Ego Check with The Id DM – Episode 42 – François Alliot


François Alliot, designer of the Reigns series of games, discusses his Tinder-inspired approach to probabilistic narrative game design. He talks about his quest to find a great “flow” for his games and how he wants to surprise players. We delve into the design of Reigns and ponder how adaptive game design might develop in the future. François shares his influences regarding the focus on emerging narrative games, and he also provides some news about what he is working on next – including a tabletop version of Reigns!


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The Prisoner’s Dilemma

A couple of recent events influenced the direction of this article. First, I was summoned for jury duty last month. It was the first time I attended a jury summons; I previously found a way to delay the summons and since I’ve moved around so much, I never had to step foot in a courthouse (knock on wood). I figured it was time to complete my civic duty and the eight hours I spent being screened by lawyers was quite fascinating. To keep myself awake throughout the process, I was examining everything from a psychological perspective and analyzing the direction of the questions and how other potential jurors were responding. It turned out to be an interesting day, but I was not selected for the trial.

The second event was listening to a recent episode of The Exemplary DM Podcast. In the episode, the hosts discussed skill challenges and roleplaying scenarios that involved the party interrogating NPCs or the party being interrogated by NPCs. My group has had their fair share of Jack-Bauer 24-style “WE’RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!” interrogation moments, but I’ve yet to turn the tables on them and have them forced to explain their actions.

I set my mind to work on how a DM could engage the players with a unique challenge that is not decided merely by die rolls. My mind eventually remembered the fascinating principles posed in The Prisoner’s Dilemma. You may not be familiar with the term, but if you have watched The Dark Knight, then you have seen it in action. Below, I present The Prisoner’s Dilemma and discuss how a DM can engage their adventuring group with the game.

Continue reading “The Prisoner’s Dilemma”