
One could even imagine it as a graph!
If one removes the capacity dimension then one might as well aim to minimise vulnerability.
Personally I prefer to encourage players to explore the medium as much as possible. I'm always happy to see innovative approaches that had never crossed my mind - it's something humans are remarkably good at!/