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General Forge Forums => Actual Play => Topic started by: Ghostwheel on April 23, 2012, 05:26:03 PM



Title: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ghostwheel on April 23, 2012, 05:26:03 PM
Sorry if this is in the wrong forum, but had a question for the people who frequent this board... I'm a first-time poster, so please be gentle :-)

I've been looking around, and haven't found a good gamist RPG. I'm looking for something with tactical combat, where you can make on-the-fly decisions that change the outcome of the combat/specific rounds in meaningful ways, while still being challenging. I've tried various incarnations of D&D (3.5, PF, 4e), and the closest that's come is if you had D&D 3.5 focused on Tome of Battle. A primarily encounter-centered resource management system is a big part of what I'm looking for, as well as a strong and balanced encounter system that allows you to quickly and easily create encounters for the players with a good idea of how challenging that encounter will be all the while staying on the RNG. I far prefered ToB over D&D 4e due to the ability to regain encounter powers (maneuver) without having to spam one's at-wills, and having to decide if one should use a power, regain the use of powers, or save powers for later, all the while staying within the action economy. That cerebral type of gameplay is very attractive to myself and the friends I play with, but unfortunately the encounters 3.5 brings to bear are atrocious, both in the way they challenge a party and how difficult the system asserts they should be.

So is there an RPG system like that? Where players can feel awesome and as though their tactics matter, and where they have multiple options that they can use, and perhaps reuse depending on the situation?


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: faux on April 23, 2012, 11:24:22 PM
Not sure if it's good, but it is sure as gamist as can be: Rune RPG ( http://www.atlas-games.com/rune/ )
Based on the Rune hack-n-slash PC-game. Also, it has vikings.


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: David Artman on April 24, 2012, 05:28:29 AM
HeroClix and Mage Knight. ;)


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 24, 2012, 06:27:08 AM
To those who've replied: Please don't reply to initial posts that do not include actual play content.

Hi Ghostweel (it's OK, I'm being gentle with you),

You're being very clear about what you're looking for, which I appreciate. It would help immensely if you were to describe one of your experiences with one of the atrocious encounters characteristic of D&D 3.5. What that will tell us is what you find atrocious, which is to say, we will be able to provide suggestions that match your preferences.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ghostwheel on April 24, 2012, 09:45:53 AM
Thanks for the responses!

So some the problems that I have with D&D 3.5 include... (I'm sure a few more will come to mind if I spend some more time thinking on this.)
Monsters that are rated at a certain CR and fail to actually be at that CR. (Dragons, for example. Another is a beholder--what's a warblade going to do against all those rays?)
Monsters that have abilities that far outpace the kinds of abilities PCs have, and can thus easily dominate them. (Beholder, mind flayer, etc. Remember, the kind of party I'm envisioning is one made mostly out of ToB-type characters.)
The encounter system being based around a single monster of the characters' level. (In order to have the same number of creatures as PCs, one has to have pitifully weak monsters if you base encounters around the "building encounters" table in the DMG).

I much prefer the 4e encounter paradigm, and think that they had a lot of good ideas and design philosophies... but failed in the implementation, especially as far as the PCs go (still having lots of one's resources tied to a per-day mechanic, not having ways to recharge encounter powers, being reduced to spamming at-wills after blowing through encounter powers, etc).


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Callan S. on April 24, 2012, 03:11:19 PM
Sometimes I think the duration of an RPG multiplies the effect of it's warts.

Like say you play a boardgame that lasts for an hour and it has some things that bug you. Now what if the boardgame lasted for 6 hours? That'd multiply what bugged you by six!

Now take an RPG. Some of the dread flaws - well, are they that bad, or is it because you plan on playing this for three years? Thus multiplying the bug by a butt load! Never mind if you want the much vaunted 'forever' campaign!

How long do you intend to play a campaign for? Or how long do you estimate it'd go for?


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ghostwheel on April 24, 2012, 06:26:54 PM
I think a campaign would probably take around 6-9 months depending on whether the DM would want to continue DMing and the players enjoy the game, and on average sessions go around 6-8 hours or so.


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ghostwheel on April 26, 2012, 10:22:28 PM
So... there's nothing out there? :-/


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Moreno R. on April 27, 2012, 10:24:39 AM
So... there's nothing out there? :-/

Hi Ghostwheel!

The problem, as I see it, is that you ask for a D&D "done better", not for something really different from D&D. All the problems you listed are about balancing encounters or something like that, for example: where other gamist games have no encounters at all.

I don't really know any good gamist game that is simply a "D&D done better". First, because I suspect that D&D has become so complicated and complex that can't really made to work very well without a lot of effort, and second, because the world is full of D&D clones, hacks and variants.  Most of the people who post here at the forge prefer to design very different games, more personal and original.

My question now is: do you really want to play only a "D&D done better" because you tried a lot of different games and discovered that D&D is really the one you want to play, or you defaulted to it because it' the one everybody play?

In the first case I can't really help you, my knowledge of recent editions of D&D is negligible (I stopped playing D&D with AD&D2), in the second case it could be important to understand what you really like about D&D, and try to find different games that have more of it. But I am not talking about specific rules: if you say to me "I like the CR rules" you are talking arab to me. No other game has CR rules, there is no game to suggest with CR rules, what would be useful is a description of what you like in the act of playing (Conan would answer "to kill my enemies and hear the lamentations of their women", for example, not "I like the roll to hit rules")

Depending on the answer, it's possible that you are not searching for a gamist game after all (it's one of the reasons to talk in terms of actual play and not theory jargon when talking about these things)


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ghostwheel on April 27, 2012, 10:31:22 AM
Hrmmm, it's a little hard for me to speak in those terms since I'm not completely familiar with them, but I'll try my best.

I enjoy the feeling of being powerful, of, as Conan says, killing my enemies and hearing the lamentations of their women. But I also like resource management and multiple options, each with their own advantages and drawbacks, where I can feel as though my cunning and decisions make a difference in a way that isn't necessarily immediately obvious. I like the tactical aspect, where you position just right to get a bonus and deny your enemy their bonus, where you can do all kinds of things to eke out another numerical bonus out of combat, and defeat your enemy not only because you did well from a logistical sense (building a character sheet) but also due to the exact actions you took in combat that allowed you to do awesome things.

Does that help at all? Or is there something obvious I should address that I missed?


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 27, 2012, 11:05:43 AM
Hi,

I think you're answering really well. At the risk of making our replies seem like an endless interrogation, I'll have a much better idea of your preferences with one last question:

In what way are you OK with losing?

Or slightly differently, what ways to lose are not fun?

As an example, when I'm playing in the way you described in the last post, I'm OK with losing due to a statistically unlikely but possible dice outcome. If it's clear to me and everyone that I made the right decision at the right time, for the best chance, and then the dice went ahead and said, "high chance isn't always going to happen," then I might curse blasphemously and appeal to heaven to witness this horrible betrayal by the dice ... but you know, I get the credit for playing well, and we all accept that it doesn't always work out.

I'm not OK with losing because someone else had the perfect combination of options which yielded no such chance of losing on their part. I despise combo-lockdowns that not even a good roll can beat. Nor am I OK with losing because someone else had the option to introduce something utterly and completely absent in the fiction up until that moment.

I've found that there are people with the opposite preferences from mine - they live for the moment when their carefully-crafted combo proves literally unbeatable, or they take pleasure in being able to manipulate the fiction one step ahead of their opponents. In a game where a bad roll can upset their plans, these people say "That sucks!" in a very different way than I might, upon that event - I'm groaning but laughing, ready to say "That's life," whereas they had literally no fun and at best are ready to step away from the game.

So I'd really prefer Tunnels & Trolls whereas the other players I'm thinking of would prefer ... well, I don't know, someone else can provide an example for them.

You don't have to map your preferences directly in comparison to mine. I provided the above descriptions to show you how I'd answer my questions, and you can use whatever variables or details of play you'd like.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ghostwheel on April 30, 2012, 01:05:56 PM
3d6 over d20

Sorry about not replying sooner, had a hectic weekend.

As far as the examples you gave are concerned, I'm fine with "losing" to the dice even when I did everything wrong occasionally. I'm a great believer that statistically the average will eventually come out, and it just means that if the system is tight enough and works well mathematically that it won't result in something that leads to Very Bad News (like a TPK or something similar). That's actually why I prefer 3d6 over the traditional d20--small bonuses that come from tactics make a much bigger impact there because the RNG is so much smaller, tighter, and weighted towards the middle.

And yes, I also dislike lockdown--that's one of the things I dislike about 3.5, the power of wizards and similar spellcasters to decide the outcome of an encounter through a single action that effectively locks down enemies (blind being an example of something that's effectively lockdown). I'm fine with the last part though, losing because someone else has an option, as long as the option was decided beforehand and is part of the balanced game. (A martial artist who was horribly weak in the past going super saiyan or something because it was included as part of his class or whatever I could work with, for example.)

One way that I enjoy losing is temporarily. I love winning by the skin of my teeth, knowing in the end that it was because of my choices and tactics that I won, because I played intelligently and it lead to a good outcome. I love that rush of adrenaline as I see the possibility of losing permanently looming closer, but pulling out the win not because of DM fiat or pure random chance, but because I weighed the dice more in my favor due to my choices. I enjoy having a flow to the battle, where first one side has the advantage and then the other, the battle shifting from one side to the other. Fights like that are very fun for me, even if I'm temporarily losing half the time.

However, feeling useless and/or locked down isn't fun. Winning without any sort of challenge isn't fun either, and even though I'd won, I'd feel like it had been a loss. Permanently dying (losing?) isn't fun either, since in that case I'd lose all the time, effort, and attachment I'd developed towards a character--though automatically ressurecting or the like should stay in video games in my opinion, and doesn't feel like it fits well in the realm of RPGs (or it takes away some of the thrill and risk).

Anything else I could add to give you a better feel for the game I'm searching for?


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ghostwheel on April 30, 2012, 01:07:40 PM
3d6 over d20
Whoops, that was supposed to be a note to get my thoughts in order and give me a reminder of how to structure my post, but I can't see an edit button with which to remove it... :-/


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Willow on April 30, 2012, 02:36:18 PM
Ghostwheel, I have a very strong passion for gamist play, and my game of choice in this regard is 4th Edition D&D.  (At one point I was running two games a week and playing in one.)  I'd also be interested in hearing what you felt D&D 4th failed at implementing.  However, some of the things you mention disliking, such as status locks from spells, are highly minimized in 4th edition.

I'm personally of the opinion that we haven't really begun to master gamist rpg design; it's something everyone knows how to do, but no one really knows how to do well.  D&D is the cutting edge of gamist play with lots of crunchy bits.  All the other good gamist designs I know are based on much more streamlined systems, such as Agon and Beast Hunters.


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ghostwheel on April 30, 2012, 02:58:13 PM
Some of my problems with D&D 4e:
  • Abilities feel very standardized from what I've played (I've only been in 4-5 games thus far, though one or two only lasted a few sessions), so people feel very similar.
  • Battles feel like they last too long. Battles in my opinion should last 4-8 rounds, it feels like they last 10-20 rounds in 4e which can easily lead to boredom.
  • Battles seem to follow the same template almost every time. First few rounds you use encounter powers, after that you spam your at-wills until the end of the battle, which gets boring.
  • Tied to the last one, it's impossible to regain powers with actions (or some other way) to create tactical options with more depth.
  • The RNG is still based around a d20, so even if you get an advantage like moving just into position to get combat advantage, for many characters it doesn't make a difference.
  • Damage-wise, some characters feel much more powerful than others, even when they're supposed to A. fill the same role, and B. the less-damaging characters lack anything extra (like a status effect) to make them better.
  • Newbie traps still exist, things that look cool but are in fact a waste of resources which newbies take and don't make them any better.
  • There are many monsters that don't have a specific defense which is low enough to make much of a difference on a d20 RNG.
  • Lack of customizability of classes and multiclassing.
  • Scaling ability scores to the point where defenses can fall off the RNG on one side or another.
  • Lack of resource management which creates a lack of options in risk vs. reward
  • There being enough small bonuses that you can rack up in various ways that lead to falling off the RNG.
  • Races still shoehorn classes into them if you want to be viable.
  • The 15-minute workday still being present in 2 aspects - daily powers, and healing surges. Once someone begins to run out of either, they call a halt to rest.

Hrmmm... that's all I can think of off the top of my head. Like I said, I very much like many of their design principles, but the way they implemented/executed them just completely turned me off to the system for the most part.


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Willow on April 30, 2012, 03:14:13 PM
I would say I find some of those points debatable whether or not they are present in D&D, and I'd say some are a matter of taste, some are a matter of play technique, but there are some issues in there I'll certainly agree with you.  (Stacking bonuses, battles lasting too long.)

Some of these issues can be resolved with house rules- personally 3d6 vs d20 is not a dealbreaker for me, but I think that's a swap that's easy to implement and falls within the realm of 'still undeniably D&D.'  Other forums have extensively thought how to speed up combats, and spicing them up so they don't all follow the same path is something that comes with practice.

However, let's face facts: crunchy game design, ones with lots of powers and bennies to pick from (whatever you name them) takes a lot of effort.  That's why the indie-community largely hasn't touched it: we don't have the resources.  (Some exceptions certainly exist, Burning Wheel being the most evident; but it's not a gamist design by any means.)  So it falls to the big companies to produce the crunchy designs, and these are rarely designed with a coherent focus.

There are a lot of games that can produce functional crunchy-bits gamist play: Exalted and Weapons of the Gods/Legends of the Wulin are probably my favorites in that regard, but they have their own system warts and weren't even designed to be played with the same gamist intensity that went into D&D 4th.  For the hard core crunchy gamist, they pretty much have to hack and drift, and that doesn't matter if you're starting with GURPS or HERO or D&D: the most recent version of D&D just gets you there faster.


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ghostwheel on April 30, 2012, 03:23:49 PM
Some of these issues can be resolved with house rules- personally 3d6 vs d20 is not a dealbreaker for me, but I think that's a swap that's easy to implement and falls within the realm of 'still undeniably D&D.'

That's the thing though--the RNG in 4e isn't tight enough that 3d6 would be possible with the scaling +1s. People can already fall off the RNG on a d20 with those stacking bonuses, making the RNG smaller and more weighted towards the middle would just exacerbate the problem, making it not only worse, but also noticeable much faster.

I'm actually going through the process of creating my own gamist RPG with the design goals that are evident throughout my post thus far in mind, but I was wondering if I was reinventing the wheel, and if there might be something out there already that I could use instead of doing all the work to make a good, balanced system (which is thus far still tons of work).


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Anders Gabrielsson on May 01, 2012, 02:24:37 AM
Some of my problems with D&D 4e:
  • Abilities feel very standardized from what I've played (I've only been in 4-5 games thus far, though one or two only lasted a few sessions), so people feel very similar.
  • Battles feel like they last too long. Battles in my opinion should last 4-8 rounds, it feels like they last 10-20 rounds in 4e which can easily lead to boredom.
  • Battles seem to follow the same template almost every time. First few rounds you use encounter powers, after that you spam your at-wills until the end of the battle, which gets boring.
  • Tied to the last one, it's impossible to regain powers with actions (or some other way) to create tactical options with more depth.
  • The RNG is still based around a d20, so even if you get an advantage like moving just into position to get combat advantage, for many characters it doesn't make a difference.
  • Damage-wise, some characters feel much more powerful than others, even when they're supposed to A. fill the same role, and B. the less-damaging characters lack anything extra (like a status effect) to make them better.
  • Newbie traps still exist, things that look cool but are in fact a waste of resources which newbies take and don't make them any better.
  • There are many monsters that don't have a specific defense which is low enough to make much of a difference on a d20 RNG.
  • Lack of customizability of classes and multiclassing.
  • Scaling ability scores to the point where defenses can fall off the RNG on one side or another.
  • Lack of resource management which creates a lack of options in risk vs. reward
  • There being enough small bonuses that you can rack up in various ways that lead to falling off the RNG.
  • Races still shoehorn classes into them if you want to be viable.
  • The 15-minute workday still being present in 2 aspects - daily powers, and healing surges. Once someone begins to run out of either, they call a halt to rest.
I've seen most of these problems pointed out before, and some I have encountered myself. Some have easy solutions and some don't, and I don't think it's possible to solve all of them at once, but maybe enough of them can be removed or reduced enough that you can find 4E enjoyable.

I won't go through all of them but I'll try to hit the big ones.

Character feeling "samey" is a common complaint. I don't see it myself, but it's true that compared to 3.x the design space for the powers in 4E is tighter. (Personally I find this an advantage as it makes for fewer weird special cases to remember.) It's less of an issue with the classes introduced later (PHB2-3 and Essentials), I think, as they have more unique mechanics.

Are you using the monsters from the MM1 and MM2? There were some problems with the math there - too many hit points, sometimes too high defenses. The ones from MM3 and the Monster Vaults are vastly better in this regard, and generally more fun. (There are some fairly simple changes you can make to the earlier monsters, particularly solos, to make them less "huge bag of hp"-like.) A more radical variant I've seen proposed is to cut hp in half, either for just the monsters or for monsters and PCs both, or allowing a single hit to eliminate a monster that's been bloodied.

As for combats feeling like they follow the same pattern, using interesting environments is key. A fight that takes place mostly in darkness (apart from what light the PCs bring), or partly underwater, or in tight spaces all make for different combats. Yes, on the most abstracted level you'll still usually be using up your encounter powers before going to the at-wills (with Twin Strike Rangers being a clear exception), but once you have a few encounter powers that still leaves a number of permutations. With shorter battles this also becomes less of an issue.

There are a few items and feats that allow recharging of encounter powers, usually in specific situations.

I'm not sure which classes you feel are imbalanced when it comes to damage output vs other abilities. I think it's generally accepted that the archer Ranger does more damage than other strikers and the Fighter can be built to do a lot of damage, but in my experience there's nothing like the Fighter/Caster gap in 3.x.

Multiclassing is indeed weak if you're not using the hybrids from PHB3. I don't think it's fair to say that customizability within classes is lacking, though - again, compared to 3.x, anyone but a full caster will have more options, often many, many more.

There is some class/race synergy, but with the class-race combo feats from the various Power books and the alternative ability scores that were published... somewhere (Dragon, I think? I have a printout somewhere; I'm sure they can be found on the net.) there are more viable combinations than it may first seem.

The 15 minute workday has been discussed extensively, and several solutions have been proposed. One is restricting the access to extended rests; another is using a more gradual, encounter-based recovery mechanic.


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Marshall Burns on May 01, 2012, 06:09:45 AM
Hi Ghostwheel,
This is just a placeholder post 'til I get off work, but I wanted to say that there's some things I'd like to discuss here. I'm working on a D&D-inspired game right now and, while the stuff you're looking for doesn't line up 100% with what I'm looking for, I'd like to compare notes. I'll be back!


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 01, 2012, 11:52:34 AM
Moderating time!

Hey - stop with the D&D 4E chit-chat, already. That content needs to be restricted to what's immediately relevant to the discussion.

Seriously, there are hundreds of places on the internet where you can go to vent or enthuse about this-or-that feature of this-or-that iteration of role-playing that goes by that name. Bring this thread back to a focused topic.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ghostwheel on May 01, 2012, 05:42:57 PM
So Ron, does my last on-topic reply help at all? I'm still not sure if I'm reinventing the wheel or covering new ground, and if a wheel is already invented, I'd rather use that instead of going through the massive amounts of work needed to finish this system I've been working on.


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Callan S. on May 01, 2012, 06:08:09 PM
Ghostwheel, has your PC ever died whilst playing 4e? Even then, did it default that resurrections were available? The only real way to lose (rather than just hit a speed bump) is a TPK, which you call very bad news. Even then if you make a new character at one level lower (or more so, at the same level), it's still little more than a speed bump.

Quote
I'm a great believer that statistically the average will eventually come out, and it just means that if the system is tight enough and works well mathematically that it won't result in something that leads to Very Bad News (like a TPK or something similar)
But really the average needs to result in a TPK? Otherwise all the manouvering for bonuses does not matter. If the average is set towards you winning, you can just ride the bell curve to victory, no manouvering required?

And as I said before, the length of these games distorts the idea of winning and losing. To go up a ladder in snakes and ladders does not mean you've won snakes and ladders. Each battle in D&D is really just a ladder (or regular die roll advancement) in a much larger, singular game session.

Quote
the possibility of losing permanently looming closer
What do you mean by this? What rules for PC death were you using?


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ghostwheel on May 01, 2012, 06:27:53 PM
Wait... are we still talking about 4e...? If so, it's on your head if the moderator doesn't like this... :-P

As for your questions...

Ghostwheel, has your PC ever died whilst playing 4e? Even then, did it default that resurrections were available? The only real way to lose (rather than just hit a speed bump) is a TPK, which you call very bad news. Even then if you make a new character at one level lower (or more so, at the same level), it's still little more than a speed bump.

My PC has never died while playing in 4e... mostly because they never even came close to dying, what with how powerful healing and buffs were, and only rarely did we need to spend a healing surge as long as the DM followed the encounter guidelines in the DMG. The DM (who was a bit newish to 4e as well in the one game I'm thinking of) finally got frustrated that everything was a cakewalk, and started throwing higher-level monsters at us which started to get to the point where we could barely hit things, and almost always got auto-hit, and the campaign soon ended after that.

Honestly, however, I don't see how that makes the slightest difference. The problems with 4e are far deeper than just how often you die (as I mentioned in my previous post), and to compound that, I don't like death being a speedbump. Making a new character is just as bad, since it disrupts the story and disconnects a player from something they're engaged and devoted to.

But really the average needs to result in a TPK? Otherwise all the manouvering for bonuses does not matter. If the average is set towards you winning, you can just ride the bell curve to victory, no manouvering required?

Wait... what are you talking about? I don't know if this is non sequiter, or if I'm misunderstanding you, or if English is a second language for you, but I don't understand what it is you're asking. The average should be set towards the middle, neither winning nor losing, so that tactics matter and tip the scale to one side, or very stupid mistakes can lead to loss. Obviously loss does not mean a TPK, and there are safety nets to ensure that small mistakes don't automatically result in a loss, but I don't really see where you're going with this...

What do you mean by this? What rules for PC death were you using?

Again, I don't like the "death is a speedbump" mentality, and prefer that players lose without dying if it can be finagled, or alternatively if they have to die (heroic sacrifice, jumped into lava, etc) that they can't just easily be brought back to life--that death matters.

And as I said before, the length of these games distorts the idea of winning and losing. To go up a ladder in snakes and ladders does not mean you've won snakes and ladders. Each battle in D&D is really just a ladder (or regular die roll advancement) in a much larger, singular game session.

Again... I'm just not seeing your point :-/ Could you clarify what you mean, and/or what your point is?


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Callan S. on May 01, 2012, 07:55:47 PM
Quote
Making a new character is just as bad, since it disrupts the story and disconnects a player from something they're engaged and devoted to.
Well, this might be pivotal to the discussion if in priority it's ahead of events like a character dying. Apart from character death, the mechanics of D&D really don't have any losing conditions built into them.

Quote
The average should be set towards the middle
I honestly don't believe with such a complicated system it can be perfectly set to the middle - it's either towards the middle but on the winning side, or towards the middle but on the TPK side. Really in gamist terms, the more it's set towards the TPK side, the more of a challenge/a thrown down gauntlet it is (the more tactics it takes to get bonuses to counteract that tipping), in a 'oh yeah, well, we can take that' way (or in the internet parlance 'Challenge accepted (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-AlvMRt9uCGo/T2gKuzlSjgI/AAAAAAAADPg/D_a8jL2QglQ/s400/challenge-accepted.jpg)'). If it being set towards TPK as just not making any sense to you, then atleast in how I use the word 'gamism', gamism might be a secondary priority to you? And something else comes in at first priority? Probably to do with what you mention above in terms of the story and what the players are devoted to. That's my hypothesis, anyway. Doesn't mean it's an apt hypothesis.

Quote
Obviously loss does not mean a TPK, and there are safety nets to ensure that small mistakes don't automatically result in a loss
Quote
and prefer that players lose without dying if it can be finagled
Well, what is 'loss' or 'lose' when you say it? Could you describe what you mean by it a bit more?

My snakes and ladders example is there to show that going down a snake is not losing (in how I use the word), but because a single D&D game runs over multiple sessions, it distorts this and it appears players have 'lost' a session, when it's merely a snake.


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Ghostwheel on May 04, 2012, 05:53:39 PM
Not perfectly--but as near as can be. That said, when there need to be tendencies, they need to be set in the PCs' favor so that they don't have a good chance of dying every fight.

And losses can be done in a myriad of ways. For example, if you're beaten by goblins or ogres, the party wakes up in jail cells, their enemy wanting to eat them soon, and from there they can make a daring escape. Or if they were beaten by an evil wizard, they might wake up in vats of arcane liquid ready to be experimented on. Or if they are beaten by a devil, the devil may force them to do it a favor rather than killing them. Or if they fail to kill the dragon, it might kidnap the princess, kill the king, and fly off.

So yeah, there are lots of ways to "lose" without actually having a TPK.


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Callan S. on May 05, 2012, 07:14:21 PM
To get deeper into what you're looking for...
Quote
Not perfectly--but as near as can be. That said, when there need to be tendencies, they need to be set in the PCs' favor so that they don't have a good chance of dying every fight.
Why? Why can't it be set against the PC's (the players) favour, because they will use a number of tactics to grant mechanical bonuses that when added on, that slants the thing towards them winning? Which would also ensure that they don't have a good chance of dying every fight.

Do the other players in your group use tactics much?

Do you want it that you don't have to use tactics, you just can, if you wish, to maybe 'win more', so to speak?


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: Miihkali on May 11, 2012, 10:39:10 PM
Ghostwheel,

you might like Iron Heroes by Mike Mearls. It's a variant of 3rd edition D&D with a focus on making tactical, non-magical combat more interesting. All classes but one are different kinds of fighters, and the game is playable without any kind of magic, including magic items.

The quality of Iron Heroes is probably one of the reasons why Mearls got to be the lead developer of 4th edition D&D.

Do your adventures have time limits? Seems to me that gamist play with D&D does not function very well without strict, story-specific time limits. The resource management aspect suffers if you can just sleep after every battle. It's more fun if there are other ways to lose besides getting killed. (For example, your relatives keep dying of necro-plague because you couldn't find the cure in time.)

Mikko Lehtinen
(I'm not actually new here. It's just a long time since I last posted. I'd forgotten my password and my old email wasn't active anymore, so I had to create a new user.)


Title: Re: What's a Good Gamist Game?
Post by: The_Mormegil on May 26, 2012, 11:13:09 PM
Something I was thinking about, regarding this issue, is that the duration of conditions could be expanded in a much more tactical sense. What if instead of a fixed duration (one round per level, until the end of the round, until the end of the encounter) or a randomized duration (save ends) the default duration of a condition was "until termination", meaning roughly "until it makes sense for the condition to stop", or more operatively "until you do something to end it". This would be on the player side of things, of course. Player abilities would have fixed or random duration because the DM is a cheating bastard is not a perfectly impartial judge of events in all situations, and deciding whether or not monsters find a way to terminate their condition could lead to problems (or not, of course).

Tactics are all about choices, and this paradigm augments the meaning and impact of choices by forcing you to decide when to attempt to stop a condition and when to let it be. Also, it rewards intelligent and creative gameplay because terminating a condition in creative ways could cost less or have a greater chance of success. It is a bit DM-reliant, because it's very open-ended, but with good guidelines on what should constitute a termination attempt and how effective termination attempts should be, it would probably be ok for most groups. What do you think about it?

(also hello everyone ;) )