Shaping and Gifting

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around how shaping works. It’s a means of manipulating people’s behavior through body language, right? I understand that intellectually, but I’m not sure what that looks like in play. If I’m using it in a challenge, how do I describe my actions? I’m having a hard time picturing it.

Also, I see that shaping is one way to get someone to accept a gift. Is this the main way that you do it? I assume that the Superuser should make players undertake a challenge every time they want to give some one a gift, since it gives them flow, right?

I’m also wondering what happens if a product the users make gets thin-sliced into a super hot fad, or if they just find a way to mass-produce something new and very useful. I understand that I should turn this into a problem by making the demand exceed the supply, or other headaches, but in the mean time, wouldn’t it give the users a ridiculous amount of flow? Similarly, if the users rise to a high MRCZ tier, and they have a well-established enterprise making high-quality tech or interfaces, should I just give them gifting flow regularly, as customers come in looking for stuff?

Maybe this helps? (there are gifts)


You can shape someone into: accepting a handshake, pressing a button, dropping a gun, kissing you, running away, exclaiming something inappropriate, or just looking you in the eye (while your friends run amok).


Sure, I get that, but what are some good ways to play that out in game? Maybe my problem is I can’t really think of a real-world analogue, so I don’t know what “shaping” would look like. I mean, how would I induce someone to press a button or exclaim something inappropriate just though body language? Can it include vocal components?

I had a similar question a long while back.

Stand really too close to someone playing Street Fighter at the local arcade (do they even have those anymore)?
Or hover near someone eating something delicious.
Or scratch your nose.
Or smile at a cute person on the subway. Ok maybe not that/ You’ll get arrested.

Describe it like a scene in a western or samurai movie—a trembling hand, a flutter of an eyelid, the twitch of the lip, a pregnant exhalation.

Ok, I guess that makes sense. I’m still curious about how you would do large-scale gifting, though. Should I run a challenge for each gift, or just allow users to receive regular gifting flow from their large MRCZ business? Because, what if they do have a successful cupcake business? If they are giving away a hundred cupcakes per day, that’s an absurd amount of flow, but I can’t think of a fair way to limit it, apart from just forcing the MRCZ to fail or never become successful.

Receive flow only for the first gift.

  1. There are no businesses on the donut.
  2. There’s no mass gift system. All transactions are one to one.
  3. How much flow does it cost to create a cupcake? How much flow does it cost to convince someone to accept your cupcake? This likely offsets the flow boost from gifting.

That makes a lot of sense, thanks.

I’m not saying that groups won’t form around cultivating and gifting cupcakes, but it’s important to shift your perspective away from the idea that they’re businesses. It seems like a small detail, but it’s important for understanding the setting!