Wednesday, August 24, 2016

RPGaDay Challenge 2016 - Day 19

For me the best way to learn a game is to play it.

I have a few reasons for this, but the main one is that by playing the game, not reading it, you are thinking of it as a game, not as a set of rules.

Allow me to clarify a little...

I, as both a player and a GM, de-emphasize the rule mechanics of the games I play unless there is some system bit that is so freakin' brilliant I feel the need to point it out. Usually though, I don't want the participants in the game thinking about the rules as much, or more than, they are thinking about what is going on in the game.

When you read through the rules first, the rules remain prominent in your mind. If you're one of those obsessive rules lawyer types, the mechanics end up sitting in the front row of your brain with their extra large popcorn, huge soda, and wearing a large hat so that your ability to get involved in the story, and characters is largely blocked.

When I teach others a new system (something I feel like I do fairly often) we play until a rule comes up, and then it's, "OK, our first die roll (card drawn, or whathaveyou). Here's what we do...".

Often, I won't have a fight in the first session of a planned campaign with a new rules system. The first session will be focused on the characters, the setting, the story, the rules for social and/or investigative elements, and perhaps a bit of how Experience Points (or something similar) work to improve your character at the end. 

The next session introduces combat, be it hand-to-hand, with weaponry, magic, psionics, or super powers as appropriate, and/or spaceship battles. With each additional session a new rules is likely to come up from time, to time as PCs want to, and try to do more and more varied things.

There you go, my game learning philosophy. Pretty simple.

Bare in mind, I played Champions 3rd Edition for nearly 2 years without knowing any of the rules. When I first saw the rules for Champions years earlier I was like, "Nooo. No thank you!" I ended up loving it as a game because I played it, enjoyed it, and then asked, "So, how does this work exactly?"

Barking Alien

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