Monthly Archives: May 2007


Here’s a lesson from the sales floor- don’t prejudge others.

When you’ve got hundreds, maybe a thousand dollars riding on the line, it seems like common sense.  Shouldn’t you be nice to someone who’s different than you, and reach out, and get to know them?  That’s how my business works, but you hear stories of people who want to buy, but don’t get tours.  Maybe the look bad, smell bad, or they’re a minority.  I had what was probably a lesbian couple yesterday, and later people were snickering to me about them.

Get over it.  Yeah, someone’s different than you.  They might still surprise you and help you improve your quality of life- maybe they just reveal a different viewpoint or new experience.

Even skilled sales reps, who are proud of their ability to connect to anyone, can fall prey to this instinct.  A few weeks ago, a speaker from the company came to talk to us.  I (loudly) responded to one of his questions, to which he said, ‘look at that emotion!  from the quietest person in the room.’  I smiled and said, ‘you obviously don’t know me very well.’  That got a laugh, and surprised some of my co-workers who hadn’t met me much.

The Problem With Dogs in the Vinyard

I’ve recently been running a game of DitV, widely regarded by many as one of the best indie games in existence, and certainly one of the most well known.  However, there’s something that’s been bothering me about it:

I don’t think it handles multi-participant conflicts very well.

Dogs, like many Indie games (Burning Wheel comes to mind), has a very intricate, very themed conflict resolution system with many options and nuances.  The dramatic impact from Dogs comes out very tensely in the conflicts- however, this really only holds true for one on one conflicts.

When one has a multiple party vs. one person (or to a lesser extent, multiple party vs. multiples), the tension and dramatic impact is lessened because the side with more members is practically assured of victory.  PCs team up?  There’s no challenge, and very few conflicts that escalate because they’re over so quickly.  A game of Dogs without escalation is practically no game of Dogs at all.

So how do we solve this?  Split the party as much as possible, keep them isolated, keep the conflicts personal, and drive towards inter-party conflicts.  But that’s a game-play solution, not a systematic solution, and the mantra of indie games comes to mind: System Matters, and it appears with repeated playing that the system of Dogs needs major work for a very common type of conflicts.