MoonHunter Sayeth 20180321


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Famous Gaming Laws, Axioms, and Principles
This is a list of laws, axioms, and strong recommendations from published and/or famous game designers/ writers I have collected over time.

Blog Note:
This post is late because of internet issues at home due to the weather. So imagine it was posted last night.

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The Stafford Principle: Maintain a sense of wonder in the campaign. Make sure there is always some surprise or something special that makes a session, an adventure, a campaign and your whole world unique.​

Perrin Principle: Be consistent. If you do something once, it becomes a precedent. The players will remember it, and count on it being the same next time. If it’s not the same later, have a darn, good, obvious reason for the players that it’s different.​

Petersen Principle: Make it fun. Don’t be afraid to change a plot to go with player enthusiasm. Try something crazy or goofy, even (or especially) in serious settings. Roll with the mood and make it happen. Be high energy​

Sandy’s Axiom: Involve at least three senses in every scene. These can be described or experienced (e.g. props, incense, etc.). People have five senses, and adding details about weird sounds, the unusual smell or the texture of something adds to the gaming experience.​
The Stafford Principle, Perrin Principle, Petersen Principle, Sandy's Axiom, and Sandy's paradox: all came from seminar I attended at a game conventions with the Chaosium folks going at it. I have heard they have given the same seminar several times and use the same principles. These have found their way onto the net in a couple of places. The principles have found their way into HeroQuest with different wording.

Tucholka’s Law: Players will always do what they want, so know all the world background material well enough that they can never go places or do things that you are totally unprepared for.​
In Fringeworthy (and I think FTL 2448)

Aaron’s Principle I: Always listen to your players. They will constantly be analyzing, theorizing, and commenting on the adventures. Often, their discussions will give you even better ideas than those you have been implementing.​
In StrikeForce, a Hero system supplement

S. Jackson’s Law: If a player has found an exploitable loophole in the rules, congratulate the player on their ingenuity and ruthlessly disallow it.​
I have found this in The Fantasy Trip, GURPs, and on the SJ game site.

Pondsmith Principle: Style over Substance is the Key.​
Let me expand on this by continuing the quote: "I think that a game or anything entertaining is about delivering an entertainment experience. The rules are about the way in which you deliver that entertainment experience. So, you have to have it feel right, it has to look right, it has to taste right, so to speak, which is the style. The substance is the rootstock that makes it into a game, or novel, or whatever, the writing of it. You have to make sure that that serves the style, which is why it’s, “Style over substance.”

Levekius’ Law: Make sure everybody understands that you need to give to get. Nobody can come here and just suck everything without giving back in creativity, time, politeness, money, transport, book, etc. Everybody should invest time and effort in this campaign in one way or another. Flush the people who do not.​

Robin’s Law: If you and your players are having fun, you are a good GM.​
On his website and his book Robin's Law.

Miller's Observation:The purpose of the referee is to present obstacles for players to overcome as they go about seeking their goals, not to constantly make trouble for them. This is a subtle distinction, and one that many beginners have trouble with.​
Marc W. Miller, Marc Miller's Traveller

Sandy’s paradox: Consider any rule absolutely inviolate, until you reach a point where you understand why you shouldn’t break it. At which point, you can break it when you feel you need to.​
Convention Seminar

Fitzpatrick’s Law: Pay attention to your players. Listen to them. Watch them. Don’t let them get bored. If they are slowing down, give them what they think they want, but make them work for it. Let them go on their own paths. Just keep an eye on their responses and be ready to step in.​
Convention Seminar

Wheaton's Rule: Don't be a dick.​

Oh, yes.. One more…

MoonHunter's law: Better games come from better gamers. All members of the troupe should strive together to make the best game possible.​
I think it rattled out in a rant or three on various forums.

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If you know of any more from notable game designers and other famous gamers, add them in the comments.
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