Thursday, February 9, 2012

Law of the Presumption of Ludological Innocence

The burden of proof lies with whichever party is claiming a game isn't good.









That is all.

30 comments:

Timothy Brannan said...

Fair enough.

Ian Wheat said...

So say we all.

Kiel Chenier said...

By game, do you mean an RPG rules system, or an actual session of play?

I think I'd agree with you on the latter, but maybe not the former.

Either way, will think on it. *Goes to thinking rock*

Zak S said...

@kiel

a system

The Jefu said...

"One man's junk is another man's treasure...

...then there's 4th Edition."

Zak S said...

Please don't do that to my comments, Jefu, I got enough troubles in real life

Jason said...

As someone who has JUST gotten into gaming (although I've been reading your blog for a couple of years I think?), I completely support this line of thinking.

I looked pretty hard at 3.5, Pathfinder, and 4E, and I have to say that, in general, there was a lot to like with all three systems. We eventually settled on Pathfinder (for now) just because it was more familiar to the one person that had played before and their starter pack seemed more robust than the 4E one (and of course there's not one for 3.5) and it's easier to use with the old 3.5 books we have laying around. But frankly, they all looked like a lot of fun.

biopunk said...

I played 3.5E for the first time last night, after 2½ years of 4E.

My group is deciding on 3.5, Pathfinder, or sticking with 4E.

Does anyone know of any blog posts on specifically converting D&D 4E characters to 3.5?

Fonkin said...

@biopunk, no, but I would strongly recommend you go with Pathfinder if it's simply a choice between 3.5 and PF. PF has worked out a few more kinks from the 3rd edition rules and has a lot of nice bonuses to it as well.

biopunk said...

@Fonkin, I think that Pathfinder is likely where we're going to go, but no one wants to just "give up" their characters just yet. Finding a transition, instead of a drop, is what we're hoping for...

Wyrin said...

i'd add to that thought with
If you cannot have a good time roleplaying with friends, whatever system you use, you're doing it wrong
and
accept subjective differences and preferences without resorting to language like 'better' or 'worse'

Josh said...

F.A.T.A.L. and Zettai Reido

richard said...

Is that aimed at me? I wrote a great big post explaining my objections and linked it from the most recent post, because I wanted to keep the latest post short and didn't want to bore people with my ranting again. But maybe that made it unclear?

Zak S said...

@richard

whatever you're talking about i haven't read, so no, it isn't aimed at you.

Ian Wheat said...

I think this is very important.
No matter what rules (or lack thereof), you need to be playing with people you enjoy gaming with.

The goal is to have fun.

David said...

It's difficult to prove a system is bad because everyone uses them differently when they play. The argument breaks down because gaming is such a personal experience.

For example, a lot of people believe Rifts is a terrible system and give many good reasons for their belief. Still, I can remember the system working well for me and my group back in high school and having a tonne of fun with it.

Saying an RPG system is bad is kind of like saying rubarb pie is bad. Maybe you don't like it because it doesn't work for you, but man, I'd love a nice tart slice of rubarb pie!

Elephant Jack said...

Word.

Alex J. said...

Zettai Reido looks good for a laugh at least.

Digital Orc said...

Hey, Zak. I was glad to see you post a comment on Underworld Cleaning Service regarding goth porn. I stated up the comment that started it all as a demon, but can't bring myself to illustrate. You up for it?

http://digitalorc.blogspot.com/2012/02/fear-this-porn-er-demon-pron.html

Erik aka VectorSigma said...

@biopunk - I don't know of any clear conversion way to do what you're talking about - a lot of the underlying mechanics for characters are pretty different. You might get some mileage out of 'spiritual' conversion of the characters into new 3.5/PF forms.

Zak S said...

@biopunk

if nothing else, you can do this:

take a PC.

figure out the highest possible numbers a PC of that race and class could have in the native system

figure out the lowest.

figure out the highest possible numbers a PC of that race and class could have in the new system

figure out the lowest.

Figure out where on the continuum the of the "native scale" the PC lies, as a percentage from 1-100.

convert that percentage so it lies in the same place relative to the new scale.

Johnny said...

Wasn't there once a "Chaos" system game that was so complex and detailed, to an insane degree, that no one ever played it? There was doubt that it was, in the end, a real RPG system. I forgot what it was called.

Ozreth said...

@Jason, for what it's worth there actually is (was) a 3.5 Basic Game, and it's pretty awesome, though not nearly as robust or worthwhile as the PF one if you are all familiar with RPGs: http://www.amazon.com/Dungeons-Dragons-Basic-Game/dp/0786934093

ajardoor said...

The title of this post would be a great name for a rock band.

Verdancy said...

"It's difficult to prove a system is bad because everyone uses them differently when they play. The argument breaks down because gaming is such a personal experience.

For example, a lot of people believe Rifts is a terrible system and give many good reasons for their belief. Still, I can remember the system working well for me and my group back in high school and having a tonne of fun with it.

Saying an RPG system is bad is kind of like saying rubarb pie is bad. Maybe you don't like it because it doesn't work for you, but man, I'd love a nice tart slice of rubarb pie!"

It's more like saying a pub is ugly. Maybe it is, but the effect on your night out of drinking at a bad pub or a good pub, if the crowd is the same, will be minimal. So while your pub owners and so on will have a lot to say about placement of tables, lighting, provision of food, floor division, etc using this info in decisions about what pub to go to is often a waste of time. Or, to return to an earlier topic, discussing what sort of people are suited to what pub, outside of the people in it.

Chris Wellings said...

I don't know of anything per se, but the best thing to do is convert the character thematically. I.e. a bow ranger from 4e might convert over better as a PF Fighter.

Kris Hansen said...

Proving a value judgment is impossible. I could say "Yogurt is good," and throw down a bunch of reasons why ("It's chock full of antioxidants, it's a serving of dairy, there are many flavors," whatever), but that won't convince someone who thinks "Yogurt is bad," that they're wrong.

Proof requires objectivity. There can be no objectivity on fun. Even if we want to talk pure design, we can talk all day about how a game does or doesn't accomplish its perceived goals at our game table, but it all comes down to what _we think_ the design goals were.

Zak S said...

@Kris

Well you can't prove taste.

You CAN prove some things: like that a given mechanic does exactly what another one does with less work or that two mechanics in the same game are functionally incompatible and the designer didn't realize it.

You can also prove and disprove claims made by the designer about the audience's anticipated reception of the game. Especially if the designer is dumb enough to use words like "all" or "any".

Kris Hansen said...

My point is that those things we can prove may or may not convince a person that a game is "good" or "bad."

Sometimes creating more work is the point, as that work lends focus to an element you're trying to emphasize. Spending more time doing a thing in a game provides a pretty clear indication that the thing you're doing is a focal point. D&D combat is more complicated and takes more work than combat in Nobilis, for instance. They both do the same thing, but where D&D focuses on combat by providing it more complication and requiring more work from the player, Nobilis streamlines it down to some description and the spending of a few points. And functional incompatibility is hardly a game's death knell, or Palladium would have been out of business decades ago.

As for claims regarding anticipated reception made by the designers, sometimes we'll have them for reference and sometimes we won't.

Games, and the experiences one has with them at the table, are very subjective. What I think is a bad game, what I think constitutes bad game design, is inherently based in my own perception of games and how I play them. I mean, I look at something like the PunPun 3.5 break and think "That is some really bad design, right there." Other people want games that can be broken and see it as a hallmark of a game that lends itself to customization, and I know a couple of designers who go out of their way to include busted elements to please those sorts of players. What one person thinks of as proof that a game is terrible is exactly the reason someone else is playing it.

Zak S said...

I shall requote myself:

"Well you can't prove taste."