I commented to Matt the other day that the last time I actually *played* in a game was when he ran the original WatchTower game in 1998.
This got me to thinking that although I’ve read a lot of games, and I’ve played in a lot of campaigns, I haven’t really played lots of games.Â Here’s the total list, from memory:
- Advanced Heroquest
- Marvel Super Heroes
- SLA Industries
While I’ve played a much larger range of games, those are the only ones which fulfil the these criteria:
- I’ve been a player (as opposed to GM)
- I’ve had a character that advanced in some way (levels, experience points spent on skills, etc.)
(This, incidentally, has led me to a discovery about what I like about gaming … more in a future post).
If I look at it from the perspective of games that I’ve GM’d where my players would then fulfil these two criteria, the list would be even shorter:
- SLA Industries
I think this is because I’ve had a tendency to run long campaigns that I’ve really enjoyed (as has the group), and so there’s been little impetus to switch game.Â Pendragon is especially good for this as the game is designed for long running campaigns.
I’d be interested to read about other people’s experiences, as players and as GMs.Â Write a comment, or post in your blog with a ping/trackback.
I find it odd that advancement is a prerequisite to inclusion on your list especially because in some games, most definitely superhero games, advancement is necessarily slow in order to model the genre. People don’t really advance in skill in the genres. Spiderman isn’t much of a better photographer for example. And really if you think about it, Captain America has never gotten better at anything (by all accounts he’s just recently started texting on his mobile phone). Just an idle observation.
Right – MSH is obviously not much about advancement in terms of skills, as are a lot of games. But my characters still advance – they become more fleshed out, more real. They change as people. (I don’t have the expectation of skill/power advancement when playing Marvel. I do think that the game would be better if I could learn stunts more easily.)
I think advancement is important. Being able to look back and say “I’ve improved”. The fact that Spiderman and Captain America don’t get better at anything over the years is actually unrealistic. But then again, they don’t really age either, do they? I know that in any given year IRL, I like to look back over the year and figure out what I’ve learned, where I’ve improved, and so on. I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t want to do the same for any character.
Having said all that, I was really using advancement as a yardstick for how long I played the character. I’ve played stacks of games for not quite long enough for my character to have developed in any way: Ars Magica, Tales from the Floating Vagabond, GURPS, Stormbringer, Werewolf …
I don’t reckon I learn much these days. Sure, I took a course in Mandarin but I don’t think it made me “grow” as a person. The little snippets I pick up in the day job allow me to stay current as opposed to increasing my skill levels (now there’s a mechanic. You get to skill check any areas you use just to keep them current otherwise they start to wane….)
I learn quite a lot. For example, this year I’ve already learned a stack about financial markets. Last year I learned a lot about entrepreneurship.
Heh, I like that idea about skill-checks. Still, it makes for quite a bit of book-keeping. If you had minimums it could drop to, and those minimums were higher the longer you were skilled there … e.g. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how to write Perl, even though I’ve not used it regularly in 5+ years.
I know that we both share a desire for ease and simplicity when it comes to gaming. I wonder is there scope in creating a fantastically complex system, that models things really well? GURPS is complex, and its models aren’t too bad, but it needs a lot of reference to the book(s). The more I think about it, the more that’s the case for any complex system I’ve played, even when I know it really well.
Pendragon had a complex-but-easy-to-remember-and-play system for playing adventures, and then a system that needed book reference for the “end of year” stuff.
Not sure I’d want to play a very complex system. Might be fun to write though 🙂