I bought a book today…

…entirely because it was illustrated and designed exactly the way I want Q to be paid out.

I spent a few minutes leafing through it and in my minds eye transposed the text and art to that which I envision for Q. Looking over my Q notes the other day reminded me of the parts I still needed to write though, to be honest, most of it is down somewhere or other.

Some of the notes I look over were definitely penned by someone else. Sure, it’s my handwriting but it doesn’t read like my writing. I guess some of the text there must be 10 years old or so and I was a different person then – and my understanding of some things has matured and so it needs re-written.

I’m always wary of games systems which report on the cover that they took 10 years to develop. Systems take minutes to develop, maybe hours to refine. Not years. It takes years maybe to write prose of the quality you might want. When I hear of a game that took 10 years to create, I always think that it’s going to be 10 years out of date. I mean, a decade ago we were playing Ars Magica, SLA Industries and Mage. I would hope to some degree the world had moved on a little.

Likewise when someone claims to have developed their game system from watching real fights or, (even less impressive, from years of studying fighting in the SCA,) then I have to work hard to keep the bile down. Does anyone really want to see “realistic” fight sequences? Is there any evidence to suggest that SCA fighting is any more realistic? I’m not convinced – but then there are very few people in Western Europe who have witnessed a real fight using swords and armour. When you’re fighting for your life you’re bound to respond differently to when you’re fighting to try to demonstrate a point about fighting. So – 10 years development and based on “real world data” – load of bollocks.

I did read an article in a RPG magazine which took data from shootouts at the Texas border between immigrant, smugglers and the border guard. It made for interesting reading – seems shooting someone is as effective as throwing a handful of stones at them though if one stone hits, there’s a massive chance of instant death. Anyone know the article? I think it might have been in Pyramid?

Back to the book…

So I bought it (and some word flashcards for my daughter). I’ll no doubt get time to read it tonight and then maybe break out my design apps later this week.

About matt

Gamer. Writer. Dad. Serial Ex-husband. Creator of The 23rd Letter, SpaceNinjaCyberCrisis XDO, ZOMBI, Testament, Creed. Slightly megalomaniac
This entry was posted in Commentary, Game Design, Out-of-Character, Qabal. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to I bought a book today…

  1. Mark says:

    “SCA” — are you talking about Riddle of Steel?

  2. Warlock Pi says:

    “I’m always wary of games systems which report on the cover that they took 10 years to develop. Systems take minutes to develop, maybe hours to refine. ”

    Yours do, Matt. That’s why they’re never worth even you playing them for more than a fortnight.

    “I mean, a decade ago we were playing Ars Magica, SLA Industries and Mage. I would hope to some degree the world had moved on a little.”

    It’s not the world that’s having trouble moving on, son. You’ve been gaming since, what? the mid 1980’s? And you still think that the key to a good gaming session is finding the right mechanic? That’s why you fiddle endlessly with gimmicky systems. You have never grasped that the single core component of an RPG is the GM’s imagination.

    You can’t have a good game if the GM is always looking for the system to act as a replcement for his imagination, even if it IS a brilliant design. No design can fix a dull GM who can’t plot more than three weeks before wanting to try some other shiney mechanic.

    Seriously, you’ve been hacking away at this hobby for donkey’s years and never produced anything of note other than a blog which demostrates your total inability to GM let alone design a game system.

    Why don’t you just give it up?

    Jesus. Almost every week someone tells me that something stupid’s been posted on Matts blog and I say “Look, just don’t read the damn thing” and now I’ve ignored my own advice and lost my temper.

  3. matt says:

    Ahhhh, the wonder of anonymity!
    Troll, -1

    I guess I must have touched a sensitive nerve with my tirade on 10 year old systems or was it my discounting of the SCA melee regiment as an effective fighting technique? Ouch, feel the sting. Truth hurts I guess.

    So which are you? The developer of an archaic “tested to death” game system or the e-lite SCA warrior ready to do some damage with your wooden sticks and plastic armour?

  4. Paul says:

    Hi Matt,

    I think I remember the article you mention which quoted examples from the Mexican border patrol – it was by Frank Chadwick and was in an issue of Challenge magazine. I’m afraid I have no idea which one – my copies are back in Belfast. His conclusions on the effectiveness of small arms fire and the attempts of realistic/simulationist systems to replicate them were pretty damning.

    Hope that is of some use.

  5. matt says:

    Aha! That’s exactly the one! Excellent, thanks Paul.


  6. Warlock e says:

    “I guess I must have touched a sensitive nerve with my tirade on 10 year old systems”

    Its more the fact that you make the hobby look bad.

    10-year-old or 10-day-old: the point was that the age of the system is irrelevant and your tiresome pursuit of the next “clever” idea to boost your ego as a wannabe game designer demonstrates a total ignorance of the purpose of any game – role-playing or otherwise.

    The rules are a side-issue, but you constantly make them the focus. That makes it harder to draw in new people who, you know, might actually think the characters and the plot and having fun are the important stuff. It’s hard enough as a GM having to fight the rise of computer games and home cinema without having to explain to prospective new players that, no, we’re not all Asberger’s Rules Nuts.

    *No one* needs rules for time travel or being a spy. No GM worth a tinker’s cuss needs to read about troupe play or any of that wank. These are all crutches – a waste of space. You simply have no imagination and you want the rules to make up for it.

    You download every PDF game going, and buy a shed-load of paper ones too, then mash them up and spin parts of them into candyfloss which can withstand the impact of real players for all of 10 minutes and then you’re off again.

    Surely to goodness you’ve noticed by now that you never create anything with any staying power? Gee, perhaps a few minutes effort isn’t the way to produce something of high quality! Who’d have thunk it?

    Anyway, I’m off and this time I’m taking my own advice. I’m sure you can self-justify any points made by me or anyone who enjoys gaming, so knock yourself out; it’ll be a good chance to strut your intellect for that adoring public you see every morning in the bathroom mirror.

  7. matt says:

    I will, but it really deserve a full blog post.

  8. Pingback: lategaming » Warlock writes: Why don’t you just give it up.

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