Monday, July 18, 2011

Gaming outside the box

In this series of posts I will be going over my thoughts on Narrative gaming; from tried and true mechanics that my group has used for years as well as ideas that are brewing for upcoming games.

Here is a little background for those of you that were not around in the early days of 40k Rogue Trader. Back in those hallowed days 40k was all about the story; it was so deeply ingrained into the game that you were supposed to have a game master. Most gamers back then were more worried about having a great time creating a fantastic story that winning and losing was only a fleeting secondary thought.

So for most of the been playing since 1st ed crowd narrative gaming is as natural as breathing. Oh how things have changed, now with the streamlined rules and tournament hungry gaming culture, narrative gaming has taken a back seat. I’d be willing to bet that there will be gamers that read this that have never played a narrative game of 40k

Narrative gaming means different things to different gamers, but at its core it is about creating a story with your games. This can be achieved in many ways, from a simple objective driven system where each objective has real significance to the actual story. It can also be very elaborate with custom special rules, random events or anything your imagination can cook up.

All you have to do is let your imagination take over and find a fried that wants to have a game where the results create a story.

Did Captain Antillies, and his Knights of Fire purge the traitors from Pergos, more importantly did he survive the engagement?

On Wednesday I will be going over idea about where you can draw inspiration for your narrative games.

Until then……


  1. Great post, and really looking to see where you go with this subject, Big Jim! Yes, I remember 1st Edition. And, yes, I have really enjoyed narrative gaming for 40K (and other games).

  2. Five posts is a feast. Looking forward to this, and hoping it encourages more of this kind of play. Rogue Trader certainly can seem a long way off at times.

    For players who've really never experimented with more narrative play, it might be a step into the unknown, but that's part of what makes it exciting. It's a new challenge, and a little riskier, but also very rewarding and a lot of fun. It can really broaden the horizons and help keep games fresh.

    The best thing is that anyone can do it at any time, and essentially all it needs is imagination. Small changes first, minor tweaks to the rules, then a bit of homebrew, mash-ups and even freeform making it up on the hoof. The thing opens up wide and the potential becomes clearer.

  3. I can't tell you how much I like this post. The narrative of a battle has always been pretty important with the guys that I really enjoy playing with.

    I once tried to incorporate a story with a battle with some of my more 'tournament hungry' friends... it did not go over good. They thought the entire premise was silly and were more worried about the stats of my HQ.

    I look forward to your post on Wednesday!

  4. I too will be looking forward to the next four posts on this subject. I think when the game (or the players) became more into competition than story is when I quit playing and turned to mostly modeling and painting. As an aside...

    I suggested to some folks at my local GW that I would make up a narrative game as an excuse to get my current scratch built titan on the table. I mentioned possible story arcs, affects of different results, etc. Nothing but blank stares. It seems like if you aren't talking about the published stat of a model and how to use or defeat them, no one cares.

  5. Thanks for the comments and support. I hope my posts keep you entertained and are informative!


  6. Great post.
    I had forgotten about the GM in 1st edition. Things sure have changed.