What Does Railroading Ever…

This isn’t one of my “let me carefully review the basics of our hobby” posts — it’s a discussion on Story Games. Eero Tuovinen has a thread there called A Bit of Railroading Theory, which is exactly that.  It includes sections like “The creative payoff of railroading” that I think are sound (though note the objections raised by David Berg further down the thread).

Eero makes one major point that I think is right — railroading is a hard way to GM, at least if you want your players to have a good time. It’s not necessarily easier to make railroading work than to wing it:

“The historical tragedy of our hobby seems to be that railroading has been understood as the hiding place of the mediocre and the starter set of the newbie when precisely the opposite is the case: you should only do railroad play if you, alone, actually are capable of being an entertaining storyteller. If that’s not the case, the railroad bit is just an incidental detail, and the real issue with your game is that you’re putting a mediocre and boring thing in front instead of trying to hide it in the back, as a sensible person would [grin].” (source)

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