The Goldilocks Zone

At what point does it become railroading?

[I think I’ll call my next kids fairytale campaign that…]

I need rules. I’m terrible that way. Here I am, playing in the Diceless games and knowing, deep in my heart, that I’m a wargamer. It’s one of those situations where I have to go into a meta-level for strategy and even then, story has the power to trump it.

(“No, really, this would totally break their morale.”

“Mm-hmm. How many weasels do you think you can gather in an hour, anyway?”)

I’ve had my rants about players bringing their buy-in to the table. (I think that’s a very mixed metaphor, but I bet you know what I mean.) I am not asking them to meet me half-way. I’m not even asking them to take more than a step in my general direction…

…but maybe I should. A game I ran this last weekend could have been a very serious game that was boistered by the sillies, but the difference between “boistered” and “marred” was the buy-in of another player who maybe shouldn’t have had to make the choice.

I want to know the exact coordinates of the Goldilocks Zone.

  • At what point, what phrase, what statement does it become railroading and not just moving the plot along?

  • How much can you say, “No,” and make it still entertaining and appropriate for your players?

  • When do you set boundaries and where?

I’ve created a new Category for such meanderings.

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