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Author Topic: SenZar ???  (Read 4768 times)
darrick
Member

Posts: 65


« on: October 27, 2005, 03:20:49 PM »

aaahh, that explains it!
  i heard about this scifi/dark fantasy/horror rpg called SenZar by accident.  a few guys on rpg.net disparagingly referred to SenZar when writing about my rpg:  Empire of Satanis.  i had never heard of SenZar, so i looked into it and saw what had come before me.  this is like EoS's older brother who's in college, probably in an "animal house" kind of fraternity. 

apparently SenZar (which came out around 1999) was reviled for its grandiose claims and being prone to munchkinism.  i've read that the game is mostly about ass kicking.  maybe SenZar's big, testosterone-fueled, pulling cool stuff from multiple genres, take no prisoners attitude opened the way for ridicule?  for those of you, like me, who have never heard of it, here's a very lengthy review of the game posted on rpg.net:  http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/reviews/rev_3161.html

it's almost no surprise that when my Empire of Satanis rpg came out, most people felt the need to rip on it.  in fact, tons of ass people seemed to immediately fly out of the woodwork, tripping over themselves to see who could bash my game first.  right now, i'm wondering what it is about SenZar and EoS that fills gamers with such indignation?!? 

i'd also like to know if anyone here at the Forge has played, or read, SenZar...ok, i just put it through the Forge search here and found it mentioned a number of times.  one appearance was in another negative rant on my game that i posted here!  (why does no one take the time to explain references like SenZar?  have they just become dirty words, unworthy of thoughtful examination?) 

many people seem to agree that SenZar, and something called Synnibar, are examples of how not to make a rpg.  i'd love to know exactly why...?  it must be more than an aversion to powergaming itself.  is it because these games would rather revel in fun, dark, and "cool" excess, rather than take themselves way too seriously?

anyways, i'm going to order SenZar right now.  not only do i want to see what all the fuss is about, to me it sounds "cool" and "kick ass".  i get the impression from reviewers and critics that these adjectives should be beneath me, however, those are the things i definitely want in a game.  also, any game that reminds me of the movie Heavy Metal gets a "hell yeah" in my book.

Darrick
http://www.CultofCthulhu.net
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Jasper
Member

Posts: 466


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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2005, 05:01:00 PM »

Hi Darrick,

I hate to follow up a negative review with a chastisement but...this forum is really for discussing games that you're (actively) designing. Talking about other games can be alright, so long as they're helping you with a design. But since you don't own SenBar yet, there doesn't seem to be a lot to respond to. Unless the real topic is "Help me understand these criticism of EoS so that I can make it even better." And even then, some more focused questions would be good.


Best,
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Jasper McChesney
Primeval Games Press
Jasper
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Posts: 466


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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2005, 05:02:13 PM »

Nuts. I thought we were "Indie Design." Scrap all that, and please accept my apologies.
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Jasper McChesney
Primeval Games Press
daMoose_Neo
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Posts: 890


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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2005, 05:10:44 PM »

My understanding of the game and its critisisms is that the game is reviled for being everything it claims its not. Apperently it opens with a statement that the game was made by "true gamers" because "its the only way to game" or some such similarity (goes digging through old InQuest magazines...)

Anywho, if you say your game is Thing A, deride Thing B, and your game, despite the claims that it is Thing A, ends up being Thing B is what opens you up to critisisms. SenZar was not the be-all-to-end-all system that was simple, evocotive, and amazing that it claimed to be - its like Dr.Frankenstien claiming his Monster is Mr.Universe material - yes, he's big, potentially strong, but ugly, out performed by so many others, and really really slow witted.
As for SenZar around here, isn't there reference to it in one of the essays?
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Nate Petersen / daMoose
Neo Productions Unlimited! Publisher of Final Twilight card game, Imp Game RPG, and more titles to come!
Sean
Guest
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2005, 07:23:13 PM »

I consider SenZar to have the best development of D&D-style mechanics anywhere prior to 3e. Where 'best' doesn't reflect my own preferences so much as a certain overall mathematical coherence. The heavy metal stuff is amusing and all, and I like that too, but the mechanics are very solid for a game of its type.

I'll be happy to defend this view if it's worth doing, but since darrick is ordering the game I suspect he can judge for himself.
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M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2005, 09:50:31 PM »

it's almost no surprise that when my Empire of Satanis rpg came out, most people felt the need to rip on it.  in fact, tons of ass people seemed to immediately fly out of the woodwork, tripping over themselves to see who could bash my game first.  right now, i'm wondering what it is about SenZar and EoS that fills gamers with such indignation?!?
Actually, when Multiverser first came out, it got a lot of criticism, comparison to SenZar and Synnibar (which must have come out earlier than you say, as Multiverser hit the boards in the last days of 1997), and a lot of pigeon-holing from gamers who had never seen it but were sure they knew what it was all about.

There is out there a jaded gamer culture, gamers who have bought far too many games that promised much and delivered little, uncounted Fantasy Heartbreakers, "Storytelling" games that proved as gamist/simulationist as anything that had preceeded them, and more. Thus as soon as you say, "I've got this great new game" the response from these people is, "it can't be true". They immediately set out to prove that your game is not the wonder game you, in good faith, claim it to be, because they don't want to be burned yet again.

Eventually we got some reviews that said we actually did live up to our claims, and had produced a particularly good game; but for many of those gamers, the memory is that we said we had a good game and that really wasn't possible so we must have been lying.

You'll get good reviews and bad. Read them all; give a lot of thought to what they are saying. Also, take some time to read the boards and articles here, and think about your game in terms of what it's trying to do. If you can (and I know this is very difficult in the face of trying to market your own game) find time to play some of the truly innovative games here, to open your horizons a bit to what it is that the critics know that you don't. After all, many of those who write RPGnet reviews have read and played hundreds of games, so they're comparing yours to a much broader range of experience than you're likely to have, particularly if you've been very focused on writing and testing yours in recent years while the hobby has been growing outside your experience.

--M. J. Young
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daMoose_Neo
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Posts: 890


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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2005, 06:45:58 AM »

I've noticed you want to, generally, avoid the idea in promoting the title that your game is brand spanking new, revelotionary, will turn everything you know on your head unless you can get more than half of complete strangers to sit down and go "WOW! THAT is revelotionary!"
That, from what I see, is another huge mistake of the SenZar crew- not the self promotion, but the self glorification, and when like-minded reviews didn't follow suit they created alternate accounts/identities, and praised their own game as other players.
For best effect, say what your game is, lead in with a good morsel anyone can wrap their mind around. My Imp Game has some similarities to the others mentioned here, the ability for players to totally screw with the play at the table and introduce anything they want to in play; in fact, this is a principal part of playing. I don't, however, lead into it by saying "Its a revelotionary way of playing in a role-playing game- you can do anything you want!" I draw people in on the initial premise "You guys play common dungeon imps who perform the bidding of their "EEEEEEVIL" master. And you screw up a lot and all sorts of hilarious stuff happens. Oh, and when you want to do something, whether you make it or blow it, you get to decide what exactly happens!"
Context can go a long way to eliminate the whole "Oh, just another power-gamer's wetdream".
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Nate Petersen / daMoose
Neo Productions Unlimited! Publisher of Final Twilight card game, Imp Game RPG, and more titles to come!
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2005, 10:53:59 AM »

Quote
That, from what I see, is another huge mistake of the SenZar crew- not the self promotion, but the self glorification, and when like-minded reviews didn't follow suit they created alternate accounts/identities, and praised their own game as other players.
This sort of action killed the game DeadErth when Mytholder then followed up with his review of it.

But apparently these are not the only two cases of people trying to review their own games...

Mike
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darrick
Member

Posts: 65


« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2005, 04:00:13 PM »

thanks for chiming in guys.  don't sweat it Jasper.  actually, i'm thinking about a Satanis 2nd edition and would definitely like to improve the game.  (anyone want to help, i do take constructive criticism well) in fact, i've taken some good advice from people at the Forge, good reviews, and i even secretly steal a little advice from those who vocally despise EoS (mostly to make the game even more self-indulgently evil, dark, sick, purple-prosed... whatever).

i've heard about the condescending glorification from SenZar's creators.  i can see why people wouldn't like that, although one still has to promote and advertize somehow, hopefully setting oneself apart form the competition.  for whatever reason, i kind of admire their arch attitude and iron-clad belief in their game. 

yes, i ordered the game and am actually really excited to play it.  i also think it will make for a learning experience (both good and bad).

yeah, i think i was wrong about SenZar's publication date.  the first edition probably came out earlier.

i've reviewed my own game, however, i clearly stated that i, the author, am reviewing my own game.  (see GameWyrd).  also, i recently created a puppet account at rpg.net, but that was only to read some of the posts about my game's review and to post a similar question as this one, why don't people like intentionally dark/cool games especially when the creator takes the material seriously (not as a complete joke).  so now that my fake account at rpg.net has been discovered, i can't read the responses to the latest EoS review.  oh well.  maybe someone could cut and paste the thread to Evan Water's review and email it to me?  darrick@CultofCthulhu.net

thanks, D
http://www.CultofCthulhu.net
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Dr. Velocity
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Posts: 78


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« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2005, 08:08:00 PM »

I downloaded your game (EoS) and read through it months ago and have read a lot of the reviews of which you speak and would like to give my views.

As a fellow (apparently?) Lovecraft fan, I can appreciate your tribute and use of his truly intriguing and unfathomable Mythos - BUT - again, as a fan, I think a lot of fans see your mingling of an established universe with what I will unaccusingly call an "upstart" meme (it has nowhere near the age of the Mythos). I'm speaking straight from my first thoughts here now: bluntly, it ticks me off that you would merge your juvenile, bastardized heavy-metal, pop-culture Star Wars/"killer clown" antisocial pseudo-shock pablum with something that by its nature, has no form, and has an established body of literature, contemporaries and "accepted lack of definition".

Now, that was off the top of my head, and of course I don't REALLY care what you do, as I would include what I like or don't like in any game I run, but I think maybe a reaction similar to mine is what you may be up against; people that basically feel like you're taking a big steaming dump on a genre with a pretty heavy cult following, and basically killing it and destroying its magic by adding in silly ICP archetypes and other derivitive material you seem to be fond of.

Of all things, the best example to come to my head is from the show Full House (I know, I know...) - you may like tuna, and you may like ice cream - that doesn't make tuna-cream a good idea. Your name (Satanis) is laughable to ... well, pretty much anyone, myself certainly - people who are "into" the Cthulhu Mythos have no respect or time for such non-issues as Christian/Satanic divisions, as they simply do not apply at all, in any fashion, so its sorta like the kid brother trailing along with his Pokemon cards - sorta cute and pathetic but mostly frustrating.

Your game mechanics and such, eh, its been too long since I read it, it seemed okay, not my cup of tea but not horrible, but I don't think its your game mechanics that are giving you grief - I think its your seemingly clueless presumptiveness with someone else's "world" which, to me, is quite honestly, beyond the scope of your creativity to emulate and use proficiently.

I apologize if this came off harshly, but I think sometimes people should hear what someone else thinks (and you seem to be willing to listen, according to your statements), no punches pulled, no insults but no mollycoddling - just someone's honest personal thoughts. It may or may not reflect what other people think, it may or may not help you, and you may or may not put much stock in it, but there it is all the same, and I wish you the best.
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TMNT, the only game I've never played which caused me to utter the phrase "My monkey has a Strength of 3" during character creation.
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