Transgaming is the idea of a game transcending different media and/or game genres in a way that enhances the experience of playing the game itself. This can be anything from playing Mech Warrior and then Mech Commander for an action game and a strategy game in the same series to playing indirectly with a friend who enjoys a different type of game play in a game that links your actions. This video from Extra Credits explains it well with plenty of examples:
In table top role-playing games, a clever and dedicated GM can achieve a kind of transgaming in his games. For example, he can run one game where the party is escorting a diplomat to the Realm of Tranquility to negotiate a truce. At the same time, he can run another game where the party is a pair of aristocrats dealing with the political obstacles to winning the war back in court, and a third game where the party is three generals leading the war on the front lines, all three in the same world. By having the parties sometimes encounter each other or write a letter to each other each session, this gets a transgaming feel as players playing three different kinds of games interact in the same world. This makes it possible for a player into strategy to play a game where he interacts with the traditional small party players, as well as those players who don’t want to see any combat at all.
My hope with the digital aspect of Mind Weave is to make this easier. Rather than having the GM run three sessions a week and try to keep them all on the same schedule, he can run one game where the “party” is massively split into three groups. Everyone can be on the same out-of-character chat and their actions are constantly in sync. If the aristocrats are having trouble getting more troops moving to the front, the generals start to see a reduction in their resources. If the generals route an enemy and send them fleeing toward the Gate of Tranquility, the escorts see an increase in threats in the area.
This increases the degree and consistency at which the different groups influence each other’s actions. It also brings the groups together into the same session for direct social interaction out of character. This has the potential to bring people with very different tastes in game to the “table” together.
What do you think of the idea of Transgaming? Would you enjoy playing at a table where you know other players are influencing the world? Would you like having those players at the same virtual table? Let us know in the comments below.