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 Post subject: Quality accessories
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:56 am 
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 1:04 pm
Posts: 1130
Location: the Retirement Coast, NSW, Australia
I read an article the other day about research funded by the airlines into the perception of flavour. It discovered unsurprisingly that human perception of flavour is more sensitive when the air is humid than when it is dry. Rather more remarkably it also showed that human perception of flavour is more sensitive in quiet than in noisy circumstances. And perhaps most remarkably it showed that foods are rated as tasting better when eaten off crockery of some colours than off crockery of other colours, and when eaten with heavy cutlery (evoking associations with high quality) than with light cutlery.

This made me wonder about whether quality accessories improve the qualitative experience of playing games. Not just the quiet settings, well-chosen music, and comfortable chairs, but high-quality hardbacks, heavy card stock, well-painted figures, casino dice or dice cut from semi-precious stones, heavy clay poker chips….

What do you think? Do expensive or laboriously-painted high-quality accessories seep quality subliminally to augment the pleasures of gaming?

— Brett Evill

My SF RPG setting, Flat Black

 Post subject: Re: Quality accessories
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 5:24 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:11 pm
Posts: 365
Location: Near Frankfurt, Germany
I have little doubt they have *some* effect. How much, compared to the game master´s skill and personality, the mood of the players, the quality of the adventure, these circumstantial factors make a difference, I´m not sure. Unless you´re there for the luxuries in first place, I strongly doubt they can cover up for major deficiencies on core areas.

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 Post subject: Re: Quality accessories
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2015 5:28 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:22 am
Posts: 5351
I'd imagine it'd help more specifically with something like boardgaming than with RPGs. Atmospheric stuff can certainly enhance the mood but people have got to be invested in that in the first place. But I'd agree that if the core sucks then all the fancy trimmings in the world won't save that.

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 Post subject: Re: Quality accessories
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:01 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 12:41 pm
Posts: 409
Location: Northern California
I can tell you that it does, 100%.

The level to which you get returns depends on your players, however.

Many players often feel embarrassed about immersing themselves in a game - attempts to increase the amount of "frission" in your game will just be met with jokes and similar attempts to "lighten up" which pretty much defeats any purpose. Things like props and similar items are totally lost on these players; the problem with even a single one of these kinds of players is that they'll begin with the comments, which generally wrecks the immersion of other players. If you even have a single player of this sort, it's better not to bother trying too hard. However, things like a nice, private room without interruptions or distractions (the latter, like banning cellphones/tablets/laptops/TV/video game consoles) helps immensely to increase player enjoyment (it also helps to write adventures to ensure all the players can always be involved and going so far as to encourage your players to stick together or giving your players something to do at all times). Generally I find that RPG games work best played indoors, in a room where you can draw drapes over any windows (a sunny day ruins a lot of situations like a storm or being in deep space).

However, there is an area that even the least immersed players I find are much more impressed with well-painted minis that obviously were chosen with care (eg; using minis that look vaguely like the creature or person in question). However, to really hit a grand slam with players, the board shouldn't be some dry-erase board or even those full-color "dungeon tile" type things but a full 3-D representation that doesn't consist of books or soda cans. I do a lot of wargaming and I've found that a convincing board to play wargames on increases the enjoyment of a game many, many, many times. I've experimented with using various "cast-it-yourself" dungeons or sci-fi tile/wallsets (or even shamelessly stolen them from other games like Space Hulk by Games Workshop) and these increase the enjoyment of the players tremendously, even in RPGs (this blends well with the tactical or semi-tactical nature of a lot of RPG games)

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