Planning a Let's pretend game : games of make-believe : role playing games as devising theatre.
Janse van Vuuren, Gerhardus Petrus Benjamin.
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This dissertation seeks to formulate guidelines for the construction of a Let's Pretend game in order for a group to create a collaborative narrative through pretend play. A Let's Pretend game would provide a system for a performance event in which players are able to enter an imaginary world, take on roles in such a world and take actions in these roles. For this a Let's Pretend game should have a structured system of play; the structure for narrative in an imaginary environment; the means for participants to collaborate; and the means for participants to direct themselves. The practical component of this research, The Foreshadowing workshop, combines the role-playing game and a devised theatre workshop into one process. In this process the elements of games of make-believe can be identified. Bernard Suits' theory on games of make-believe identifies the prelusory goal, lusory means, constitutive rules, and the lusory attitude as the basic elements of a game. The guidelines for a Let's Pretend game can be derived from the conventions of the role-playing game and devised theatre workshop. These guidelines would address all the requirements of a Let's Pretend game, except self-direction, which is not available in the role-playing game, or devised theatre workshop. For self-direction, guidelines are derived from Bernard Suits' notion of the game as institution through the process of rules clarification. The primary guidelines for constructing a Let's Pretend game then are: that the game structure should foster fidelity to game world specifically through the imaginary roles. The character creation process should allow these roles to be the focus for action resolution. These roles should be able to develop through interactions and these interactions, as dramatic moves, would determine the plot. The structure of the game should further foster collaboration, be easily learnt and transferred, allow for the negotiating of rules and most importantly afford all players access to the directorial function. This dissertation, however, does not attempt the construction of such a Let's Pretend game. This would be the subject of future study.