This is a term I got from Quinn over at Thoughtcrime. It represents the way a general concept is captured as a game mechanic. For example, in Marvel, you’re playing a game about super heroes that fight against super villains as from the pages of a comic book. In order to create a system for us to follow, a lot of things require Thingification.
This is an idea that comes out of the new Marvel RPG I’ve been reading. Basically, when the GM sets the scene, they either have already included one or more scene distinctions that can be used by either side of the encounter – OR the players/villains impose some distinction upon the scene as it plays out.
For example, you may be in a Dark Alley. Because of the environment, the GM includes the Distinction “Dark” which can then be creatively used by either side. Marvel rates these Distinctions on a sliding die scale, so if it was just kind of dim, it might be scaled as: “Dark, d4.” If it was pitch black, maybe that scales up to a d6 or even a d8. When either side uses the Distinction, they get to roll the extra die and add it as a bonus to resolving their action.