How do you feel about learning new rule systems?

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
My answer to the OP is really "I don't care much about the system": I'm interested or not in a game based on what the game is about, who wrote it, what setting it's in, what kind of character you play, etc... to some degree, I might care about the system in terms of "what kind of system is it". Is it a modified 5e game? Is it inspired my MERP or by old-school WFRP? Is it a hack of some other system?

But really I tend to think about it more in similar terms as board games. Every board game has different rules: picking up a new board game means you'll have to learn it! So am I going to only pick Carcassone extensions ("it's Carcassone, but with space settlements on asteroids!") the same way I might only play 5e games? Or am I open to any board game except a few that have mechanics I don't like (say, I don't want to play deck-building games) ?

There's a couple decent reasons to not want or be able to play games using a new rule system. "Not wanting to learn something new" is not one of those in my opinion.

I need to sit and think for a bit about how board games =/= role-playing games; I mean beyond the fiddly bits and the board itself. But I strongly believe they are different, and it's not equivalent in terms of reading the rules.

Maybe the first thing on this I'll say before is that with RPGs, at least ones that are GM-ful, is that the GM is expected to know most/all the rules; while the players are not actually expected to know them at all to start. Board games are usually - let's open the game together and learn the rules as we go.
 

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lordabdul

Explorer
I think we may end up creating our own. We've seen many different systems (I've been gaming for over 30 years) and haven't really found one that fits the way we want things to work.
Depending on your resources, extra rules on an existing system or a modified OGL ruleset might be vastly less work than making a new system from scratch. But if you have the time and energy and playtesting resources, yeah, go crazy. What kind of mechanics in particular would this new system feature that others don't?
 

lordabdul

Explorer
Maybe the first thing on this I'll say before is that with RPGs, at least ones that are GM-ful, is that the GM is expected to know most/all the rules; while the players are not actually expected to know them at all to start. Board games are usually - let's open the game together and learn the rules as we go.
RPGs and board games are totally different yeah -- I was just saying that my approach for deciding if I want to pick this new game I heard about are very similar.

In my experience, the vast majority of board games we play in my social circles are invariably brought by someone who has already played it before, and therefore knows the rules and is going to explain it to the rest of the table. It's true however that you could open the game and discover the rules together, which is something we can do with board games and not RPGs because board game rules fit in a 5 pages booklet that takes minutes to parse, whereas a new RPG game is a 256 pages book that takes hours to assimilate. In that regard, yes, someone will have to spend these hours reading the book. But the overall scale is also different: the 5 minutes spent learning the board game rules are invested so you can play that game for 30 minutes. The couple hours you spend reading the RPG book are potentially for several sessions of play. That's why Quickstart rules and starter sets are super useful: you get one or two sessions of play for an investment of, say, 30 minutes maybe? (most Quickstarts are under 20 pages for the rules section)... and also, they're often free.
 



doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I was trying to think about this more since I first posted, and I think part of it is that I will always find the limits of the system, and where it's difficult to make exactly the character I want, even though I don't have concepts that are super powerful or whatever. There is always some competency that is hard to have alongside whatever other competency is needed.

But in 5e DnD, I know the system well enough to just...make the thing custom for that character, and go from there.
 


Kodiak3D

Explorer
isn't fitting how others like to play more important than fitting how you like to work if sales is the goal?
In my opinion, sales being the primary goal is part of the problem with a lot of games. It stifles the creativity. While yes, sales would be wonderful, we're not fooling ourselves into thinking we're going to create the next D&D or Pathfinder and quit our day jobs. We're more interested in creating a good game that fits into the same niche that we fall into. Creating a new system isn't about making everyone happy. That's impossible, especially in RPG's. It's not about making people play the way we want, it's about finding out if people are interested in the way we want to play. If they are, and they want to help support our idea financially, all the better.

My friend and I (and our entire gaming group) are in our 40's and have played together for 25 years. We've played tons of different game systems in that time and have watched how things have changed over the years. Much like anyone else we really like some of the changes, and some not so much.

For example: back in the day (as I make myself sound ancient), you would find products like the 2nd edition AD&D splatbooks for the different regions of the Forgotten Realms. While yes, there was always some game material in them, they were more intended to fill out the world. It carried over into 3rd edition before it changed into a bigger focus on stats rather than worldbuilding. If I recall correctly, this was when Monte Cook left WotC and made his famous post about "chewy vs. crunchy." (I'd provide a link, but I can't find it. If anyone knows what I'm talking about and can share, please do.)

We're interested in creating a game that fits our vision of gaming and, hopefully, find others that enjoy it. If not, everyone is certainly welcome to continue playing whatever game they enjoy. That's what gaming is about, enjoyment.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
In my opinion, sales being the primary goal is part of the problem with a lot of games. It stifles the creativity. While yes, sales would be wonderful, we're not fooling ourselves into thinking we're going to create the next D&D or Pathfinder and quit our day jobs. We're more interested in creating a good game that fits into the same niche that we fall into. Creating a new system isn't about making everyone happy. That's impossible, especially in RPG's. It's not about making people play the way we want, it's about finding out if people are interested in the way we want to play. If they are, and they want to help support our idea financially, all the better.

My friend and I (and our entire gaming group) are in our 40's and have played together for 25 years. We've played tons of different game systems in that time and have watched how things have changed over the years. Much like anyone else we really like some of the changes, and some not so much.

For example: back in the day (as I make myself sound ancient), you would find products like the 2nd edition AD&D splatbooks for the different regions of the Forgotten Realms. While yes, there was always some game material in them, they were more intended to fill out the world. It carried over into 3rd edition before it changed into a bigger focus on stats rather than worldbuilding. If I recall correctly, this was when Monte Cook left WotC and made his famous post about "chewy vs. crunchy." (I'd provide a link, but I can't find it. If anyone knows what I'm talking about and can share, please do.)

We're interested in creating a game that fits our vision of gaming and, hopefully, find others that enjoy it. If not, everyone is certainly welcome to continue playing whatever game they enjoy. That's what gaming is about, enjoyment.

Given you already concluded this before your first post...why did you post this thread?
 

Kodiak3D

Explorer
Given you already concluded this before your first post...why did you post this thread?
I hadn't decided before I posted the thread. That was why I posted it, to see if resistance to a new system was too high to be worth putting the effort into creating a new one. After seeing the responses, I decided it was worth it.
 

pemerton

Legend
I hadn't decided before I posted the thread. That was why I posted it, to see if resistance to a new system was too high to be worth putting the effort into creating a new one. After seeing the responses, I decided it was worth it.
I think it would be worthwhile considering what sorts of systems people say they ware willing to try. And consider whether the system you are envisaging is comparable.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
Personally, I love learning new systems. I regularly buy RPGs just to study them. Not that I'm against running/playing the majority of them, but my gaming groups are far less interested in learning new systems. Regardless, I've found some cool ideas in various games over the years that I've then been able to splice into my D&D games.
 

aramis erak

Legend
You all play some really simple board games if you can learn the rules in 5 minutes and they only take 30 minutes to play.
Ticket to Ride New York. 5 minutes to explain. 20 minutes to play, 5 each setup/takedown. Simple in the mechanics. The strategies, however, are as in depth as the 1-2 hours of the larger TTR games.

Carcassonne - most can be played (using only the basic set) in 30-40 minutes, and the rules can be explained in 5 min.

Great Khan Game: plenty of depth - 7-10 min explanation, 20-60 min play time.

8 Minute Empires. 5-10 min explain time, 20-40 min playtime. (the name is hyperbole...)

Photosafari - 5 min explain, 15 min play time. much replay value.

Odin's Ravens: 3 min explain. 15 to 30 min play time. "It's candyland for adults"

Elkfest: 3 min to explain, 5 to 60 min, depending upon relative skills. (Dexterity game)

Any of a dozen whist variants. 5-7 min to explain.

plenty of short, non-shallow, simple to teach games available.
 

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
If I recall correctly, this was when Monte Cook left WotC and made his famous post about "chewy vs. crunchy." (I'd provide a link, but I can't find it. If anyone knows what I'm talking about and can share, please do.)
I would like to read this post.

I ask because a friend and I have some ideas for a game and were trying to decide on whether to use a current system or create a new one. We have some ideas for a new system that would focus more on RP than on crunch and also try to make things as easy for a GM as possible. I just didn't know if it was worth the time to put into it if people weren't interested in learning new systems, but it seems like most people are willing if the incentive to do so is there.
You don't really need a novel game. You just need a good marketing team. It helps if WAR is doing your art. I'd recommend using an open-license game, because that's gonna cut your workload by at least half. Check out the Mythological Figures kickstarter - the 5e stamp (and EN Publishing?) works wonders!
 


Ulfgeir

Hero
I'm just curious to see how people feel about new systems. Are you less likely to try a new game if it's a system you aren't familiar with?

If someone else is running it, I gladly give it a shot, and try to pick up enough of the rules to be able to play. If I am to run it, I would prefer a system I am familiar with, but if the setting/genre is interesting enough for me to play I will learn it.

Some systems seem to go out of their way to be complicated. So I would prefer simpler systems.
 

hawkeyefan

Legend
Some systems seem to go out of their way to be complicated. So I would prefer simpler systems.

I think this is a big part of things. Some systems are just easier to learn. I also think the more distinct the system is, the easier it is to differentiate from others. I mean, my group gets mixed up all the time with D&D rules and it’s because they’re familiar with like 8 different versions of the game with minor differences.

But the same group grasped the Alien RPG immediately because it was more distinct. Same with Blades in the Dark, although there was a learning curve for some of the less traditional elements, it was not about the core mechanic.
 

Ulfgeir

Hero
I think this is a big part of things. Some systems are just easier to learn. I also think the more distinct the system is, the easier it is to differentiate from others. I mean, my group gets mixed up all the time with D&D rules and it’s because they’re familiar with like 8 different versions of the game with minor differences.

But the same group grasped the Alien RPG immediately because it was more distinct. Same with Blades in the Dark, although there was a learning curve for some of the less traditional elements, it was not about the core mechanic.

Definitively agree here. I mean with I don't know how many different versions of D20/storyteller-system etc I have played, all with subtle differences on how certain mechanics work, my group always have to look up how did that specific thing work in THIS version. And that would be for some common things. Like grappling, conditions, initiative, saves.

Games that went out of their way to be complicated, just because they could (and it did NOT serve a purpose): Exalted 2e, Eclipse Phase 1e, Shadowrun 5e (all Shadowrun-versions have been complicated).
 

I'm just curious to see how people feel about new systems. Are you less likely to try a new game if it's a system you aren't familiar with?
I want a pitch for the system. I'm less likely to try a new system if no one can tell me why it's good - and more likely to try if someone can tell me it does something better than other systems I've tried.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!

Oh absolutely! :)

I primarily DM and I absolutely LOVE the whole concept of an RPG game system. I've written one to almost completion (it's totally playable, and my and my group have played it; it's in the never-ending 'tweaking phase' :) ), two others I tinker with off and on (one is VERY 'story/narrative oriented' with an eye towards Player involvement in world creation as you play; the other is a sort of odd 2d12 based system with other dice being the Ups and Downs, determined by a skill/stat comparison), and one I'm still putting into digital form. That one is one my best friend and I "whipped up in 15 minutes". Literally. To prove we could make a game at least as 'fun' as Rolemaster. We succeeded...easily! (it's....uh....lets just say "mature-child humour oriented"; silly things we found funny...stupid names, absurd concepts, just outright nutty stuff).

I pick up new systems like I pick up, uh, dice. Yeah. Who doesn't own at least a dozen different sets of dice? Go on, admit it, we're all gamers here! ;) Anyway, I have a fondness for the lesser known or systems, as well as anything that is a Generic Framework (e.g., Masterbook System, SilCORE, even GURPS...). I have probably two dozen "worlds/settings" or "conversions" using these other systems and popular ones. Trying to see what effect a systems mechanics and baseline-assumptions have on another game system/setting is just so dang enjoyable to me for some reason! For example, taking the "Savage Tide" Adventure Path for 3.5e D&D (from Paizo's Dungeon Magazine when they did it), and then 'converting' it for use as a Call of Cthulhu 'Adventure Path'. Or taking the "Age of Worms" AP (also from Paizo; for 3e) but 'converting' it for use in Star Frontiers. That kind of thing.

Suffice it to say, yeah, I'd consider myself an "expert" or "professional", in terms of knowledge and capability. I just absolutely LOVE tinkering and learning new systems! And after being a DM for 40 years (I'm 50...started when I was 10), I still find new things to create. Only in RPG's can you do that! 😍😎👍

So when one of my friends/players asks, "Hey, you wanna run a game of Star Frontiers, Call of Cthulhu, Dark Dungeons, Dominion Rules, or SUPERS next campaign?" My answer is always "Yes". ;)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

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