The analogy is imperfect, but if we compare that difference in progression style between the epics to the different kinds of scenario deck(s) in the LCGs, and the difference among books (really, more properly, oimai [‘threads’]) within the epics to the different mechanics in each game among differing scenarios, the broad shape of a comparison begins to appear.
The LCG’s unique way of doing epic — that is, of allowing its player to perform their own recomposed elaborations of the storyworlds’ narrative materials — stems from the nexus of the ludic and the narrative to be found in these scenario-making cards. There’s a deceptively simple comparison to be made with what we know as the books of the Iliad and the Odyssey, which almost certainly originate in individual songs that a bard might have sung on a given occasion.
Let’s start with the cards themselves. They work like epic formulae (e.g. the “cunning” in “cunning Odysseus”) but with game-mechanics, and with pictures, some of them lovely and some merely serviceable. In homeric epic, certain formulae — the epithets every student remembers, like podas okus “swift-footed,” periphron “thoughtful,” and polumetis
I apologize for not replying to comments on the first post of this series! I’ll remedy that now, and promise to be more vigilant with this post! Digital RPGs have a wide variety of ways to allow the player-performer to progress their player-character towards greater prowess. The process is universally
In a series of essays starting in 2004 and including a series of posts here on Play the Past, I’ve described player-performance in adventure games of various genres as examples of what Albert Lord, in The Singer of Tales, the seminal work on oral formulaic composition of homeric epic, calls
In my last post I discussed the most basic rule of the epic game: kleos. Oral epic developed in such a way as to provide glory to heroes by naming them at the end of the poetic line. Now I’m going to push forward and show how that simple mechanic When
Part of a series on the educational affordances of interactive narrative. ba da Bum ba da Bum bum Podas ōkus Akhilleus (pronounce the final “eu” as “yoo” if you have to—it’s a diphthong: the final Bum). Polumētis Odysseus (same here). “Swift-footed Achilles.” “Cunning Odysseus.” These are line-end formulas. Think of
In this post I’ll expand on some points I made in my last. By opening out the notion of Socrates as fundamentally a participant interactive performances (that is, like his fellow Athenian elites, steeped in a culture founded on homeric epic), I mean to launch the principal argument of this post-series/book.
I’m glad to say that I have real hope of starting to contribute to PlaythePast again. I’m working on a book I’m excited about, though I have no idea whether it will ever actually emerge in any traditional “book” format. In any case, I’m going to start broaching the subject
“But tell me, and tell me true, whether you saw any of the mighty heroes who went to Troy at the same time with yourself, and perished there.” Thus speaks King Alcinous of the Phaeacians, when Odysseus has claimed himself to be too tired to continue the marvelous tale of