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Archive => Indie Game Design => Topic started by: Ron Edwards on October 02, 2005, 02:36:15 PM

Title: [Attack of the Giant Rats] Ronnies feedback
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 02, 2005, 02:36:15 PM

Moving right along! Here are my comments on Attack of the Giant Rats ( by Manu Saxena, again, pretty much just my notes.

This is Planet of the Rats, Simulationist-style, which is a pretty good basic idea. However, I ran into some problems trying to relate to the actual game material.

For instance, the Goal in character creation needs linking to the themes that you discuss later. Similarly, the Weakness seems bizarrely placed - if one has a relevant Goal, then the concept of Weakness is simply built into it and can be applied just as stated in the rules ... no need to articulate it or "balance" the Goal in any way; it's part of the Goal. Or to put it differently, define a Goal as automatically assigning a Weakness into the character.

I do like the rats' Hate, but otherwise the whole Hate/Goals thing is lost throughout the text

Why in the world would GM permission be necessary to play a rat?

What's the difference between Hero Points and dice? Anything?

Why have powers? 'Cause it's SF? That's not very inspiring. If you must have powers in the game, then clearly the rats ought to have them, not the people.

The dice mechanic basically reduces dice to coins, much like Prince Valiant or Underworld, but with high-handling crits and fumbles. Resolution in general features a familiar combination of deceptively high handling time of secondary rolls, interpretation of potential difficulty, and GM fiat. FUDGE and Story Engine both conform to this pattern, which seems very easy and quick to someone who's been laboring along with Rolemaster or AD&D2, but in practice is more laborious than it looks. It's the classic "lite" design, which is tiring as hell to GM and marked by a distressing uncertainty among players, who are completely at the GM's mercy for scene framing, significant outcomes of rolls, and opportunities to do anything.

Now, I can't tell too easily just from reading, but I'm suspicious that a player might well be rolling "unheard of" levels of success fairly often, especially with pushing and helping and other bonuses. Check this out via playtesting for sure.

I do like the story-bargain option - kind of neat, really.

Manu, what was your experience of writing the game? Was it fun? Work? What seemed like obligatory filler to you?