Thursday, September 23, 2004

Gaming Style Evolution

People play roleplaying games for differing reasons. That's a given. There are a myriad of styles, and gamers over the years have tried to classify them into several different models in hopes of making sense out of the chaos. Here we'll focus on the typical roleplaying game which uses rules to resolve conflict, and freeform storytelling roleplaying games.

For far too long, people have wagged it in my face: that storytelling is the "superior"/"more evolved" gaming style. That is all well and good. Different strokes for different folks I always say.

Let's forget the fact that such freeform games (they are barely "games" as such) are more of a devolution, a return back to the make-believe "games" we played as children. RPG rules were created to resolve the problems we had when we played Cops & Robbers: the "I-hit-you!-No-you-didn't!" arguments that almost always ended the game soon after.

I favor moderate rules that cover most instances that would crop up in a game with little to no question. It needn't be heavy. But a game system can get too rules light, to the point that everything is vague it's unplayable for me. Rules that offer tactical choices for the player and GM alike (crunchy bits as some may put it) are my preference. The point to a game system is to supply the game part in a roleplaying game.

Even so, however, that does not preclude me from telling a good story, given the framework of the game system. I am, after all, a writer as well. I just want to get my game in my RPG, and keep my freeform RPing in my own stories. People who wanted to freeform to be able to tell a good story (because otherwise, they claim, that the rules get in the way) should just write their story. There's no need for the false pretense of calling it a game.

Game on.