Current Events in Gaming I’ve Been Following

So, of late three things in gaming have really caught my eyes.

First is the continuing playtest of D&D 5e (Yeah, I ‘m still not going to call it “Next”) and the GenCon keynote. I looked at the playtest materials with the newest iteration, and I’m still not liking it. It still smells too much of 2nd ed. to me. Every class having a different system for it’s abilities just continues to make the ruleset seem cobbled together, rather than a unified, coherent system. I don’t care for that.

However, I think there were some good things in the GenCon keynote, even if it was a sales pitch for 5e. One thing I’d like to know is how big the audience was, and what the sound board was like. You could barely hear the audience response, which made me think the audience was pretty small, but I’m simply not sure.

The thing I was primarily interested in was Mike Mearls’s opening statement. He mentioned the idea that the rules are secondary to the goal of the game, which is enjoying time with friends, and that they do intend on putting old versions of the game back into publication. The latter is one many folks out on the Intarwebs have been saying they should do, including on their own forums. The former is a statement that I’ve been behind for a long time. Now, it may seem odd that I find favor in his statement that the rules are unimportant to a game, and yet I rail against the new system. Hypocritical, even. But there is a method to my madness. It’s been my opinion for a long time that a good DM can even make shitty rules work. I’m sure some DMs will make D&D5 work. I make 4e work for me and my players. However, besides the fact I think 5e is a crappy ruleset so far, and it seems WotC is catering to the louder voices who want everything that was wrong with the old versions of the game back. Could I run 5e, or the older editions it’s being based on? Sure, but do I want to. So far, no. Trying to get a handle on the very systems that make different classes and monsters work seems like work, not fun.

Second thing I’ve been eyeing is Card Hunter, an online game that harkens back to the old days of D&D, but has a card collecting aspect to it. Again, that makes me sound hypocritical, but it’s not the old time D&D that attracts me to the project, but rather the card figure look to the game, and that the game looks like fun. I started watching it because someone on a cardstock figure site pointed me to it. The art style is solid, and the game play is getting a lot of favorable reviews after PAX this year. A Google search will get you quite a bit on it, as will their Facebook page.

Third and final game item I’ve been following is Numenera, Monte Cook’s new game that he’s kickstarting. I was impressed enough with the ideas behind the game, and the bargain that the Real Deal is that I kicked in to fund it. (And I’m really wishing I had been able to afford to put in the $100 for the Reaper Bones Kickstarter!) The game design looks solid and unified, and the setting looks very interesting (and sort of going in a direction that I’m looking at for my next campaign). The Kickstarter campaign is in its last week, and I really encourage my readers to give it a go if they can afford it. For $60, you get an amazing package.

Next time, I’ll try to look at the new campaign idea I’ve got going…


About docryder

I'm an experienced table top gamer with an open mind to new game systems. I'm looking to explore ideas I've got. Some are pretty meta, some are pretty mundane. Welcome to my world.

Posted on September 13, 2012, in Metagaming. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Rules as secondary to fun works a lot better when you have a unified set of rules, in my experience. It makes it a lot easier to make ad-hoc decisions for things not necessarily addressed by the authors, like “What happens if we light that powder keg?” “Just treat it like a fireball spell.”

    D&D has tried to say, though, that a Wizard’s fire spell is different than a Cleric’s fire spell, and different still from a fire spell cast by a Thief from a scroll. So now you have three different means of generating the same effect, and the DM needs to know the differences between the three.

    Burning Hands, a fire-eater spitting fuel on a torch, a young red dragon – those should ALL BE THE SAME THING from a rules standpoint. “Close range fire attack, does XdY damage”

    Splitting the rules up so that each class has a different system is completely backwards thinking. 80s design sensibilities got left behind for a lot of very good reasons.

  2. I’m right there with you, Aaron.

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