Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Promotion of Participant Investment

Whenever possible, I try to add elements that work to further draw in the attention of Participants during a skill centric game session. Props are a fun and relatively easy way to do this. I've found that thrift stores are a treasure trove of strange nick-nacks and oddities that can bring a game world to life with physical representations of various items. For those crafty types, a piece of sketch paper, a gel pen, a sponge and some black coffee can be turned into a mysterious map scribbled on a piece of old parchment. A paper towel roll with some electrical tape and a few markers can become a scroll case containing an eldritch spell to awaken otherworldly horrors.
A key component to using tabletop role play as an effective tool for skill acquisition is the promotion of Participant investment. The greater the Participants investment in their characters and the events in which those characters find themselves, the greater the desire to see those characters succeed during play.
Humor is another fun way of getting the Participants involved in the game. Where as physical props bring a piece of the game world into the room to be experienced, humor is more a matter of atmosphere and can have little or no relation to the events of the game itself. Sound boards for example are a great tool to bring a bit of comic relief. Arnold Schwarzenegger one liners are a favorite of my gaming groups, whether the genre is medieval fantasy, science fiction or Lovecraftian horror; though anything silly will do, the more over the top the better. Many such sound boards are available for free download online for tablet or phone use.
As a Game Facilitator seeking to teach life skills through tabletop role play, a critical concept to keep in mind is this: To entertain is to teach. The more immersive and engrossing the experience is at the gaming table, the stronger the investment of the Participants in the collaborative story being told.

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