On Commandos

"Skilled players always make a point of knowing what they are doing i.e. they have an objective. They co-operate -- particularly at lower levels or higher ones when they must face some particularly stiff challenge -- in order to gain their ends. Superior players will not fight everything they meet, for they realize that wit is as good a weapon as the sword or a spell. . . When faced with a difficult situation , skilled players will not attempt endless variations on the same theme; when they find the method of problem solving fails to work, they will begin to devise other possible solutions. . ."

"Whether the purpose is so simple as to discover a flight of stairs to the next lowest unexplored level or so difficult as to find and destroy an altar to an alien god, some firm objective should be established and then adhered to as strongly as possible. . . "

The expectation of old school play is that players focus on a specific goal and come up with creative solutions to directly accomplish that goal.

I find my experiences at the table with players often differ from this idea.  Time is wasted, players are indecisive, conflict occurs due to poor communication, frustration occurs.

But these conflicts continue to occur, in spite of a dangerous high stakes game. In this era of communication and player agency, old problems reassert themselves. But now that we are no longer children, we can address these problems as adults and come up with real solutions; instead of just creating more and more rules till the game is cut and dried like chess.

"The game is unlike chess in that the rules are not cut and dried. In many places they are guidelines and suggested methods only. This is part of the attraction of ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, and it is integral to the game."

More on classic problems tomorrow.

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