Archive for January, 2004

January 27, 2004: 9:31 pm: Miscellaneous

The small list of RPGs that I’m likely to buy in the not too distant future is slowly growing, though so far it only includes Nobilis, My Life With Master, and maybe HeroQuest (which would be a more likely purchase if the rulebook was hardcover).

I’m thinking of adding Unknown Armies to the list, and I was wondering if anyone had any comments (positive or negative) about either the system itself or the second edition rulebook.

January 19, 2004: 10:34 pm: Game WISH

WISH 81: My Favorite System

What’s your favorite game system, and why? What things don’t you like about it? How much do you have to “jigger” it from published rules and why?

Hmmm….I don’t really see myself as a system-oriented sort of player (or GM), so this is a tough one. There are quite a few games that I like, but that’s usually because of their ideas, atmosphere and world, rather than because of the specifics of their mechanics.

For the sake of the question though, I’ll pick the Amber Diceless RPG, only because it’s the one I’ve played the most over the past few years. Of course, that usually means tossing the auction, trashing the sorcery, fiddling with the artifact rules….okay, maybe this wasn’t the best choice, but it does illustrate my basic point. Even when a system is flawed, if I like the ideas behind it, I’ll tend to like the game. Near-perfect mechanics that are presented in a dry way just don’t arouse much enthusiasm, and, IMO, it’s easier to tweak rules than to fix a boring setting.

January 9, 2004: 9:49 pm: Game WISH

WISH 80: Finding a New Group

How do you go about finding a new gaming group?

That’s a good question. I think networking is the most important thing, as most gaming groups I’ve been in have involved just happening to know the right person at the right time.

The problem I’ve run into since I left college long ago is finding local gamers at all. Currently my friend Jenn and I are driving almost two hours (each way) to play in a once-a-month game, and I was making that drive for several years before I met her. That’s been my only steady source of gaming, and I like the people there, but it would be nice to not have to make that much of a journey for a game, in part because it might well mean playing in more games.

Finding a new group to game with, when you don’t live in an urban area with lots of local gamers to choose from, can be frustrating, and I’m sorry to say that I don’t know of any secrets to make it less so. Even once you find other gamers, there’s every possibilities that clashing personalities and tastes will result in only a short-lived gaming experience.

Hmmm….this answer is ending up being more depressing than I’d intended when I started writing it.

: 9:26 pm: Game WISH

WISH 79: Ideal Cast Size

What do you think is the best cast size for the games you’ve played? What are the factors that go into your answer: genre, play group, gaming system, etc.?

As a general rule, I think the way I look at the ratio is that less roleplaying allows more players, as long as their aren’t so many players that they make combat scenes unwieldy for the players or the GM.

Then there are all the other factors to take into account. Some GMs do better than others with larger groups, regardless of the system. Some players want or need more attention than others. Some systems work better with a certain number of characters.

I think this comes down to another, “It depends.”

: 9:10 pm: Game WISH

WISH 78: Two Characters, One Game

Do you think allowing one player to play more than one character in a game is a good or bad idea? Does the style of the game make any difference? What about the format (FTF, PBeM, etc.)?

Since I’m catching up on Game WISHes, I’ll just give the short answer for this one, which is, “It depends.”

I think, as some of those who have answered this question already have said, that the main determinant is the amount of roleplaying that is expected. It’s just hard for a player to really give more than one character the attention they deserve. In a game where deep roleplaying is required, I think having more than one character will almost inevitably result in one of the player’s characters becoming a well-drawn main character, while the others end up as roughly drawn sidekicks.

Having said that, I think that in more combat-oriented games (like D&D), having more than one character can work out just fine, and, for smaller gaming groups, may actually be the best way to go.

As for different formats, multiple characters who require RP are obviously going to work better in a PBeM setting, especially if the two characters don’t appear in the same scenes.