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December 14, 2005, 9:23 am

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Gaming is Like Pizza

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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 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted KendraHeart
December 14, 2005, 23:54
0xp
We are most Amused. -.5x because you didn't write it.

However, the point is very true.
Voted Taxus
December 16, 2005, 11:25
0xp
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.
MoonHunter
March 12, 2006, 0:43
0xp
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).
dark_dragon
April 3, 2007, 2:46
0xp
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...
MoonHunter
April 3, 2007, 11:09
0xp
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
0xp
Mer. Good concept, but I enjoy the ones you actually write better.
MoonHunter
September 6, 2007, 18:26
0xp
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
0xp
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: Almar

While setting up camp for the night, the PC's are aproached by another group of adventurers who seem nice enough. The road is somewhat dangerous and the other group suggests camping together. The two bands split watches, one adventurer from each group watching at once. The night goes by without incident, the next day the PC's travel with the other group as they are going the same way.

The group consists of Hordel the ranger, who is skilled with the bow. Hordel is a quiet man who speaks little but appears quite skilled. Dremar is a barbarian who is a little excentric, he seems to be an excasive drinker and thiunk that battle is the solution to everything. He appears to be a stout and powerful fighter with his greataxe. Ferrin is the leader of the group, a rouge by trade. He is daft and witty, speaking with the PCs often and asking many questions. He fights with finesse with his rapier. Preminitat as a cleric but he will not say which god he worships. He uses his spells to empower and heal his party and fights with a club. He sticks close to Ferrin. Ferrin is a great talker and tells much of himself and his party, but asks even more about the history and capabilities of the PCs. He tells of some adventures his party has had, and they seem like an interesting group of mercenaries. Hordel is quite and has little interest in speaking with the PCs, he ignores most questions. He spends a lot of time with Dremar and sometimes Ferrin. Dremar seems to not care about any questions ansked to him, nor does he seem to know the answers. He seems battle hardened and is a simple man. Preminitat rarely starts conversations but will speak with the PCs. However, some of his accounts of the party's history seem to condradict those of Ferrin.

The Party spends another night and day with Ferrin's group. One of four things can happen on the third night.
1: While eating dinner around the fire, Ferrin gets into an argument with one of the PCs when he/she mentions the discepincies between Ferrin's stories and Preminitat's.
2: Hordel gets mad after repeated questioning about his life from the PCs.
3. Preminitat gets mad after repeated questioning from the PCs about what god he worships.
4: One of the PCs rejects the offer of a drink from Dremar and he takes it as an insult.
All of these scenarios result in a battle between the parties. If Ferrin's party is defeated and still lives he swears vengance. His party may then cross paths with the adventurers again.

Encounter  ( Locations ) | November 15, 2003 | View | UpVote 0xp


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