Aik's picture

I remember hearing this term, meaning something like playtesting a game while iterating on the mechanics during play?

Does anyone have any experience with it, or ideas on how to make it work? Is it actually fun in a standard RPG-sense, or best off just as a design tool?

James Mullen's picture

I've done a couple of playstorming exercises, coming to the table with no game and hammering out a design right there and then for everyone to play.

I usually start by getting everyone to write down a thematic element, such as 'Robots', 'Horror' or 'Wartime' and either use them all to establish the premise or whittle them down by consensus & voting.

With a premise in place (the two playstorms I lead resulted in 'underground mecha fight club' and 'megacorps power struggles', with some other elements I'm forgetting right now), I repeat the process for game mechanics, like 'six-sided dice', 'relationships', 'resource management', etc. Everyone talks about those and how they relate to the theme, then we'll have a vote to decide the best fit, especially if there are two conflicting suggestions.

After that, it's time to rustle up the game resources, like character sheets, score trackers, coloured tracking chips and so on, then we can play it out and feedback on it. The process usually results in a bit of a Frankenstein's Monster of a game, with bits being cut out of other games and sewn back together, so it ends up being more of an activity in itself rather than a process for collaborative design.

I have also done a guided playstorm, where I arrived at the table with a strong idea for a setting and one or two mechanics, so we can begin playing quite quickly, but then through the session there are points where I have asked the table "What should we do here? How should this bit of the game work?"

BeePeeGee's picture

I do this quite often. However, the goal for me is not to come up with new design ideas. It's more about going into a session completrly open-minded and then come up with whatever serves best the space.
It did howevet lead to some magical play experiences and innovative design ideas...