Saturday, June 30, 2012

Gamey Tastes and The Moody Blues

Generally speaking, I prefer my RPGs to have game mechanics that stay out of my way once I start playing. That need not mean that have to be simple or rules lite. Champions for example, which many see as very complex, is pretty easy to run. A game with seemingly complicated character creation is OK if the actual running of the game, engaging in combat and making skill checks if need be, is all fairly simple.

Now, every once in a while, I like to change up and play a RPG where the game gets in your face a bit. Not too much or all the time but you are definitely aware of some of the mechanics and they add an extra challenge or provide the game (and this is key) with a built in vibe or atmosphere.

These 'Gamey Games' as I call them are fun for me as they make me change my approach and execution when running a campaign that uses them. I need not focus on the game elements but I know I can't ignore them either.

As a friend said just yesterday in a discussion about music, "Sometimes we purposely do things we wouldn't normally do or don't really even favor, just to see if we can get a different result. It's an attempt to challenge ourselves so we don't get stuck in a place from which we can't expand. Sometimes you need to do something artistically uncomfortable or you'll end up repeating what you already know."

Now I can already see everyone from the art conscious to the RPG grognard getting up in a tither so let me clarify with the following:

YOU (Personally) DON'T HAVE TO (Must Do It or Die) DO ANYTHING (In regards to the above statements).

You wouldn't think you'd need to say that but you also wouldn't think you need a warning label on matches alerting you to the possibility that the product may catch fire.

The above quote comes from how this person feels about their music and the process of making it and it struck a chord with me (no pun intended but it's nice to have it there) in regards to how I feel about gaming.

She also noted the she sometimes makes up rules or limitations on her thought process for a given piece in order to facilitate her brain's creative problem solving ability. How can I follow these rules or given parameters and still make something creative that gets my message across.

This is basically the same thing you see in the random rolls on charts in RPGs. Now granted, I largely dislike the over use of charts and random rolling of everything as it feels (to me and me alone, OK?) like a bit of a cop out. Sometimes random rolls inspire and sometimes you are letting someone else do your thinking for you.

In regards to random charts as inspiration, I certainly love the character creation rules and superpowers charts from good ol' Villains & Vigilantes. I may roll some wacky combos of powers but often I roll up a character I know I probably wouldn't have thought up.

Now what's the point of this post? Why mention this?

Well, that gets me to the
Moody Blues part.

You see, after running Champions, I am very much in the mood for a 'Gamey Game'. A generally rules light, indie game with some odd or interesting mechanic or other that makes the players look up and say, "Oh! We are playing a new game. This is something different."

My problem is, though some of my current players are a bit more flexible in trying new things than perhaps the average gamer, none of them are very much into games of this nature. No, their preferences lie somewhere between the detailed but abstract mechanics of a Champions or a D&D and a near simulationist mentality, attempting to emulate the faux-realism of the world their character live in.

Now, in my wildest dreams (wink), I could come up with a game that makes everybody happy by meeting a majority of the criteria of the types of games we all want to play.

For now, I've got Gamey Tastes and the Moody Blues,

Barking Alien

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