Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gaming and game design...

I'm somewhat torn on gaming and by extension game design.
On one hand I believe a game system needs to cater to its strengths: like a cinematic game setting should have a system that is quick, fast, maybe have some cool maneuvers that makes things pop.

At the heart of this is (in my mind) G/N/S theory.
Try and accomplish one or two of these, but avoid trying to accomplish them all.
Don't try and do too much with your game: have a focus, and design your system to fit it. Don't be too broad and do it all. Jack of all trades, master of none. That sort of idea.

Along with this comes the idea that the system is part of the game, and it's all one thing. Role-playing is a part of the whole, and the system is a part as well.

Drifting the system isn't playing the system're playing a homebrew.

AND THEN we have the other side...

How do "I" like to play?
I'm absolutely cool with drifting a system to make it fit what I want. I hate the idea of the rules being the game. I hate the idea of "if it's not in the rules, it's not a part of the game".

I hate that shit.

I really MISS the old days of old D&D where we had great games that had great roleplaying (even for a system that for many of thr game-design nazis say wasn't rewarding of RP and really was just a gamist vehicle for killing monsters), great campaigns, and we "drifted" the system regularly and it was okay.

Granted, nowadays I play more WFRP, Savage Worlds, CoC and WoD-type games. I think maybe this is partly because I like the rules to be somewhat fluid or even minimalist and leave me to free-form Roleplay as I wish. I DO like the idea of a unified mechanic (ala D20) for everything. Shadowrun used to drive me crazy because everything had its own system (thank you SR4 for cleaning that up).

Looking back at OD&D and maybe even 2nd ED D&D, I loved those games and that system (with a couple tweaks on occasion) and we played them very loosely...and that was okay.

Why isn't that okay anymore?

There are a number of folks who are steadfast in their belief that that way of playing is somehow "bad" or "wrong" or at the very least a waste of time because there are "better" vehicles for the same play that does it entirely within the rules/ mechanics.

This brings me right back to the frame of mind that reminds me that I HATE folks that live and breathe system System SYSTEM. I don't CARE. I'm here to have a good time with friends in a fantastical make-believe setting and want a bit of escapist fantasy for a few hours with friends.

So how do I make all that jive up in my head?

Social Contract.

As long as everyone is open about what they want, their expectations and all that...who gives a shit? As long as everyone involved is more or less on the same sheet of music, or at least open to what's proposed, then it's doable. You can play V:TM with Rocks Paper Scissors for all I care and make it work.


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