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When does an idea need a new system?

Started by Balbinus, April 12, 2002, 02:24:06 PM

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Lance D. Allen

[quote+"Stivven"]After all a game rarely leaps fully formed from the head of the designer <grin>. [/quote]

Oh, if it were that easy... ::smirks::
~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls

Andrew Martin

Seth L. Blumberg wrote:
> On the other hand, I am greatly frustrated by the incoherency of the rules that accompany some of my favorite published settings. This puts me in the position of frequently trying to amend broken games with house rules or wholesale porting of rule systems from unrelated games, which is just like game design except that, when you're done, you can't put your name on your work.

> From my point of view, therefore, the answer to the question "When does an idea need a new system?" is, "When it's less frustrating to try to create a new system than to watch the idea be crushed beneath the weight of a system that doesn't support it."

I agree totally with Seth. It's why I write my own game systems or mechanics, just to fix games that come pre-broken as it were. It's highly frustrating to play a new game and find that the game system doesn't support what the rest of the setting is about, or that "pulls" or "pushes" the game setting into reflecting the game mechanics reality.
Andrew Martin

Misguided Games

Anyone still here?

I just discovered Ron's Heartbreaker article today, and read it with much interest.  I then did a search on the forum, looking for more discussion of the subject and found this thread.

**The following may be totally influenced by my personal affection for Earthdawn**
Ron, you uttered what appeared to be a "throw-away" remark that ED was a "miserable failure".  I can't let go so easily.  It may be that since you are in Chicago, you are privy to far more than I am in this regard, but in what sense would you call Earthdawn a failure?

At the time, I thought it was a work of art.  The system, in my opinion, was unique, albeit a bit clunky, and well suited to the game.  I have enjoyed the game immensely as a tabletop and PBEM system.  Earthdawn was also very high profile and, according to Lou Prosperi, profitable (I suspect this is where we have differing info).  Granted the game was not maintained long-term, but was this more a case of Earthdawn being a miserable failure, or FASA deciding they had better ways to allocate their resources?

As for when a game needs a new system, I think that depends on many factors.  The best answer I can give is when existing systems won't provide the results you want.  For CotS, I had a clearly defined initial premise, and some assumptions and ideas I wanted to see incorporated.  i don't consider myself a game designer, truthfully, and it seemed to me to be far easier to design from the ground up than to reingineer someone else's work.