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Game Mastering
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ID: 2036


December 14, 2005, 9:23 am

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Gaming is Like Pizza


From Feudal Japan to the modern Pizzaria, you can learn a great deal about gaming from food.

In Feudal Japan, one of the reasons warriors learned fine arts was to learn new ways of looking at things. They could them bring the new ideas, new patterns, and new processes from their fine art to their combat arts. Many of the florid descriptions found in Japanese combat texts comes from describing draws like setting down a tea cup or swords strikes as strokes of a paintbrush, the opponent being the canvas.

I have been reading a cook book and developed tips based on en mes pleis (French for In Place, the cooking technique of doing all the prep work first then cooking) and how to roast as an analogy on how to create drama for charcters (high heat… then long and slow… then a burst of high at the end). I could see the wisdom in the Samurai’s approach. In addition to better gaming, I can now make a souffle.

So I was highly receptive when I encountered an article that was called “Why Gaming Is Like Pizza”. It is an article from another site. www.atfantasy.com (Highly recomended).

Why Gaming Is Like Pizza

Mark Kibbe of Basement Games

It was a gaming night like any other. I was sitting behind the Referee screen interacting with the players as the adventure unfolded. I had spent nearly two weeks constructing the adventure and, so far, things were going as I had planned. The adventure’s twists and turns had caught the players unaware but they were overcoming some of the more elaborate traps. They had already acquired a fair amount of valuable trinkets but the main treasure was still beyond their grasp; the treasure was goading them onward. We had been gaming for about three hours when Paul chimed in, “Is anyone hungry?” That was our cue. Rain reached for the phone to place our order with the local pizza shop while Scott and I put on or jackets and headed for the car. And while Scott was driving us home and I was sitting in the passenger seat with the pizzas and sandwiches on my lap it dawned on me: gaming is a lot like pizza. Now, you might ask yourself - what do role-playing and pizza have in common? The simple answer is: everything.

Good campaigns, like good pizza, take time to prepare. In gaming, the Referee should think first about the size of the adventure. Small scenarios might not need a lot of time to create while supreme-size campaigns can take weeks to complete. Also, once the size is determined, thought should be given to the adventure, its plots, its hazards, and its rewards. Like preparing a pizza, if the process is rushed or haphazardly thrown together the product might not be enjoyable. It could have a bland taste or a cardboard texture. The more preparation given to the adventure, the more appetizing the adventure will be.

As with pizza, role-playing adventures are better with lots of toppings. The Referee should pay attention to the amount of treasures, monsters, and traps that go into an adventure. The hazards should not be too easy or too difficult for the players’ characters and the rewards should be worth the risk. Also, like with pizza, the adventure’s topping should be evenly distributed over the entire adventure. Overloading one side with too many or too few toppings might leave the remainder of the adventure tasting bland or ordinary.

Creating tension in a campaign adventure is like heating the pizza oven. Just like a pizza needs sustained heat to cook all the way through, a gaming night needs drama and tension to hold the players’ interest. If the Referee fails to engage everyone in the campaign, players may become distracted and lose focus. Keeping the campaign sizzling is the best way to ensure that everyone stays involved. Remember, drama does not always need to be life-threatening but it does need to create a puzzle or predicament that must be resolved.

Appealing to the players’ likes is a good way to entertain them. If a person doesn’t like mushrooms, would you order a pizza with extra fungus? Of course not. They wouldn’t enjoy the pizza. The same consideration should be given when creating a campaign. If your players enjoy a certain type of adventure, cater to their likes. Give them some of what they enjoy. You don’t have to submit to their every whim but giving them something that appeals to their overall tastes is a good way to entertain them. If your tastes vary from your players, split the difference. Like ordering a half pepperoni and half extra cheese pizza, build the campaign the same way. Give them what they like and then expose them to the type of gaming you enjoy. Maybe you can win over their appetite.

2002 by Basement Games Unlimited, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Comments ( 8 )
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Voted KendraHeart
December 14, 2005, 23:54
We are most Amused. -.5x because you didn't write it.

However, the point is very true.
Voted Taxus
December 16, 2005, 11:25
The point is very true, but this isn't anything extremely special, I think. These tips are the same almost everywhere, this just applied them to the near-every-gamer's-heart concept, pizza.

Still, most amusing. Plus, re-reading this things is the way to wisdom and better gaming.
March 12, 2006, 0:43
Give Taxus the kewpie doll. He understands. Rereading things like this help bring things we are doing unconciously to the fore. That way we can better use those existing techniques. Combine that with new techniques and it all becomes better gaming (and writing).
April 3, 2007, 2:46
Hey Moon,
I was wondering what exactly is "en mes pleis" which is definitely not modern french for in place since that is the more simple "en place"? never come across it before...
April 3, 2007, 11:09
The phrase is used in a number of cook books and websites. I don't know if it is modern French, it is an old cooking term.

It defines a process: to have everything cut up and measured before cooking begins. En mes pleis is like they do in the cooking shows, where everything is pre cut and in those little bowels ready to be dumped in. Thus you would do all the prep work before you begin.
Voted Chaosmark
September 6, 2007, 10:54
Mer. Good concept, but I enjoy the ones you actually write better.
September 6, 2007, 18:26
So do I, but I like salvaging good pieces from being lost on sites that might not be up in a few months.
Voted valadaar
April 23, 2013, 8:13
And it does seem that the original site is not to be found. A decent article, though the analogy seems overwrought and in some cases, obvious.

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds


       By: Yokima.van.zephrill

Tämbourine is firmly placed on my back ,to unsheathe this sword I simply have to say "re clouse" meaning come to me or i can just reach over and unsheathe it the old fashioned way. This sword was created to my liking tambourine is made of raw-like metals I found in different regions as I begun to forge the metals together, I’ve noticed that the raw metal materials were different pieces to a wide variety of swords that were used the past and present, being so most blades have a sheer grey texture Tambourine’s blade became black as the depths of the oceans. The blade expands to 6” which weighs 426lbs the sapphire jewel placed on the tip of hilt (upper middle center of the base) it emits a aura texture of purple which weighs 24lbs the jewel is un-breakable it negates magic for tambourine has a mind of its own only belonging to me it finds a worthy opponents who doesn’t use magic or any type of power to their liking which I can agree with(who would want an opponent that abuses their powers to kill for no reason or to avoid dying by honor tambourine fights with honor and accepts its glory or defeat) I’ve named the sapphire Sophia because not only that its rare and radiant it resembles my burning passion for my love Sophia. I made the hilt to be a length of 15 inches its frame is created with fine katchin (very thick and heavy metal) it alone weighs 50 pounds its texture is black like mixture of, I made it to be a cruciform hilt so it has room for two hands. I I made the blades hilt aprox. 2”, the blade is double-edged but the left side of the swords frame can block and or negate ones attack if needed, it weights 500lbs making it nearly unmovable. To go up against this sword is to quickly find your own death. Tambourine is a twin sword to Terra.

Ideas  ( Items ) | February 20, 2010 | View | UpVote 1xp

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