Saturday, August 21, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 Day 21 Simplicity

RPGaDAY2021 Day 21

When I first started in RPGs I was all about complexity and systems that mirrored everything, these days, I am more about simplicity.

Day 21 Simplicity

There used to be big debates in RPG circles, narrativist vs. simulationist.  Gamist was thrown in there as well. You don't see that as much anymore. Well.  You do, but now the focus has shifted a bit. 

This debate has waged on in various formats, various permutations, over the decades. But in the end, the one that wins out for me is Simplicity.

I like a lot of games. I like to read and play a lot of games.  I don't like needing huge volumes of pages to explain to me how to play a game.  Sure I understand the value and the place of supplements and "Splat" books, but the core needs to be simple and complexity for complexity's sake is not a value. 

AD&D is a great game, but let's be honest. The rules are a hodge-podge of systems that are largely unrelated to each other save in a post hoc fashion. The layout of the rules is equally poor. We learned it then because it was what we had and we didn't know any better.  AD&D 2nd Ed is better organized (sort of its purpose) but there are still bolted on systems.  Honestly look no further than skills and psionics.   Also, AD&D 2nd ed loses some of the charms of AD&D 1st ed.  Is the charm in the complexity or is the charm in our memory via "Nostalgia Goggles?"  Hard to say. 

D&D 3rd Edition did a bit of a better job of this. 5th Edition does a better job still.  Still neither are at the level of say WitchCraft, Ghosts of Albion, or even Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space.

I am not trying to imply that simpler is always better.  For example, many of the Powered by the Apocalypse games are quite simple and none of them have ever really grabbed me.  In fact, I usually find them too simple.  

But for me, I desire to remove unneeded complexity for complexity sake and keep my games and my designs a little more simple. 


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