I was recently asked what the Game looks like when we play it. It's a tough question to answer because it doesn't really look like a game. It looks like seven middle-aged men sitting around a table, talking, and making occasional notes. It looks like a board meeting:
Because 90% of the Game takes place in our heads. We use some visual aids--my terribly drawn maps, or sometimes a plan with counters or models on it (that's what you see in the centre of the image above: my visual representation of the situation the players are in as they figure out how to board an enemy vessel without being overcome by a swarm of killer robots)--but they aren't the Game. The Game is pure imagination.
The Game looks like the week I spend thinking up a new storyline:
The Game looks like the hour I spend after each session updating my records:
The Game looks like the thousands of pages of documentation I've written (small section of it shown here):
The Game looks like the shelf-full of reference books I read to give it the illusion of believability:
The Game looks like the random notes I write in my plot book in the middle of the night, for reasons which escape me but which might get used for something one day:
But what the Game really looks like is entirely in the heads of the six players, because what they think it looks like is more important than all of the above. It looks like their ideas, and plans, and character interactions, and annoying, confounding, frustrating interactions with my plots. That's what the Game looks like to me. I have no idea what it looks like to them...