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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 70 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: The problem with published rpgs (rant, long)  (Read 2773 times)
Hunter Logan
Member

Posts: 86


« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2003, 01:38:44 PM »

No part of my statement was intended as an attack. I hope people aren't reading it that way. I had a lot of different ideas to put across, and I really didnt know what to expect. I'm relieved people are getting something out of the thread. I know some people don't agree with what I've said, but that's okay. Whether I respond directly or not, I'm reading everything that's posted. Thank you all for your responses.
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Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1962


WWW
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2003, 02:48:24 PM »

I did not see the comment about talking here detracting from the actual design of games as an attack, simply as a stated opinion, esp. considering that he declared it specifically a rant.

Now, I disagree with the stated opinion, as many people obviously do, but I see no reason to defend myself.

For much of the original post, I was nodding along. It made a certain sense. However, where I disagree is that "talk is cheap". Game design is a great thing, because it is a pure form of creation. However, The act of creation does not make the created object "good". My very first RPG-design attempt, Dragon's Legend, would have Ron pouncing on it with his rubber stamp of "Fantasy Heartbreaker" in milliseconds. It was a workable game for a kid whose mother was leary of D&D, and who had no money to buy games even if she'd have let him. But it was hardly good. All the essays, theory, discussion and examples here on the Forge have increased my understanding of what makes a worthwhile game, and kept me from spewing creations with little originality or worth out, and becoming all the more frustrated by my failures to get people interested.

Additionally, for people like me discussion is crucial. I'm very much a feedback-driven creator. It takes an immense amount of obsession for me to continue working on a project that no one else is interested in. By sharing my ideas with others, not only did I refine them, but I got the feedback that helped me to continue on, and finally come to something that resembles a finished product. If I weren't typing here, I wouldn't be typing there, either.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


WWW
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2003, 10:26:47 PM »

Quote from: Buried somewhere in that massive starting post, Hunter Logan
Every word written here is one less word going into a game.
I'm embarrassed to say that I read it, and it didn't sink in at all until Pete Darby quoted it the next day. Pete's right.

I do benefit from being here. Knocking ideas around with the likes of Ron Edwards, John Kim, Bruce Baugh--I'll stop before I embarrass myself by forgetting too many of you--is very good for the ideas engine. However, I spend an inordinate amount of time reading forum posts here. Why do I do this? Because I think I can contribute something.

I think probably you've read my http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/23/">Applied Theory article here. I could not have written that a year ago; it is a much more refined understanding of the GNS theory than I had when I created the http://www.mjyoung.net/rpg/gametype.html">Gamers Preferences Quiz a few years ago--and the theory itself has become more refined in that time as well. I'd like to think that at some point I contributed to that refinement (at least the notion that a single player could have different goals at different points in play). Neither I nor the theory could have advanced without discussion, to the degree it has.

The question then is, does that article increase the quality and number of games, or does it waste the time of people who could be creating them? I could certainly find something else to do with my time--I really do have game products in the works on which I could be writing, typing, mapping, editing, even now. Sometimes those products benefit from these discussions; but I could just read and get much of the benefit in less time.

In ministry, it is axiomatic that the truly great ministers are the ones know one knows. Dr. J. Edwin Orr is not a household world; but it was part of his ministry that helped Billy Graham, Campus Crusade for Christ's Bill Bright, former Senate Chaplain Dick Halverson, and half a dozen other relatively famous and visibly successful ministers find their focus and get started. How many better games have been written because Ron Edwards periodically publishes another free article about these theories? How many times has he stated on one of these boards that something has suddenly become clearer to him because of the discussions?

Twenty years ago, Ron and I and a few others might have stumbled on each other, and shared ideas through correspondence slowly over time, helping each other find new approaches and insights, which led to a few games from each of us. Today that can be shared with hundreds.

If no one is benefitting from my contributions here, why am I making them?

I'll consider that rhetorical.
Quote from: Now to turn around and pick on what Pete Darby
And, to channel Ryan Dancey for a moment, the multiplicity of game systems leads to a breakdown of Network Externalities: many people inside and outside the hobby baulk at learning new rule sets, no matter the lightness of the rules.
And this is unique to what?

I can't get my wife to learn Bridge. She knows Pinochle, Canasta, Pit, Casino, and Gin, at least (she's played Whist, Rummy, and a slew of other games), but she doesn't think there's any reason to learn another card game. She can't get me to play Canasta, because I've been creamed too many times at that game and really don't enjoy it. People who have found a game or a few games they like, in the main, don't keep buying or learning more of them. There are, of course, exceptions. We buy several board games every year, and have our eyes out for some that we once had but lost, and keep playing the old ones. We're not happy with all the ones we've got, but we do play a lot of them recurrently. Most people, if they own three board games they figure that's enough for all the game nights they're likely to have for the rest of their lives. If it's true for card players and board game players that they tend to settle on one or a small number of games after a while and not try new things, why should it be different for role playing gamers? I think most of the designers who try to break out with something new and different do so because they think they've got something for players who have not found satisfaction yet. For me, I had three problems with the games I had played. One was that I liked to play in a lot of different milieus, settings, and genres, but that meant I had to have a lot of different games going, and I had to go from one to another from week to week--and not all the players wanted to play in all the same kinds of worlds as I.  The second was that I hated character death; I grew very attached to my characters, and didn't see any reason why they couldn't live for the rest of my life.  Thirdly, I hated to have the stories end. I wanted to know what happened next. When Multiverser came along, and I saw how elegantly this addressed my problems (and others), I became involved in trying to make it available to everyone. Similarly, Ron created Sorcerer to be the game he had been seeking, with the belief that there were other gamers out there seeking something similar. New games aren't for the people who have found the games that make them happy; they're for the people who are still looking, still trying new things. That's true in every hobby, isn't it?

--M. J. Young
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Hunter Logan
Member

Posts: 86


« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2003, 01:45:07 PM »

As this is my thread, I will take the last word. Clearly, the last paragraph of my rant was problematic for some people, and I take the responsibility for not being better able to articulate my thoughts. I suggest that people not read too much into it. Hindsight being 20/20, I probably should have simply omitted that paragraph; but we all know about "coulda, woulda, shoulda." Of all the comments, Gordon's response hits closest to what I intended. Gordon, thanks for that.  If anyone has a reason to feel offended, Mike Holmes would be highest on the list. Of all the games I have seen or read about lately, Universalis is one that really does seem to do everything I was talking about and thinking about in terms of stretching the envelope. From all the data I can gather, it is an outstanding effort, and I intend to procure a copy in the near future. Unless someone has something truly new or different to offer, I consider this thread closed.
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Jeph
Member

Posts: 338

Jeff Schecter


« Reply #19 on: August 17, 2003, 05:45:22 PM »

Jeff reads Hunter's post, smiling slightly and nodding to himself. Then he reaches the final paragraph, tilts his head 45 degrees, grimaces confusedly. "WTF?"

Jeff frowns.

Whatever. Jeff acknowledges that he should be getting off to bed, and talking about himself in the third person is unhealthy. He'll think about it later, and maybe make more intelligent comments when his brain has cleared.

Jeff is going to go do stuff now.
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Jeffrey S. Schecter: Pagoda / Other
Hunter Logan
Member

Posts: 86


« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2003, 07:29:50 PM »

Sorry, Jeph. Your point has been more than adequately covered. This thread is closed now. Thank you.
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Clinton R. Nixon
Member

Posts: 2624


WWW
« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2003, 06:31:54 AM »

For the future, please note that only moderators can close threads. With that said, Hunter's right here in that the discussion seems to have run its course.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
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