In the last few month, Wizard of the Coast as produced two new editions of their award winning game, the Star Wars Saga edition and the Dungeon and Dragon 4th edition. I’ve started playing in a Star Wars Saga game and as the high level geek I am keep informed about the new D&D and I think I’ve come to a realisation. Theirs is too much game in 4th edition for me to enjoy it, in fact from what I read and seen you could probably remove the RP from description of the 4th edition. Star Wars Saga follows the same tread but it seems to be weaker.
It might seem strange for me to decry a game for being well, a game but let me explain and I hope you will understand. Like I said before I do RPG for the stories, the characters and the settings the rules are kinda like the physic behind the universe and while they shouldn’t be too quirky they should not endanger “belivability”. You don’t want people to read your rule, think for a second and see that if the rule existed in our world that would bring forth amazingly stupid situation.
Now when you see the RPG as a game first and the rest second those kind of rules “creep” in naturally with the rules to insure game balance. The idea that every character must have the same amongt of utility in combat (at least according to D&D and it’s descendant), most designer will claim that their system is made to represent both combat and non combat encounter but seriously when everything hindge on the mecanic that tract how close you are to dying it’s hard not to think of it as a mecanic for combat even more so when the mecanic only reproduce very short action. Sure it’s balanced and everyone has “exactly” the same amount of influence on the game and many people call that fun, but to me it’s so illogical as to make the game far less enjoyable.
Think about it, in Star Wars Saga some character can have the opportunity to recruit followers, in a way have someone follow them and their orders. Well to presever “game balance” the game designer made it so that for your follower to act you the character have to sacrifice one of his own action. Think about this in reality, the corporal and his soldier are in a fight, for the soldier to fire his weapon the corporal as to stand and wait! That just wrong, but it makes for a balanced game, the character with the follower does not get more “game time” nor does he get extra power.
I guess I prefer simulations to game, and roleplaying to game balance, sure I don’t want character x to be always better then character y in all situation and about everything but I don’t want character x and y to be completely identical except for the name of their abilities. So please tone down the gamy feel in future supplement I’m sure you’ll be able to get a larger share of the market.