[Do] The Grid of Caring

Mark Sherry and I were talking about destiny in Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. In this conversation, he made some big observations, which I'll condense below. He begins...

"There are two ways to view the Destiny mechanic in Do. The first is the way that you seem to view it: you have a desired outcome for your character, and it might lead you to make suboptimal choices in choosing stones in order to obtain it. The way I viewed it was that your Destiny was an emergent detail, informing you of your character's ultimate fate as an outcome of the (sometimes hard) choices you made earlier."

To which I reply, "And you really can play it both ways. My preference is the former, but you can easily play in-the-moment and still get an interesting ending for your character."

Mark continues, "The latter is how I tended to play, and analyzed the game. I want to be surprised by the ending.

"Part of it is that that I didn't find that the things that Destiny modified really affected how I played. Having a different banner or avatar wouldn't have influenced which set of stones I chose, so having Destiny modify one of them at the end of the round was viewed as more of a flavour customization matter, making it easier for me to tell a story, but easier to get a happy ending, or a desired Final Destiny. Similarly, Final Destiny affects nothing, since it's explicitly the end of the game."

"Metaphor hit!" I interrupt. "The journey is more important than the destination."

Mark continues, unfazed. "There's a 2x2 grid of caring. Care or not care about destiny; and care or not care about parades/pitchforks.

"If you care only about destiny, or care about destiny more than parades/pitchforks, there's no more game. Just pick the appropriately coloured stones each time and you can't lose. The danger is that other people in your group care about parades/pitchfork since you're sabotaging the group's goal for your private goal.

"If you care only about parades/pitchfork, the game has challenge, and destiny outcomes are just interesting results/obstacles to make your game more interesting.

"If you don't care about either, why the hell are you playing?

"If you care about both, then the game is even more challenging. Your goal is probably to get as close to a parades ending as possible before focusing on destiny, hoping you can then get enough stones of the right types to satisfy both goals."

Yup, that's a very good summary of Do's gameplay. Beneath all the silly troublemaking and whatnot, there are some basic motive-engines that drive the game towards some kind of endpoint. The flavor of which depends on your whims and their interaction with the other players' whims.


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