Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Cultural Connections

Thanks to Yehuda for getting me thinking about this.

As I've been saying for a while now, community is everything. Part of any community is its culture. With gaming, the culture comes from mainly from the sort of players who like the game. To some extent, people like me can stress aspects of the game, and have a *minor* impact on the culture. Really, our job is to guess what the game's culture will be and try and accomodate it. If we guess wrong (and I think we did, at first) we then change our strategy and try again (which I also think we did.)

What is Clout culture?

Take a Stand - You play the game standing up. It doesn't really say that in the rules anywhere, yet people gravitate naturally to a standing positition. It even bothers me when people try to play sitting.

Playmats - As much as we tried in the beginning to avoid dictating the size and type of play surfaces, fans have really embraced the playmat as "the way" to play. Who are we to argue?

Fun vs Competitive- Playing Clout should be straight up fun, win or lose. This is something we've tried to stress from the very beginning. It's why CLINCH is more a collector's hobby than a ranking system. It's why there are up to 7 winners of every tournament, by faction. Also, the physical nature of Clout makes it hard to adjudicate. By relaxing the stakes, people are less likely to cheat and less likely to grouse about honest mistakes. Still, judges must do their best to make sure everyone is playing correctly!

Open Formats - This ties to the Fun issue. More and more, tournament organizers are writing me with different Clout formats they'd like to try, and asking me if it's okay. My goal: Get across that folks don't need to ask. The answer is always, "give it a shot, tell me how it went!" This isn't Magic: The Gathering. The stakes are low and if you're taking the time to run a tournament, you can call the shots. If it doesn't work, you don't need me to tell you. You'll know. As the tournaments grow larger, wacky formats will be tougher to pull off, but I hope folks keep trying them. Also, as the need for intro events starts to wane at cons, I can start replacing them with alternate format games.

Inclusive vs Exclusive - We know that every fan of Clout and every Venture Team member makes the game stronger (with hobby games, bigger IS better.) We all work really hard to make sure players know they can tell us what they think, and if they're right, we'll do what we can to act. When the game first started, very few players sent me their comments and opinions. I assure you, that's no longer a problem. =-)

There is a lot more, and I'm a bit sheltered from the kitchen tables and gaming stores where most of the games take place. As Clout culture grows, so will our community. I hope we can avoid yelling "BANZAI" before each tournament, though.

What is special about your local Clout Culture?


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