Player Activity and Pacing.

Have you played motobushido yet? Look at this.


You have now played motobushido. From now on you are never not playing motobushido.

The only part your missing is how motobushido and many cel-style games like it resolve scenes using card play. I will break down the player activity step by step.

  • A conflict scene starts
  • Players are dealt a hand of cards from a standard poker deck.
  • pause (it takes time to deal cards and for players to understand the cards they are dealt)
  • Cards are played in turn with players adding narration for what they did.
  • When one side loses the card game the scene is resolved and it’s effects are narrated.

Compare to the pacing given by typical dice resolution.


  • A conflict scene starts initiative and rules in play are determined.
  • pause (it takes time to figure this stuff out)
  • Players chose an action.
  • The GM determines the rules in play
  • Pause (it takes time to arbitrate rules)
  • Players roll dice
  • Pause (it takes time to roll and determine results)
  • GM describes results.
  • Loop back

Typical dice resolution has three pauses. Playing scenes with this method takes a long time. rolling dice takes time, reading the small numbers on the dice and doing math takes time. The pacing of the story and narration slows down to a crawl. it’s as if every action scene is playing out in slow motion.

The card method’s main pause is when players determine what rules are in play and deal cards. When players are dealt a hand of cards they are given time to process what the cards mean to the narrative and can mentally prepare how the hand will play out. The back and fourth of card play is very quick! it’s quicker then players can usually narrate and does not pause the action in a scene. scenes can take as long to play as they would take an audiobook narrator to speak.

This does not mean there will be no pauses when player’s take turns describing their actions, everyone has moments where you draw a blank. what this means is there is no point in a scene when the game it’s self forces a pause.

The use of physical cards or dice is not the important detail. You could have a game that uses a hand of pre rolled dice, or a game that requires cards to be flipped from the top of the deck instead of rolling a die. The important detail is when does a game let players process the effect the mechanics will have on the story and how often do the mechanics make players stop speaking.

Seed rpg has pauses and I will execute them with the discipline of a samurai and the brutality of a biker. 


image source

I fully endorse playing motobushido with Nathan if you have the chance. i have not read the book yet but the gameplay is great!

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