True Weakness vs. Perceived Weakness

This army sucks.

Why would you take that model? It’s horrible.

Don’t play that class – it’s pathetic compared to the others.

Sound familiar? I’m willing to bet it does. This language tends to permeate gaming no matter if it’s board gaming, roleplaying, table top battle games or pc/console games.

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The Fall Of the Game Company

Happy New Year to all!


Bit late with that – but better late than never!

I’ve been watching Games Workshop’s flailing stock numbers over the last year. Ever since the ‘Great Fall’ in the beginning of 2014, I’ve looked almost daily. I find the whole thing to be a new fascination of mine. I never followed stock markets before this.

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The Importance of Story

The games that we all play (at least if you are reading this, the games YOU play) are mostly fun based on their rules. The rules of a game are paramount to the experience of that game, be it a roleplaying game, board game, table top battle game, etc…

Rules give the frame-work that all people sharing the experience can work with and have the same expected outcomes. Playing a game like Warhammer or Firestorm Armada will give a specific set of instructions for moving play pieces and attacking enemy models. Board games like Eclipse and Terra Mystica give rules for expansion and interaction of the players on that board. Roleplaying games super impose a unified system for skill checks, spell casting and fighting. All of these rules in a game are universal to all the players in that game. We all need to be on the same page.

But outside of the rules, there is the story.

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Hard-core Gamers vs Casual Gamers vs the “Nothing Better to Do” Crowd

Hard-core : according to the Merriam Webster online dictionary it means “very active and enthusiastic”. Of course it has some other pornography meanings as well, but I don’t talk about that style of ‘roleplaying’ here 😉

We’ve all met people who are really hard-core about various games. They are super into it. Sometime really into a certain game, or character class. Other times they are just super enthusiastic about gaming in general. It’s not that this is a bad thing, it’s just that the act of gaming is an incredibly important aspect of a gamer’s life.

If gaming was a prison, these people would be lifers. They will likely game all their lives. I think I’m one of them. Continue reading

The Fine Line Between a Fan and a Fanatic

Lets put aside the etymology of the word ‘fan’ having derived from ‘fanatic’ for a moment. In the modern world, these words almost have totally different meanings now. Especially so in the gaming word.

So what is the difference?

Well a fan is someone who simply likes something. You could be a fan of Star Wars or Star Trek. You could be a fan of d20’s in roleplaying games. You could even be a fan of fans if it’s especially warm out. It’s pretty all encompassing for a general pleasure derived from something. Mostly in gaming terms you are either a fan of a game, or you aren’t.

So what is a fanatic? In short – it’s everything a fan is, but worse.

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Adventures in Roleplaying Game Design

As a child, I was introduced to my first roleplaying game. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, 2nd edition. It captivated me at the young age of 9 and drove my interest in roleplaying. Something I still enjoy some 25 years later.

AD&D 2e was a great game when I was introduced to it, but it wasn’t a great work of art in regards to being the ‘perfect’ roleplaying game. The system was fun, but flawed. Some classes were much, much better than others and some rules were imbalanced. I think this is a common line with roleplayers. That first game – their first love, is one that they always have fond memories of. Even through all those flaws.

And it seems that is the case with whatever people start with. That first RPG is often one that people go back to time and time again. I think it’s why Dungeons and Dragons in its various editions have always had its fans and detractors. It’s not saying that one is better than another (IMO must D&D games are laughably bad from a plausibility angle), it’s more that there is a bias towards what YOU played back in the day. Continue reading