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Author Topic: Chris's Standard Rant: "Innovative"  (Read 5167 times)
Bankuei
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« on: April 19, 2003, 11:20:03 PM »

This rant was something I posted to a thread on rpg.net in regards to originality, innovation, etc. (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?s=555618707ef2dd0564940f08674d04d0&threadid=45579)

This rant is a little more "gut level" and emotional than what I usually do, so take it with a grain of salt, but I think the points are still pretty valid.  Pretty much this just sums up Mike's Standard Rant #1 + Ron's Fantasy Heartbreakers + my own feelings.  

Quote
....My only beef is when folks come up with their uber-idea(game, book, movie, whatever) and haven't done any homework into researching how others have done it well or not. When we're talking games and folks scream "Revolutionary and New!" most of the time they're rehashing old stuff. D20 is many things, but it is not really "revolutionary", it takes the basic idea behind the Interlock system from R.Talsorian(Dice+Stat+Skill vs. TN) and adds the "Nifty power list" from White Wolf(Feats) both of which outdate D&D3E by 10 years at least.

Now, I've used D20 as an example, but I'm sure you've seen plenty of games out there, whether someone's home brew, a freebie off the net, or some game in a store, where it basically is D&D, GURPS, or Whitewolf in some form or another. My only trip with folks is that "Nifty Setting" + "I can't believe its not D&D/GURPS/WW!" (TM) System = Crap.

My only contention with folks and their "new ideas" is that I ask folks to really consider what they are doing and think about it. If I can play your game(Setting+System) and get the same experience from, say GURPS, why would I choose to play your game? Which is not to say that I consider any of the aforementioned games to be particularly great(or necessarily terrible), but I demand that folks take a little more time and attention to the actual play experience they want.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a firm believer that System Matters and that it can make far different play experiences, but most folks tend to just juggle around the names of stats and skills("Ah, but my game has Toughness AND Endurance, see? This dial goes to 11!"), play with some probabilities and call it a day. Most folks don't actually question the sacred cows of roleplaying, but simply take it as "How it MUST be", stuff like:

-Character Death/Removal from play
-Everything must be modeled/simulated according to "reality"(gotta have a strength stat, right?)
-Player knowledge and control is limited to player character knowledge and control
-The GM must keep things secret from the players
-The GM has the right to cheat, but the players don't
-Characters need to take a long time to improve
-Characters need to improve
-There needs to be a "skill/power" list, defining everything exactly
-Only the GM can set up and pace scenes

Where do neat ideas come from? What will be the next nifty idea?

It will come from folks who challenge the sacred cows and do things their own way. Consider some of the more recent games that have done so, from the Pool, Inspectres, octaNe, Dust Devils, the Riddle of Steel, and Trollbabe. Look at their concepts: Universal, Ghostbusters, B-movies, Wild West, Fantasy, and Fantasy, respectively. Each cover genres covered by other games, but the execution, the system gives very different play experiences.

All I'm saying is that if you want to push the envelope, look at folks who have already done so. The horizons may be much further than you previously thought.

We now conclude this rant and return you to your scheduled program. :P

Chris


Aside from the raw emotional outspill on my part, I'd like to actually turn this rant into a useful catalyst for some important discussion.  I'd like some of the more recent and new folks who are doing stuff in the Design forum to read this, and really consider these questions:

-What is the most innovative games you have seen?  If you know there's other nifty things out there, why haven't you checked them out?
-What does your game do different than any other game, and how does that unique aspect support your desired gameplay?

Although old hands are welcome to comment, I'd really like to hear from some of you newer folks regarding your views and thoughts regarding this rant and these questions.

Chris
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J. Backman
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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2003, 11:46:01 PM »

Quote from: Bankuei
I'd like some of the more recent and new folks who are doing stuff in the Design forum to read this, and really consider these questions:

-What is the most innovative games you have seen?  If you know there's other nifty things out there, why haven't you checked them out?
-What does your game do different than any other game, and how does that unique aspect support your desired gameplay?


To me, an innovative game either A) takes an old role-playing concept (whether it's a premise, a setting or a mechanic) and uses it in a new way (like Donjon did with dungeon crawling), or B) introduces a wholly new idea, some new way of doing things (The Pool with it's shared narration). It seems option B is getting rarer and rarer, mostly because quite a lot of things have been done with role-playing games.

What does *my* game do differently? I am tempted to say it currently features a very nifty little system that is totally new (I haven't seen similar mechanics anywhere), but I wouldn't say that the system makes it really innovative or unique. I find it much easier to focus on creating an interesting setting or a unique premise, and then combining them with rules that are not neccessarily revolutionary and new, but support the choices I've made with the setting / premise.
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Pasi Juhani Backman
anonymouse
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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2003, 11:54:22 PM »

Being one of the mentioned "new faces"..

Quote
-What is the most innovative games you have seen? If you know there's other nifty things out there, why haven't you checked them out?


a) Most innovative? Most everything here at the Forge. Clinton's stuff (particularly Donjon) pulled me into this whole seething mess of creativity, so I have a tendency to name his games off the cuff. But hanging around here, I see a whole bunch of people doing original - to me - takes on the whole roleplaying thing and, more importantly, doing it well.

So I don't feel like I can point to any particular game and say, "That does the most crazy shit of any game ever." I'd just have to point someone here, and have them look around.

b1) Money; specifically, the fact that a couple of these products I'd like to read up on (Riddle of Steel, Sorcerer) don't have PDF versions. The hardbound versions cost significantly more (and for good reason), and I just don't want to shell out that much, because of:

b2) Lack of time to actually play all the games I want to read. I went through the "buy every book put out for a franchise" thing years ago, and I regret it to this day. Telling myself that it's "just one book" doesn't work either; if there's little chance I'm going to get a good three or four months of gaming out of something, I don't buy it, no matter how cool and enlightening it probably is. Unless I see a copy super-cheap on eBay or something.

Quote
-What does your game do different than any other game, and how does that unique aspect support your desired gameplay?


Ehm. I don't really have a game yet; I'm messing about with Oracle, but when I finish that, it'll just be a free thing. It's not a heartbreaker of mine, just an idea I had that I'm spending some time on.

So I can't answer this question particularly well, if for no other reason than the point of your rant seems to be, "Don't say your game does anything different unless you've read a whole mess of stuff, newbie!" I think you're saying it with more tact, and you're directing it at the sort who aren't doing even a skim-research job, but.. *shrugs*

Small comment of my own, which may or may not be appropriate: innovation and originality are the least of my benchmarks. I'd much rather see something done well, than see something new for new-ness sake.
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Marco
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2003, 04:37:36 AM »

Quote

When we're talking games and folks scream "Revolutionary and New!" most of the time they're rehashing old stuff.

...

My only trip with folks is that "Nifty Setting" + "I can't believe its not D&D/GURPS/WW!" (TM) System = Crap.


Now, these aren't sayin' the same thing at all. I think *this*:

Quote
If I can play your game(Setting+System) and get the same experience from, say GURPS, why would I choose to play your game?


Might shed some light about why yer mixing the two messages.

And turning the rant (IMO) into something useful will require separating the two memes.

1. Nifty-setting + I-can't-believe (is that another way of saying "heartbreaker"?) ONLY equals crap

IFF (if and only if) I-can't-believe is:

A. Just code for "a bad game system." --or--
B. You consider the basic D20, WW, whatever crap. --or--
C. Nifty-setting = crap. This may be it, since you did use quotes. However, since the setting is usually a permutation of D&D, I think it falls into "A".

Now, A is circular. If *that's* the case yer goin "look, you have this setting, see, but your system's broke--so the experience isn't good." That's true, and the designer should wanna hear that (if s/he's askin') but it isn't all that insightful. The same applies for "C," really. And again, poorly made system equals crap isn't, y'know, a surprising message. It boils down to "bad is bad--and hey, good is good."

B. Is interesting. Now why's that because for the two to link together then NOT INNOVATIVE has to equal CRAP (in yer rant). If that's the case, then every main-line RPG that's got more than a 1st edition out would be crap, no?

I realize you might not be so hard if someone's add-commentary said "designed to improve my play experiences based on what I didn't like in White Wolf."

But be aware that you're discussing add-copy in the innovative stance, not really the game itself.

Now,

2. The third quote is key. Hero and GURPS don't play the same--right? I mean they're pretty much the same play *experience* in GNS terms--but the mechanics are different.  They both hit some of yer bullet points. They aren't credibly claimin' to be all that revolutionary outside of mechanical issues and technical issues like vendor-support.

And that's the answer: different mechanics *are* an improvement--possibly a substantial one (play GURPS Supers vs. Hero's Champions). An elves-and-dwarves fantasy game may not be "innovative" but it can still be a god-send to players if it changes the AD&D magic system. And you go and look at the heartbreakers essay and, yep, there's the 'wow!'

In otherwords, outside of marketing fluff, those games are what we might call "re-factored solutions" to AD&D. And even with marketing fluff, they're still *re-factored solutions* to AD&D. The marketing is not *deceptive.* It's just over-blown.

-Marco
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2003, 06:40:31 AM »

I think that you might be taking what Chris said slightly out of context. I don't *think* he's saying anything that falls into the categories you've mentioned is crap, but to claim that anything that falls into those categories... that's crap. You cannot really claim to be innovative unless you know that your game is something new. You cannot know that unless you've done your research.

The rant, from what I'm reading, isn't against games that play it safe, and are NOT revolutionary and innovative, but instead against games that claim to be innovative when they are, in fact, treading the same territory.

Take, for example, Recoil. Please? Just give it a try? Err, sorry. Take my own game-in-progress, Recoil as an example. I came up with the idea entirely on my own, based on a snippet of fiction I wrote while bored between classes. It is an original idea, because I did not take it from anything else. But is it innovative? Nope. It seems that Whispering Vault has already covered the territory, and covered it well.

But does that mean I should give up? I think no. Cyberpunk covered a given "genre" (for lack of a more appropriate term) quite well, but it didn't sit well with some. Me, for instance. Now, Shadowrun covers much the same territory, with many of the same themes. If you remove the whole meta-human and magic returning concepts, and make it a purely cyberware, technology-based game, I would still enjoy it more because the themes and focus sit better with me. Shadowrun did a valid cover of the same territory (with some obvious additions). So do I think that Recoil can do the same. The basic concepts are the same, but the specifics differ, and I think the differences are enough to give my game a solid foundation.

To answer Chris's questions (though I hope I'm past being considered "new" despite still being one who has yet to complete a game..):

The most innovative games I've seen: The Riddle of Steel, for it's approach to Combat, and moreso it's approach to player-driven stories; the SAs. Sorcerer, for it's method of encouraging the players to be more proactive in description and color, as well as a way to make the story move (kickers and bang-driven story) InSpectres for it's totally player-based story (Never have I seen a system that encourages the GM to sit back and let the players tell HIM the story.) and the Pool for the concept of allowing the players to dictate the results of their character's rolls, a concept I'm shamelessly borrowing for Recoil.

What does my game (currently Recoil, as Mage Blade is shelved) do differently? Admittedly, not a whole lot. But I'm not really trying to innovate a lot here. I'm trying to put together a good system which combines solid concepts from a variety of sources in an integrated manner to drive the goals of game play, and explore a given concept (champions trying to save reality from those who would destroy it) from a different angle.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Marco
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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2003, 07:15:45 AM »

Hey Lance,

I dig ya. And I'm cool with the rant (it being a rant and all, stuff gets said that isn't necessiarly, y'know, what the speaker (writer) meant.)

But if that's true, then lookit all the guys pouring through GURPS and going "on page 192 he's talking illusionism--on page 74, it's not what's going on here!?"

Nothin's going on. Someone writes a 200-page game and their add-copy says it's original: big surprise? Someone 10 years ago is flailing around tryin' to figure out how to describe role-playing or to dash off some 'good' advice and suddenly 'GURPS is designed/intended/whatever to support illusionist play?' There're people who write letters to big corporations claiming their adds are false advertising becuse a Bud doesn't materilize the Sweedish Bikini team.

Brian Gleichman did a buncha reviews of games based on their stated design goals and mechanics--'cept the problem was he mostly couldn't find any (stated goals--he found th mechanics). When there was, does a claim of originality (and does, you know, TFT really count? I was gaming then and *I* didn't own it) get superceded by in-depth notes? The other way round?

Since most games don't come with serious designer notes and statements of intent I know all we got is the add-copy--but really that's just what they thought was cool about their game.

If ya look at Heartbreaker-#159 and go "done ... done ... done ... done ... okay, moderately new magic system--but hey, there's no other game that puts it all together like this" that's like saying yer aunt Mercy's award winning recipie for chocolate meat-loaf just isn't innovative because meatloaf and chocolate date back to the 1865 West-Indies Meatloaf for Coco Compact (even tho they've never been mixed before).

It might be true ... but does it *get* you anywhere ... and if it turns out that the chocolate meatloaf has a following then ... is it still crap? Is it even rant-worthy? who's bein' wronged?

I got no problem with sayin' do your homework--but ... is all that's wrong with these games the foreward? Or are we sain' "these really just aren't up to standard[/u]?"

If the latter's the case, then don't bother with the add-copy and just stick to "I saw yer game and there is no reason to play it."

-Marco
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Valamir
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2003, 07:16:39 AM »

I think in the above "crap" was unfortunate rant short hand for "waste of time...why didn't you just use GURPs/d20 etc...because what you have isn't remotely better enough than those for me to take the time to learn it when I already know these"
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Green
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2003, 07:33:39 AM »

I understand what you're saying, Chris, and it's frequently a concern of mine when I hear about people's game systems.  I think it all boils down to the fact that they are so focused on providing a different system that they don't think about what they want the system to do.  If all you really want is an easier/more realistic/more flexible way of playing another game system, I think that prolonged tinkering may be better than developing a new system (sort of what I'm doing for Changeling).  But, if you are trying to take the genre in a new direction or provide a means of facillitating a certain style of playing, I think developing a new game is a good idea.  I would certainly encourage that.

In my own game, Kathanaksaya, my goal is to facillitate a style of character creation and roleplaying that is centered on story (in the literary sense).  It is blatantly and unashamedly Narrativist in its goals and design, and I like it that way.  Of course, there are Simulationist elements as well, but this has more to do with the internal workings of the character as opposed to anything within the setting or genres that could be applied to the game.

I am, however, hesitant to call it truly innovative.  It was after I had finished the initial draft of my game that I heard about Universalis, but after reading up on it, I was satisfied that my game was significantly different enough to warrant its existence, so I continue working on it to this day.
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Marco
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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2003, 07:35:46 AM »

Hey Val,

Well, GURPS, y'know, is broken (Supers). Mutants and Mastermind's (D20) broken too. JAGS: broken. Every system is broke somewhere for something. Meebe if what you really want is AD&D with new races and a different magic system it hits the right spot. All those big name games you already know won't do *something* (armor degredation, usually, thank God).

But I'm not sure I buy the "it's crap because I already know D20" argument anyways: These people (the game creators) already know about the big names too. They know D20. They know White Wolf. their claim of innovation is referant to those[/u] games--the ones you mentioned--not Whispering Vault or TFT. Their whole pitch is why you should play Twisty Corridors instead of AD&D.

-Marco
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clehrich
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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2003, 08:07:41 AM »

If I understand you right, Chris, you're saying (parallel to Mike's Standard Rant #2, as you mention) that the constant claim of originality is very annoying, because it usually masks a lack of originality.  But where I'm a bit unclear is why you think it's like this, or what you think people ought to do about it.  Mike's thing is that game designers need to study huge numbers of games so they know the field; maybe you think that too, but it doesn't seem to be your focus.

My interpretation of your rant, and please correct me where I go astray, is that you think a game with "I can't believe it's not" as a system might as well sell itself as such, i.e. as a Neat New Setting for GURPS or whatever.  In addition, you think that when people look to do exciting things in gaming, they ought to focus on tipping some sacred cows, which generally isn't going to happen through a cosmetic shift of setting.  Have I got that right?

Personally, I'd want to extend this in a slightly different direction.  While I agree with Marco that a lot of this is just advertising copy, that isn't a sufficient explanation, because you can certainly advertise on other grounds.  That is, instead of saying, "All new system!  Breaks new ground!  Like nothing before!" you could say, "Why use that boring old universe for your games, when you could use this amazing, nifty, and detailed one?  Come to Blargavulia, land of romance, elves, vampire unicorns, and monkeys with flamethrowers!" or whatever.  You don't have to base ad copy on originality.  You could also base your ad copy precisely on being a supplement: "You've played GURPS (tm) but you find the combat system isn't realistic enough?  Well, with Violence and Hideous Behavior (tm) that's all changed!  Just use this instead of the system on pages XX-XX of the GURPS main rulebook, and you'll be scraping giblets off the walls in no time!"  My point being: advertise what's good and different about your product, and if that's not its originality, don't claim that it is.  I'd like to see RPGs get past the idea that originality is necessary for quality; in point of fact, I wouldn't mind seeing a game that explicitly bills itself as a complete "fix" of a very original but broken game.  Admittedly, there'd be some legal issues, but that's life in the US.

-------
As to innovative games, I don't know the field well enough to say, actually, nor do I get to play enough games anyway.

As to my game's innovations, I genuinely believe that the way http://auroragames.com/pdf/shadows.pdf" target="blank">Shadows in the Fog uses Tarot cards for magic is new.
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Chris Lehrich
Kester Pelagius
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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2003, 09:11:07 AM »

Greetings,

Quote from: Bankuei
-What is the most innovative games you have seen?  If you know there's other nifty things out there, why haven't you checked them out?


Innovative is really a matter of opinion.  For some it may be the premise and setting, for others the mechanics of a system that they feel to be innovatove.  Too, 9 times out of 10 there, is likely to be another system out there that does something similar.

For instance "Dust Devils" comes to mind as an innovative game, in that it fits its premise to its mechanic rather well.  But was it really innovative or just my lack of knowledge of extant systems out there that makes me think so?

Games like Rifts, Space: 1889, Call of Cthulhu, The Morrow Project, Paranoia, Boot Hill, Spelljammer, Toon, Gamma World, and Bunnies & Burrows could be considered innovative because they introduced non-standard milieus as world settings.  Of course those are all old games.  SO. . .

What about octaNE, isn't that just a rehashing of old ideas already found in Gamma World, Aftermath, Twilight 2000, and various other games and supplements set in a post-apocalyptic future?

The use of the psychotronic labels could be considered rather innovative, certainly I can't think of another system like it off the top of my head.  ANd I am sure others here can probably think of a few more things to add about this game that sets it apart.

But how do we know when something is really innovative?  Is it even important to know?

Perhaps when a system or idea becomes a trend that is mimicked by others that is a good measure.  Then again D20 is rather prolific, lots of people are using it, but is it innovative?


Quote from: Bankuei
-What does your game do different than any other game, and how does that unique aspect support your desired gameplay?


Crypt Fiend allows for the gaming group to randomly generated their characters using dice, with the caveat that one special characters will allow a player to be starting Game Master.  During play the system is designed to allow for an interchange of secondary and even primary characters.  I've borrowed many ideas from trick taking card games, the idea being to allow for a more interactive experiance amongst the players that isn't so much centered upon character foibles as it is allowing the players to have fun.


Crystal Spheres is rather traditional and probably not very innovative.  It's powered by a metamechanic that essentially allows for a mutable active difficulty die pool vs. a static TN to indicate success or failure.  The setting is a multiverse which, like most multiverses, is designed to allow for exploration of distant planets.  However the basic tropes used are pretty much Space Opera in a fantasy setting.  As to what it does that is different: I've tried to incorporate real life data, but not in a 'text book' sort of presentation, to set up the basic premise.  Also you can create a ship and crew and literally play them as a unit, thus allowing players to explore space or adventure to their hearts content from the get go.

I believe Matt Snyder* is working on something remotely similar to the above, at least in basic premise.   However his game world is being designed as a singular campaign setting and thus is likely to allow for a more innovative feel 'out of the box' than might Crystal Spheres since it (CS) relies heavily on standard tropes and mechanics.


Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius


*  Just searched it.  Discussion about it can be found here.


edited to correct attribution error.
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"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri
Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2003, 09:23:43 AM »

Quote from: Bankuei
-What is the most innovative games you have seen?

I've said it before, I'll say it again. De Profundis is the most innovative game I have come across. It's the one that blows my socks off. I won't go into it here, unless asked, but get a copy.
Quote
-What does your game do different than any other game, and how does that unique aspect support your desired gameplay?

I currently don't have a game. I was working on a game I was calling the Wheel, but most of the unique features were covered by Universalis and it looks like Ever-After will cover the rest. I may pick it up again later, but right now it seems pointless to me.
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2003, 10:33:34 AM »

Ian Millington's Ergo was the first thing that blew my mind; it's an early essay on the possibilities of GM-less play.  Totally influenced Ever-After/Storypunk/GMisDead in no uncertain terms.

My all time top 5 (in the order I discovered them) are:

1. Ergo
2. Fudge
3. Continuum
4. Nobilis
5. Universalis

By the way, here's a paragraph from my still-in-the-works Universalis review:

Quote
Let me forego the usual bluster and get right to the point: Universalis, in a manner similar to Rebecca Sean Borgstrom's Nobilis, represents a revolution not so much in ideas as achievement.  For years, designers and theorists postulated that fortuneless, resource-distribution-based roleplaying was not merely possible, but could be built into a complex rule system, without resorting to freeform play.  But nobody actually sat down and did itÖ until Nobilis.  Similarly, for years, designers and theorists have postulated that GM-less play & world-building could also be supported by a system specifically designed for it (see Ian Millingtonís http://www.collaborativeroleplay.org/games/ian/ergo"> Ergo, an early advocate for GM-less, "collaborative" roleplaying).  But again, nobody stepped up to the plate to design such a system, though games like Soap, Pantheon, Baron Munchausen, and Once Upon a Time skirted that territory.

Until Universalis.
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Bankuei
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« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2003, 11:38:07 AM »

Hi folks,

Glad to see that my random rant at least has people thinking.  I'll try to address some of the points that folks have brought up.

Marco-

You are right, I am mixing messages.  The point of the rant is to get folks to really think about:

1) What is unique about their game? (or more specifically, "What unique gameplay experience does your game provide?")
2) Are there any assumptions that are preventing them from exploring, further developing, or delving deeper into things that might further their creative agenda in creating that unique experience?

Why should people think about it?  Simple- When you design, you've got some really cool-ass idea in your head, some form of gameplay that you think will rock.  If you're going out of your way to make a new game, there is some form gameplay experience that you're looking for that another game does not provide.  What is that experience?  How can you provide it by using the same set of design criteria/assumptions?

That's like doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

In fact, if no one really responded to the rant, but takes the idea of really thinking about what their gameplay experience goal is, and how they want to acheive it, that's good enough for me.

Think of the rant as less of an argument to prove a point and more of a "stirring up waters" to get people thinking.  In actuality, I don't really care about the ad copy and selling points of games, I was just using it as a point to show games that failed to understand that "juggling stats and probabilities" alone, does not make for a new game.

Chris
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John Kim
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« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2003, 06:43:54 PM »

Quote from: Bankuei
-What is the most innovative games you have seen?  If you know there's other nifty things out there, why haven't you checked them out?
-What does your game do different than any other game, and how does that unique aspect support your desired gameplay?
...
The point of the rant is to get folks to really think about:
 1) What is unique about their game? (or more specifically, "What unique gameplay experience does your game provide?")
 2) Are there any assumptions that are preventing them from exploring, further developing, or delving deeper into things that might further their creative agenda in creating that unique experience?

OK, my response to this rant is as someone who is a game consumer and critic but not really a game designer (not yet, anyhow).  I buy and write things first and foremost for my own enjoyment.  In theory, I feel that innovation is important, and sometimes out of guilt I will buy a product touted by others as innovative.   However, that said, in practice what I really enjoy most out of game purchases is quality of execution and material -- not innovation.  

At my most recent game store visit yesterday I got the "Slayers Handbook" for the Buffy RPG from Eden Studios, "Soap" from Wingnut Games, and six or so miniatures. Of these, I expect to get the most from the Buffy supplement.  The Buffy RPG is probably my favorite of the last few years, despite some flaws in execution.  I am playing in a campaign which is currently on hold but which hopefully will start again.  The miniatures are for a specific campaign an idea I have for a miniatures-based but story-oriented campaign.  "Soap", on the other hand, is my guilt purchase.  It didn't really grab me as a product, especially since I have the free version, but I want to support such games.
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- John
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