Fiat and a working game

In a previous thread on infinite options, Guy asked me this:

Callan, I’m asking this seriously, because I think you know the answer.

So, how do people sit around and get a working game, even when someone decides to use fiat? How do they do it, not in theory, but in practice?

Let’s clarify ‘fiat’ first. Were not talking about the car. That’s good to clear up. 😉

But more seriously, in game you could have a rule that whether your dex bonus adds to your gun attack roll is up to the GM, on any given roll. It’s entirely up to him. This is often referred to as fiat. I’ll call this ‘choice fiat’.

In a contrasting situation, the rule might be that your dex bonus NEVER adds onto your gun attack roll (this is the rule in Rifts, btw), but the GM declares you add it on (which is happening in the game of Rifts I’m in at the moment). This too is often referred to as fiat. I’ll call this ‘override fiat’.

And since were having such fun with defintions (being sarcastic at myself here, to try and add some humour to defining stuff!), what is a ‘working game?’

Is it a working game where people stay at the table until the end and don’t talk about non table subjects too loudly or too often?

Or conversely, how would you define a non working game, Guy? People leaving the table? Harsh words exchanged? People with arms folded, cross expressions?

I’d say people can be genuinely smiling pleasantly, talking about game book related stuff and interacting, and the game can still not be a working game.

I’d also say that someone can be using override fiat and people can still be genuinely smiling pleasantly, talking about game book stuff and interacting.

Now, to actually try and answer your question! Ta da! I finally got there!

I would say that people sitting around, genuinely smilling pleasantly, talking about game book related stuff and interacting means something is working. Let’s call it X and say activity X is working.

And certainly a working game would involve this, I think.

Now if that’s enough for someone, for them to consider it a ‘working game’, then that’s what they consider a working game. And apparently override fiat fits into it.

But I’ll be cruel for a moment – if someone considers banging their head against a wall a ‘working game’, then for them, it is.

So one way of sitting around and getting a ‘working game’ when someone decides to use override fiat, is to lower your standards. Way down. Low enough to still call it working.

That’s one way of doing it, where ‘it’ is to have a working game with override fiat in it.

However, people will often present these ‘working games’ as evidence that override fiat is just fine.

But hell, almost anything is just fine if you lower your personal standards enough. Or your standards weren’t high to begin with – though we don’t all have to share the same standards, so that’s okay.

But by the same token, if someone presents a ‘working game’ to you with override fiat and tells you “it’s great”, it kind of demands you have the same level of standards as them. Because if your standard is higher, you really can’t agree with them and talk about it as if “it’s great”.