Author Topic: New question pulled out of thread  (Read 10773 times)

Offline BG_Josh

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New question pulled out of thread
« on: December 16, 2011, 02:21:11 AM »
Deep in another thread we find this:

I think my personal experience on the matter of playing non-D&D games matches up fairly well with many of Basket Burner's points. I don't play non-D&D games, except very rarely, because I don't know anyone who plays non-D&D games, but more importantly I have read non-D&D games and I dislike their mechanics.

From what I can tell, BG Josh has been implying, if not explicitly stating, that this makes me a poor Gamer. In order to become a "better Gamer" I should play games that I doubt I would enjoy, that do not offer the type of gameplay I want, because doing so will lead to some sort of gamist-version of enlightened self-interest? No, no this doesn't make any sense.

Out of a table-top RPG, I want:

  • a reasonably well-constructed setting, even if it is only an implied setting
  • adventure-focused gameplay
  • deep character-creation options combined with meaningful choices of in-game action
  • streamlined action-resolution mechanics
  • and clear, well-presented documents

I am willing to play games that do not do all of those things well, if they pull off one or more of them in intriguingly exceptional good form. Examples of games that I have learned, but not played because I didn't like their mechanics: Exalted, Anima: Beyond Fantasy, Burning Wheel, Risus, World of Darkness, FUDGE, and GURPS. Examples of non-D&D games that I have learned and have enjoyed playing: Marvel Universe Roleplaying, The One Ring: Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild.

Telling me that I'm a bad gamer, or that I'm the exception to the rule, is exceptionally ignorant and elitist. You wrote the rule, and defined the rule by the company you keep. You are basically saying that the only "good Gamers" are exactly like yourself and your friends, and that others at best woefully misguided sheep to be tended by someone of your infinite wisdom, or at worst willfully defiant mongrels to be put down. So, if that's not what you mean, I'd hope you would attempt to clarify and/or amend your statements.

I said, and stand by the fact, that a "good gamer" must be good at a range of games(by definition).  That  playing new and different games makes you better at the original game.  And that most people do not always want the same experience from a game, therefore they should play multiple games.

Also I am implying that: everyone (in the group) is interested in the game you are playing, everyone understands and agrees with the way the game is being played. and that you are playing a game that does indeed do what it claims and does not suffer from critical flaws.

So here's the list.
  • a reasonably well-constructed setting, even if it is only an implied setting
  • adventure-focused gameplay
  • deep character-creation options combined with meaningful choices of in-game action
  • streamlined action-resolution mechanics
  • and clear, well-presented documents
So, burning wheel gold.  It's the only extant game that even does some of these things.

If you are being flexible on some of these points there are other options.  Of course this list isn't very good for this purpose. 

What you need is the thing you want to do.  Rather than restrictive descriptions of mechanics.

"I want to have epic battles"
"i want to be zorro/Indiana jones/Mr T/joe peshi"
"I want to save the princess/take over the world/win iron chef"

Also, there is the issue that you don't always want to play the same game.

Offline sirpercival

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2011, 07:36:14 AM »
I think you should make a distinction between "actively play different game systems" and "have familiarity with and reasonable mastery of multiple game systems' mechanics."  I'm in the latter category -- over the years I've learned (and in most cases, played) a number of different RPG systems.  That sort of thing has definitely broadened my horizons and made me better at the games that I do play.

However, I almost always play D&D, for a variety of different reasons, not the least of which is that I enjoy D&D's high-fantasy, high-magic genre the most.  Granted, I've never played Burning Wheel, so I can't compare.
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Offline Stabbald

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2011, 08:07:39 AM »
I'm confused by your post BG_Josh.

To me it reads like...

"You can only be a good gamer if you play different games. Burning Wheel is the only good game."

Seems somewhat contradictory. I would argue a game like Aberrant by White Wolf also covers all of those bullet points.

Offline Agita

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2011, 10:15:48 AM »
I think you should make a distinction between "actively play different game systems" and "have familiarity with and reasonable mastery of multiple game systems' mechanics."  I'm in the latter category -- over the years I've learned (and in most cases, played) a number of different RPG systems.  That sort of thing has definitely broadened my horizons and made me better at the games that I do play.

However, I almost always play D&D, for a variety of different reasons, not the least of which is that I enjoy D&D's high-fantasy, high-magic genre the most.  Granted, I've never played Burning Wheel, so I can't compare.
Agreed. I have like a dozen game systems lying around with varying degrees of mastery and have played... maybe three of those, not counting different editions or sub-systems.

As for that bullet point list, D&D also fulfills all but one of those points - a reasonably well-constructed setting, while not per se present in the core books, is provided by Eberron and others, adventure-focused gameplay is the whole premise, deep options at character creation are a given (even if only a fraction are viable or even optimal, That still leaves a staggering variety, and more are added if you take subpar mechanics and optimize them to playability), and clear, well-presented documents... are sort of subjective, I guess. I quite like the way most D&D splats are laid out, myself. The only thing that's missing from that list is streamlined action-resolution mechanics, as D&D almost literally has a different kind of roll for every situation. I can't comment on how Burning Wheel fits that list, but if InnaBinder says he tried it and it didn't fit the specifications to his liking, then I'll believe him.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 01:04:26 PM by Agita »
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Offline Kajhera

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2011, 11:37:11 AM »
Okay, so yeah, I play multiple games. My list of games is:
- D&D
- M:tG
- Civilization
- Minecraft
- Once Upon a Time
- Chess

Those cover most things I would want to play, and experiences I want to have with a game... would I benefit by playing GURPS, Yu-Gi-Oh, Starcraft, legos, some storyteller-guided system, and Go with my limited gaming time, or is this a perfectly sufficient range for me not to do things I don't care as much about?

Offline Stabbald

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2011, 11:53:58 AM »
Okay, so yeah, I play multiple games. My list of games is:
- D&D
- M:tG
- Civilization
- Minecraft
- Once Upon a Time
- Chess

Those cover most things I would want to play, and experiences I want to have with a game... would I benefit by playing GURPS, Yu-Gi-Oh, Starcraft, legos, some storyteller-guided system, and Go with my limited gaming time, or is this a perfectly sufficient range for me not to do things I don't care as much about?

I'm pretty sure that by a "range of games" he is referring to RPGs in particular. Only one of your listed games would meet that definition.

Offline archangel.arcanis

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2011, 12:04:11 PM »
As far as RPGs go I disagree that BW is the only one that meets all the requirements on your list. I find that D&D3.5 pretty well hits on them as Agita has already laid out. I'd also add that the Arcanis RPG does so as well, even more so than D&D.

I'll even take it to an different genre too. I like RTS games. I've also been playing the same one for 7 years because every other one I try fails to meet my requirements.
  • Game must have parity among factions (no one faction gets an "i win" button
  • it must support multiple play styles (aggressive attacker, turtle, resource hoarder, tactician, build a bunch of stuff and roll it in)
  • I want a rock paper scissors type of balance (my unit that can trash his unit is vulnerable to a 3rd which would get trashed by his)
  • super weapons must be meaningful but stopable. (they hurt but won't win you the game out right)
  • good building and resource systems
For these reasons I've stuck with the same RTS for years. I have tried others but am never satisfied with them on at least some of these points. Does that mean it is the only good RTS, not at all. It means it is the best choice for me and my friends who play it.

Offline Ziegander

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2011, 12:19:48 PM »
I said, and stand by the fact, that a "good gamer" must be good at a range of games(by definition).  That  playing new and different games makes you better at the original game.

Okay, so now you have restated your premise, but you have yet to defend it with any evidence. Note that personal experience or "eyewitness testimony" are, in this case, almost completely circumstantial and thus worth far less than, say, a logical argument.

I think it would be best to begin by defining your usage of the term "good gamer."

Offline ImperatorK

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2011, 12:41:30 PM »
It's sad when you like one particular game, don't get any enjoyment from other games, and are being mocked for not being hip and well-versed like all the cool kids. :(
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Offline Unbeliever

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2011, 01:06:28 PM »
See, the reason I don't like Burning Wheel is its failure along many of those bullet points.  Let me preface this by saying that I have not played a lot of Burning Wheel, but I was playing it with people who were old hands at it.  I also have the 2 sort of novel looking BW books, so that's what I'm going on. 

  • a reasonably well-constructed setting, even if it is only an implied setting
The setting is too implied.  On the one hand, I thought we were creating this setting somewhat collectively around the gaming table, and I was given a vague idea of what that was supposed to look like from the GM and other players.  Great, perfect.  Then I sat down to create a character.  And, I found out that even though the book says we let you create your own setting, and I took the book at its word, the game itself has a VERY strong set of place.  The humans in the setting are very tied to a very particular view of medieval life.  The elves are very much Tolkien's elves.  And, so on.  Given the option between sneaking in a very strong sense of a setting or being more up front with a statement to the effect of "what I have in mind with humans is 12th century France, just saying ..." I prefer the latter.

I believe that you can hack the system to do many other settings.  But, that requires work/looking online.  And, I'm more annoyed by the sneaking one into the character creation rules than I am about the particular features of the setting. 

  • streamlined action-resolution mechanics
How does combat work again in Burning Wheel?  I found the array of options dizzying and frustrating and ill-balanced.  I've played a lot of systems, and I happen to be quite good at math (I do professional and PhD level game theory, economics, and formal modeling regularly), and I found the system very difficult.  And, I don't think this is just a newb problem:  the guys I were playing with, again old hats at BW, said that they often resorted to bloody contests b/c they found the combat system too clunky in practice.  When veterans find the combat system in a fantasy and adventure game more trouble than its worth in many instances, then that indicates it's probably not streamlined. 

Although, I want to be fair:  love the "let it ride" system, the skill system in general, and the Duel of Wits. 

I do have one other personal issue with BW/MG combat.  This is less a judgment than perhaps a personal failing.  I find the level of abstraction often pulls me out of the character a bit, so I feel more like I'm playing a board game or mingame or something, and end up doing what is best for me to "win" rather than necessarily what I think fits my character.  In something like D&D, I find it easier to conceive of what my reckless, cautious, determined, etc. character would do to display those qualities in conflicts. 

  • deep character-creation options combined with meaningful choices of in-game action
I found the BW character creation an exercise in frustration.  In the core books I own, at least, it has no sense or even real concession to game balance.  A lot of the design elements are justified by reference to the implied setting -- it's hard to change careers (or settings/categories maybe?  Like noble --> village, etc., it's been a while) in a medieval society -- but that's a feature of a particular setting. 

Mostly, though, I disliked how there were clear paths to particular lifepaths, and that you were punished (mechanically) or it was just impossible to carve out other ways.  Usually I come up with a concept and then go to the character creation system to realize it.  So, I rarely sit down thinking "I want to play a Fighter."  I usually come up with "Lord Dalorand, disenfranchised knight ..." and then figure out how I want to build him.  I found this quite difficult in BW. 

But, really, it's the game balance thing:  you are strongly incentivized and disincentivized to chart a character's history, meaning his or her lifepath chain, in a certain way.

For what it's worth, I agree with the other bullet points.  I like the size, shape, and even the writing in the books.  I do think the game is plagued by poor character creation and combat mechanics -- a view that I don't think I'm unique in.  And, I think the setting was either more clearly spelled out or cast a much smaller shadow over the game mechanics. 

I'm also a big fan of Mouseguard.  I find it too simplistic for a game to play regularly, but I like the game, its setting, and the book quite a bit.  It trades much of what I dislike in BW away, at the cost of relative simplicity

Offline BG_Josh

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2011, 06:48:00 PM »
It's sad when you like one particular game, don't get any enjoyment from other games, and are being mocked for not being hip and well-versed like all the cool kids. :(
It's sadder still to be that person..

Offline BG_Josh

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2011, 07:54:56 PM »
So, definition thing here.  Whatever a "good gamer" is it is not "good DnD player" you should expect them to pick up learn and play a variety of games (I would say all games, but earlier i implied RPG's only, it should be all games).  And their "gamer score" would be an aggregate of many games.

So if you just play DnD, as good a DnD player you are you would not be a good gamer.  You would lack one of the cornerstone skills of the "generalist" gamer.  Namely picking up and assimilating new games.

----

Why Burning wheel?

The number of RPG's worth playing is a surprisingly small number.  But the thing from the list I keyed in on is:
-deep character-creation options combined with meaningful choices of in-game action-
DnD does not have deep character creation, it has deep character evolution.  (don't bother with the start at higher levels thing, not the same thing).  DnD also does not have that much to do, basically just a number of ways to fight and kill things. 

-streamlined action-resolution mechanics-
90% of BW is fantastically streamlined.  fight and ranged are complex, but not as complex as combat in DnD.  Character generation is extremely complex, but you did not ask about that.

-a reasonably well-constructed setting, even if it is only an implied setting-
This is where BW falls down, kinda.  You have to want to play the game BW is, however that's true of any game, unless it is a build a world game.  So it is what it is.

-adventure-focused gameplay-
Choose the right beliefs and you are set

-and clear, well-presented documents-
and a unicorn.  But seriously, I want that too.  But if you went with this there would be three games: Mouseguard, misspent youth and freemarket.  So take your pick (this is otmh btw).

More to come later

Offline Unbeliever

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2011, 09:39:16 AM »
I'm not going to continue debating the merits of BW with you. But to the extent you see yourself as conveying information to the gaming community I think you are doing everyone a disservice by blithely glossing over the system's faults.

Finally consider the position this thread has adopted for someone like myself. Here I am a thoughtful gamer - indicated by my willingness to write out about a page of cogent and I think fair commentary on a system - who was interested in playing this "good" game but found it dissatisfying. By ignoring its defects the only conclusion left is that people like me, and I know there is a few, are somehow wrong on a deep level.

Offline Ziegander

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2011, 10:29:24 AM »
I can't be sure of this of course, but from what it sounds like, Josh, you believe that most gamers that play only a single game couldn't possibly pick up and play another game or even a few other games with any amount of ease or skill. If that's the case, then, yes, I agree, by your definition and your set of beliefs I would be an exception to your rules, as would many here; however, if that's the case, then I think there's definitely room for a debate there.

I would argue that most people that play any sort of game can learn to play a number of other, similar games without much difficulty. It would seem that this is your standard by which you determine whether or not someone is a "good gamer," not necessarily that a person is actually good at playing any game or any number of games, but that someone can with relative ease learn to play many games.

Someone plays Age of Empires a lot? I would argue that they would have little difficulty picking up Civilization, Command & Conquer, and Warcraft.

Someone plays Monopoly a lot? I would argue that they would have little difficulty picking up Life, Parcheesi, or even Risk.

Someone plays D&D a lot? I would argue that they would have little difficulty picking up any tabletop role-playing game.

I think this is where our opinions and personal experience diverge.

Offline BG_Josh

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2011, 03:11:55 PM »

Someone plays D&D a lot? I would argue that they would have little difficulty picking up any tabletop role-playing game.

I think this is where our opinions and personal experience diverge.

I have taught dozens of people dozens of different new rpg's and nothing could be further from the truth.  It is harder to teach a DnD player than someone who knows nothing or someone who only plays boardgames.

Much harder.  They expect things tor work like DnD and then they don't.

Offline Ziegander

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2011, 03:22:29 PM »

Someone plays D&D a lot? I would argue that they would have little difficulty picking up any tabletop role-playing game.

I think this is where our opinions and personal experience diverge.

I have taught dozens of people dozens of different new rpg's and nothing could be further from the truth.  It is harder to teach a DnD player than someone who knows nothing or someone who only plays boardgames.

Much harder.  They expect things tor work like DnD and then they don't.

Well, I can neither prove nor deny your statements. Like I said, our own personal experiences simply differ. I have not taught dozens of people dozens of different RPGs, but I have taught a handful of friends (who play nothing but D&D) a handful of different RPGs with very little trouble.

Offline BG_Josh

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2011, 03:23:17 PM »
I'm not going to continue debating the merits of BW with you. But to the extent you see yourself as conveying information to the gaming community I think you are doing everyone a disservice by blithely glossing over the system's faults.

Finally consider the position this thread has adopted for someone like myself. Here I am a thoughtful gamer - indicated by my willingness to write out about a page of cogent and I think fair commentary on a system - who was interested in playing this "good" game but found it dissatisfying. By ignoring its defects the only conclusion left is that people like me, and I know there is a few, are somehow wrong on a deep level.

Your commentary was fair. I may have obfuscated things slightly.  If you don't like BW that's fine. But that list, it's burning wheel or change some restrictions. That's what I was getting at.

-Premade settings, that are good, are very specific in how they work and what they do.  (Burning wheel)
-Then there are systems that do a thing and you build the setting (Misspent Youth, dread)

Taking another tact for Ziegander:
If you want an action adventure game here's the list

Dungeons and Dragons 4th
Dungeons and Dragons 3rd
Warhammer Fantasy (the latest)
Savage worlds (any after the latest deadland imprint)
Battlestations

Offline BG_Josh

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2011, 03:26:34 PM »

Someone plays D&D a lot? I would argue that they would have little difficulty picking up any tabletop role-playing game.

I think this is where our opinions and personal experience diverge.

I have taught dozens of people dozens of different new rpg's and nothing could be further from the truth.  It is harder to teach a DnD player than someone who knows nothing or someone who only plays boardgames.

Much harder.  They expect things tor work like DnD and then they don't.

Well, I can neither prove nor deny your statements. Like I said, our own personal experiences simply differ. I have not taught dozens of people dozens of different RPGs, but I have taught a handful of friends (who play nothing but D&D) a handful of different RPGs with very little trouble.

What RPGs from my list here have you taught.  Because if you taught them WoD or Shadowrun you have not really taught a different game and those games lack so much substance there really isnt anything different to teach (all you need to know is "ask the GM what to do").

Offline Ziegander

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2011, 03:30:45 PM »

Someone plays D&D a lot? I would argue that they would have little difficulty picking up any tabletop role-playing game.

I think this is where our opinions and personal experience diverge.

I have taught dozens of people dozens of different new rpg's and nothing could be further from the truth.  It is harder to teach a DnD player than someone who knows nothing or someone who only plays boardgames.

Much harder.  They expect things tor work like DnD and then they don't.

Well, I can neither prove nor deny your statements. Like I said, our own personal experiences simply differ. I have not taught dozens of people dozens of different RPGs, but I have taught a handful of friends (who play nothing but D&D) a handful of different RPGs with very little trouble.

What RPGs from my list here have you taught.  Because if you taught them WoD or Shadowrun you have not really taught a different game and those games lack so much substance there really isnt anything different to teach (all you need to know is "ask the GM what to do").

I haven't taught any of those games, nor World of Darkness or Shadowrun. Are you really going down the road of, "if you haven't taught any of my games, then you haven't taught anyone anything?" Because that will win you lots of approval, I assure you. /sarcasm

Offline BG_Josh

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Re: New question pulled out of thread
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2011, 03:49:35 PM »

Someone plays D&D a lot? I would argue that they would have little difficulty picking up any tabletop role-playing game.

I think this is where our opinions and personal experience diverge.

I have taught dozens of people dozens of different new rpg's and nothing could be further from the truth.  It is harder to teach a DnD player than someone who knows nothing or someone who only plays boardgames.

Much harder.  They expect things tor work like DnD and then they don't.

Well, I can neither prove nor deny your statements. Like I said, our own personal experiences simply differ. I have not taught dozens of people dozens of different RPGs, but I have taught a handful of friends (who play nothing but D&D) a handful of different RPGs with very little trouble.

What RPGs from my list here have you taught.  Because if you taught them WoD or Shadowrun you have not really taught a different game and those games lack so much substance there really isnt anything different to teach (all you need to know is "ask the GM what to do").

I haven't taught any of those games, nor World of Darkness or Shadowrun. Are you really going down the road of, "if you haven't taught any of my games, then you haven't taught anyone anything?" Because that will win you lots of approval, I assure you. /sarcasm
So what games?