Hobson’s Choice

Today we’re going to start a brief series discussing the types of choice in RPGs. During my reading and research today, I stumbled across an interesting anecdote about Joseph Keller which led me to read something about Catch-22 which in turn led me to an article about various types of choices implemented in both fiction and the real world.

We’re going to begin with a man who owned a stable, good Mister Hobson. He had a lot of horses and some of them were the finest to be found. Folks often went to his stables because, y’know, big selection of horses. However, when people came to get a horse, they were offered the horse closest to the door or nothing. Yes, you’ve got it right. This is the origin of take it or leave it. This is something once quite common with gaming groups in the early days of the hobby and it is still something you see with inexperienced as well as rigid GMs. A take it or leave it means the GM has prepped just this one thing and if you don’t take the bait, there is nothing else to be had. Some players get their jollies from trying to derail the GM and they don’t enjoy the game so much as the metagame. Others don’t follow a dungeon crawl (or what-have-you) as it’s “not in keeping with their character.” I’ll admit to once falling into the latter camp. You have to be flexible. Fun should be the cornerstone of the gaming experience and give and take is necessary on both sides of the table.

Until next time, I bid you, dear reader, adieu!

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