Interesting Ryan Dancey comment on "lite" RPGs - Page 108
  1. #1071
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    Quote Originally Posted by buzz
    ... So... sorry!
    No need to apologize. This thread helped me put off doing actual work for at least two hours over the past couple of weeks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverleaf
    At least Basic D&D existed since 1977, even before the AD&D attrocity.
    I know . I just wanted to point out that the study that Ryan Dancey's remark relied on did not include any of the games that were discussed in this thread . No D&D 3.x, no C&C, no HeroQuest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akrasia
    No need to apologize. This thread helped me put off doing actual work for at least two hours over the past couple of weeks.
    If only I could quote a similarly small number...

  4. #1074
    Quote Originally Posted by mearls
    I think this thread does an excellent job of summarizing why the RPG business is so screwed up.

    The really funny thing about rules light v. rules heavy is that it's an utterly empty proposition. The number of rules in a game, or the length of the book, have no bearing on its quality.
    Exactly why the game industry is screwed up, eh? :\

    I am very disapointed in you Mike. Go to your Wizzo archive closet and find a Pink box containing a 64 page red book that was released in 1981 entitled "Dungeons & Dragons" Fantasy Adventure Game. That is one of the smallest page counts in RPG history, was supported for more than five years BTW, and one of the best role playing games ever created. Period. Oh but it is not a complete game you say? Well find the powder blue box containing the blue Expert rulebook that goes along with it. You have one of the best RPGs ever created in 128 pages, with quality and playability that far exceeds any modern RPG put out today.

    I don't blame WotC really. If I were trying to feed my familiy I would want to produce a rules heavy system, myself, so the profits from the sourcebooks keep coming in.

    Psion, good to see you haven't changed, either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WSmith
    I am very disapointed in you Mike. Go to your Wizzo archive closet and find a Pink box containing a 64 page red book that was released in 1981 entitled "Dungeons & Dragons" Fantasy Adventure Game. That is one of the smallest page counts in RPG history, was supported for more than five years BTW, and one of the best role playing games ever created. Period. Oh but it is not a complete game you say? Well find the powder blue box containing the blue Expert rulebook that goes along with it. You have one of the best RPGs ever created in 128 pages, with quality and playability that far exceeds any modern RPG put out today.

    Not to be disrespectful, but...so what? What you posted was simply a personal opinion. Mike was saying that quantity does not equal quality, and that arguing about it is pointless. That seems to be an entirely reasonable thing to say. Many people like rules light games, many - like me - enjoy more rules-heavy games. If I say "3e is better because it has more rules!', it would be as empty a statement as someone saying "Game X is better because it has fewer rules!" I may enjoy rules-heavy games more, but that doesn't mean I think they are "better" in any objective qualitative sense. It would be impossible to do so, since the matter is entirely subjective, dealing with personal likes and dislikes. One's opinion is not objective fact...much to my chagrin.

  6. #1076
    I know I'm coming in late here, but I wanted to add something on Ryan's original point. To do so, let me take off my rpg small press publisher and freelancer hat (I certainly don't have Ryan's experience in either regard) and put on the hat I wear for the job that pays the bills: that of a veteran and current employee of the market research industry.

    Ryan states:

    I observed (2-way mirror) several groups who were given "rules lite" RPG systems as a part of an effort to understand how they were used and if the "liteness" was actually delivering any utility value. Using a stopwatch, we found that consistently zero time was saved in character creation, or adjudicating disputes. In fact, in some games, disputes lasted substantially longer because the GM could not just point to a written rule in a book and call the argument closed.

    What does this prove? Not much other than gamers like to argue about their dice rolls and characters. (I don't think any new research was needed into that point, but what the hell.) Why? Because we know anything about the people and how they were selected. What was the criteria for assembling these groups because without knowing this and assessing the inherent bias it lent to the experiment, the experiment is worthless.

    -Did the gamers have previous experience with either system? This will definately lend to how quickly they would "fall in line" for a particular system rather than debating things.

    -What were their preferred systems aside form those tested? If the gamers already prefer systems that are similar to, in terms of the amount of rules in the systems and their complexity, the "rules heavy" systems then there is a definate predisposition that spoils the results.

    -How many of the people are usually GMs and how many are primarily players? I think we've all been around the game table long enough to know why this is important when discussing how long an arguement can go for.

    -How old are the gamers? Gamers who grew up on only rules heavy systems may be more resistant to taking on the newer concept of rules lite. This is an assumption requiring its own study, of course, but is a valid concern in research--valid enough that age should be used as a cross-group control for comparison.

    -How often do the people game? A person who considers himself a "dedicated" gamer could easily give a MUCH different opinion than a "caual" gamer because the latter, by merit of how often they game, are not as into the hobby and are more likely looking for some quick fun rather than dedicating time and memory to a lot of rules they use once a week/month/etc.

    -EDIT: time of day. When were the groups conducted? If you're specifically looking at someone's degree of being arguementative, you have to account for the fact that you'll get different results at 5:30 than you will at 9 am or 9 pm, say; how someone's day shaped up, whether they're hungry, etc. goes a looooooooooooooooooooooong way towards tainting this sort of data, so you can't tell the difference between whether rules lite or rules heavy games cause more arguements in general or cause more arguements amongst people who have been at work all day and are hungry for their dinner.

    Another point about these "time trial" results is rather simple: what about longitudinal results?

    Sure, it is entirely likely that a "rules lite" system can lead to more arguements in the short term and make things longer when put under a stop watch in the immediate sense, especially if the previously mentioned terms are taken into consideration. However, if we asked one group to play nothing but the rules heavy game and the other nothing but the rules lite version for a month and then brought them back, would the results be the same? See, this experiment doesn't even so much as pretend to address the factor of acclimation -- meaning, it doesn't ask whether or not the rules lite system will allow for easier, faster game sessions once the players get used to how the rules run. This is, as any gamer (and publisher) knows, a VERY important nugget of information to leave out of any reliable study.

    And finally, something that is perhaps the most telling point to make of all: research is a very tricky thing, especially when the research involves trying to recreate a social situation. Gaming is very much a social encounter wherein all hell can break loose if the personalities involved don't gel. Quite frankly, there's absolutely no way to tell if the results weren't a matter of opposite personalities butting heads if group preconstruction didn't occur. This could be entirely coincidental that this could happen more with the lite game groups, or it could mean that lite rules lead to more arguements amongst gamers with opposing personality types. It could also mean absolutely nothing. However, this variable cannot be discounted because I'm sure most of us have seen this around a gaming table to know that it is an important factor to consider, and is a factor that cannot easily be accounted for in such conditions unless all the people brought in were playing with their existing gaming groups.

    Today's message:

    Friends don't let friends pass off poor methodology as valid research.
    Last edited by Steve Conan Trustrum; Tuesday, 16th August, 2005 at 05:13 AM.

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    Excellent post, Steve "Conan" Trustrum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Conan Trustrum
    research is a very tricky thing
    It must be. No other game company ever tried such extensive research before. Given 3e's success, maybe more should.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelHardisson
    It must be. No other game company ever tried such extensive research before. Given 3e's success, maybe more should.
    Is 3e really that successful?

    I'm not talking d20 generally, but third edition D&D specifically. What is the percentage of gamers out there playing D&D? I have a figure of 60% dating back to just before 3e was introduced - what is a current figure?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Shaman
    Is 3e really that successful?

    I'm not talking d20 generally, but third edition D&D specifically. What is the percentage of gamers out there playing D&D? I have a figure of 60% dating back to just before 3e was introduced - what is a current figure?
    I don't know about percentages, but given that WotC stands head and shoulders above every other RPG publisher in terms of earnings - orders of magnitude more successful, and also given that D&D is their main d20 product (d20 Modern is not as successful), it strikes me that D&D is, indeed, really successful.

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