Rule Zero: Are the players having fun?
When you're playing game, it's pretty easy to tell when Rule Zero is being broken.
How do you know if a player isn't having fun? They'll tell you! And if you don't listen and make some changes, people will just stop playing. As a group you can decide to come up with a better process to make the game run smoother, skip over the more tedious rules, or make up a house rule to avoid the anti-fun situations that the designer didn't consider.
But when you're a game designer trying to anticipate how your game will be received, you quickly become aware of how subjective "fun" can be.
It seems too obvious to even need writing down, but different players will have fun in different ways, even while playing the same game. Some people like complex rules systems for the strategic choices they provide. Other people love gritty, difficult scenarios for the challenges. Still others can only have fun when they're winning. The things that you find tedious in games can be the things that other people get the most value out of!
It's hard for a game to be all things to all people, but as a designer it's important to consider the variety of ways players can get enjoyment from your game. The <a href="http://socratesrpg.blogspot.com.au/2006/01/what-are-power-19-pt-1.html">Power 19</a> is a series of 19 questions that game designers can use to make sure they have given consideration to the wide variety of different ways that players will experience their game.
So what is Flashback About?
Flashback is a next generation RPG that rewards players for developing characters and building stories. <br> <br> In a traditional RPG, one player is the GM who takes an active role as the storyteller and the player characters are expected to passively work their way through the pages of the GM's narrative. Traditional RPGs don't place much value on the connection between the characters and the story, which makes their personalities feel one-dimensional and makes the plot seem shallow. To distrupt this pattern, Flashback takes inspiration from TV shows, movies and theatre: the GM is a "Director" and the players take on the role of "Actors".<br> <br> In Flashback, you play the role of a character within a Scene the Director presents. From this starting point, all players have full agency over their characters: The gameplay is designed around a "Yes, and..." improv process for describing how the Scene evolves. When players disagree about the outcome of an action, the game provide simple conflict resolution rules to keep the plot moving along. <hr> <h2 class="subtitle is-2">Ongoing Character Growth</h2> At the heart of the system is the eponymous Flashback mechanic. <br> <br> Instead of making character backstories a footnote in the rules, Flashback's titular mechanic makes every die roll an opportunity for character development. In a crisis situation, players can spend their experience to grab the spotlight and tell the group about their character's past and how they gained the critical skills that will help them get them out of danger. <br> <br> This continuously rewards players for coming up with innovative, deep and complex characters: each Flashback is an opportunity for the player to introduce: <ul> <li> Past jobs, hobbies and experiences,</li> <li> Family members and friends,</li> <li> Old enemies and allies </li> <li> Long lost heirlooms or secrets </li> <li> Hopes, fears, dreams</li> </ul> ... All of which are fuel for the Director to enrich future scenarios and plot arcs! <hr>