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Play by Google Doc? 
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Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:06 pm
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Post Play by Google Doc?
So I don't know if many of you have used Google Docs before, but I use them every once in a while. They are handy when multiple people are collaborating on a single document. The thought occurred to me today that it might be amenable as a role-playing medium. One of the issues with play by emails/play by posts is that when several people are posting at the same time you get overlap and contradictions. With a google doc you can see who else is editing currently and edits show up for everyone viewing the document nearly in real-time. This might reduce some of the draw backs of the play by post format.

Any of you have thoughts on whether you think this would work out well?

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Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:22 pm
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:36 am
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Location: Aurora, IN
Post Re: Play by Google Doc?
Yes!

My site uses this exact type of collaboration style. Well...not google docs, we use a software that does the same thing, with a few extra features, like tracking and highlighting the new additions and such.

...but I couldn't agree more! A google docs solution or a website that uses similar tools, can really turn a pbem or pbp game into magic. It's basically a living breathing compile and it stops the repetitive actions and spawning of multiple threads that a pbp or pbem, can sometimes be guilty of.

(for example: In a play by email or pbp, every character can be the star all of the time. ONE NPC can ask a question, and every single player can reply to that....and it seems fine. UNTIL someone tries to compile it and realizes...um... this couldn't have happened, and has to decide what question did get answered, and when each one spawns another question, which of those got answered. )

I'd highly recommend giving it a try. Even if it's just to hop into google docs, create a document and invite a couple of collaborators. Just to get a feel for the potential that this provides.

Of course, I'm partial to my website, because the entire site is geared towards using this tool and others for collaborative story telling/gaming. (inserting pictures w/i the document, dice rollers, picture galleries, notes, blogs, etc) ...but I think there are several successful games that use the google docs for running games.

If anyone wants to try it on my site, there's a sand box listed in the left hand navigation column, that allows you to hop in and try it. http://www.nextgenrpg.com

Another similar and pretty cool way to play games for people that like the collaborative style is using a wiki. I don't find it quite as intuitive, but it's got serious potential as well if people don't mind learning and messing around with various wiki mark-ups.

(sorry, this is my particular role playing passion.) *grin*

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Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:20 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:19 pm
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Location: Montréal, Québec
Post Re: Play by Google Doc?
I'll just throw in a different perspective. I think this kind of gaming is awesome and I can totally understand how it works for you to have a coherent document be (one of) the end goal(s) for you and your group, but this would really not work for me.

For me, it's the stuff that goes on in those moments when a bunch of people do things in reaction to a situation. It might not read very well from an outside perspective, but for those in the game, I find that kind of chaos better fosters the immersion and sense of unexpected that is what makes gaming fun for me.

When the gaming is done, I'm not really interested in going back and reading about what happened. It's the past and can be a cool memory, but I want to be looking forward or be in the now with my gaming.

Again, I don't mean to be dissing your style. I'm just throwing up my own counterpoint that will maybe help continue the discussion.

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Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:59 am
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Post Re: Play by Google Doc?
walkerp wrote:
For me, it's the stuff that goes on in those moments when a bunch of people do things in reaction to a situation. It might not read very well from an outside perspective, but for those in the game, I find that kind of chaos better fosters the immersion and sense of unexpected that is what makes gaming fun for me.


The issue I have is that I feel that often it doesn't read very well from an inside perspective either. When a bunch of people post at the same time then you can have different posts that try to take things two different ways for instance. Or maybe you have a post in the middle get barreled over by posts before and after. Then you may have to decide which way actually happened.

The appeal for me is not so much in creating a coherent document, but in reducing the confusion in play.

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Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:42 am
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Post Re: Play by Google Doc?
Good point, Nanobri. I've been playing most of my online games with only two other players, so it's been pretty manageable. When I was a GM I was able to juggle up to 5 and since I am faster than all of them at responding, it never got out of control. I have never played in or run a PBP.

But I can see how that can get confusing for the players and how having an single, shared editable document could maintain a clearer level of control and organization.

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Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:05 am
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Post Re: Play by Google Doc?
walkerp wrote:
For me, it's the stuff that goes on in those moments when a bunch of people do things in reaction to a situation. It might not read very well from an outside perspective, but for those in the game, I find that kind of chaos better fosters the immersion and sense of unexpected that is what makes gaming fun for me.

Again, I don't mean to be dissing your style. I'm just throwing up my own counterpoint that will maybe help continue the discussion.


I T-totally get that. totally.

There is no right or wrong way to game. And it's all about preference.

There is something to be said about the ability to be the star so much of the time. The individualized attention of a pbp can be unparalelled. And the quick back and forth banter with no worries or stress as to tense and reader appeal, another advantage for those that are looking for a great game.

For me, it's the character development and the over reaching story that appeals to me. ...and I sink so much time and effort into my games...that to NOT have a tangible something to show for it, for me would be a shame. (Gawd, I can't even look at my day/hour count on some of those forums - to think of how many days, months and years I've given away to my online gaming.) This way I have a record, a physical something that I can reread and appreciate my efforts and my player's efforts, all over again.

Totally not dissing pbp or pbem, but for those that like creating a story in addition to the game, a google doc solution, wiki, or site running collaborative software, can really really enhance that style of play. I call it story based gaming.

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Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:40 pm
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