Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What Makes a Good Player? with Danella Georgiev


Today's What Makes a Good Player? feature is with Danella Georgiev. Danella talks about genre preference and character relationships.

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What do you try to do most often while playing games to enhance your experience and the experience of others?

As important as it is to try to progress the story, I've always found it's more fun -- for me as well as others -- when we hang around between plot points and trade in-character banter. It doesn't need to be long, but a few quips help pace the scene so it's not just action-action-action go a long way. This also builds relationships between the characters... which is really what makes a game an RPG and not just a numeric dungeon crawl.

A lot of times it'll draw out recurring themes and comments from individual characters and develop their personal subplots. It gives us all a sense of accomplishment to look back at the early "episodes" and see the changes.


Do you use any specific play techniques (narrative tools, improv tools, etc.) in your play sessions?

I haven't formally studied creative writing or acting, so I'm not sure, but I do remember (and took to heart) something from my high school improv class: Always Say Yes.

That doesn't mean your character has to agree with every single plan, but even their protests and complaints should try to highlight an alternative solution or motivation to complete a task. If you spend the whole session bickering about why you shouldn't do task the NPC assigned, it's a waste. It's always more fun and more growth to see a reluctant undertaking. Part of this is on the GM, as well; the best quests are ones that are motivated by more than one reason.


How often do you like to game, and what is most comfortable for you to maintain good energy in games?

Most of my group is made of busy adults with a low energy level, so as fun as it is to be in a group of nerds, I find anything over three hours a session to be draining. We're fairly distractable as it is, so if we go longer than that, we'll get really wishy-washy. A few years ago, we had one that was 4-5 hours and it was fun but my butt started to hurt.

I'd love to play a second session a week but we're all really busy. #goals, though.


What kind of games do you feel you are most comfortable with and enjoy the most?

Not sure whether this is a mechanics or genre question, but I like my fantasy and sci-fi very much. It's where I live. It allows you to dress it up with humor, drama, romance, horror, everything. There's a lot of settings to choose from or a lot of places to draw inspiration from if you're going from scratch. Any opportunity to delve into the things original writers/showrunners never did is one I try to seize.

This makes FATE my favorite system to work with because it's so flexible and adaptable.


Can you share a special experience in a game where you felt like you did a good job playing your part in the overall story and game? 

I try to experiment with different roles (in combat and in social interactions), but my favorite was a pissed off elf I played in my very first tabletop. Despite being very contrary, combative, and oppositional, and despite me being new to the experience, I think I nailed the sweet spot between annoying, useful, and thought-provoking. Mechanically, she was great in a fight and did a lot of damage. But I think her presence changed the nature of the game from an adventure to a story about the dynamics of family and upbringing. 

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Thanks to Danella for the interview! I hope you all enjoyed reading.


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