So here are some more thoughts inspired by +Vincent Baker 's recent game theory posts.  Here's the latest with a couple of comments by me relevant to this post:

It seems to me that there are some games which only work if the play group adopts the appropriate attitude.  An example of this is Spookybeans.  In Spookybeans after you roll dice you swap your dice pool with whomever you rolled dice against, usually the GM.  So there's this fixed die economy.  Further, when someone rolls dice you can give them dice from your pool to help them out.  It's important to note that this is purely a meta-game concern.  It's not "helping" in the fiction, it's more like Fan Mail from PtA.

Okay, so there's supposed to be this kind of tension between wanting to see your friends succeed and feeding the opposition more dice.  The problem is that this only works in a social context where wanting to see your friend's character succeed is of value.  If you're the kind of person who enjoys wacky-tragedies like "Fiasco" or hard hitting failing forward games likes "Burning Wheel" this isn't going to work for you.  There's no reason just to sit by let everyone fail, enjoy the wacky spiral and starve the GM of dice until you can snatch what you want at the end.

Spookybeans is not a GREAT game but I don't think it's necessarily a terrible one.  But it does only function if the playgroup adopts a certain attitude toward each other and their characters.  Without that attitude the mechanics don't do what they're supposed to do.

I'm not sure what to call this emotional/social orientation.  I'm not sure to what degree a game can/should rely on a specific orientation.  And I'm not sure how to either (a) foster or (b) effectively communicate what kind of orientation needs to be adopted for the game to function.

And this is why I'm dubious about Vincent's assertion that a game is played "right" if you follow its procedures.  You can follow the procedures of Spookybeans but if you don't apply them with an attitude of, "love your friends and their characters and root for their success" then I'm not sure you've played it "right".
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