How Quickly Do You Bounce Off a System?

Retreater

Legend
“Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turn, then to go forward does not get you any nearer.
If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.” - C.S. Lewis

I have a recent example of reading a gaming book and being almost instantly turned off by the system. I picked up Free League's "The One Ring" on a Black Friday sale. Normally, I like Free League's content, and there's certainly a bit to like about TOR: the art, the physical presentation, and of course the deep Tolkien lore. But then there are design choices that made me sit up and ask "What are they thinking?"

You have three Attributes (Strength, Heart, Wits). You have three skills that could basically cover the same thing: Awareness, Scan, and Explore. Awareness (basically perception/initiative) is tied to ... Strength? Your beauty/appearance, also tied to Strength? So in the world of Lord of the Rings, we would describe the lovable Samwise Gamgee has a high Strength attribute? A nasty orc leader with a high Strength would be beautiful?

The dice you roll based off your skills are called "Success Dice" instead of simply "Skill Dice" - because, you know, they're based off Skills. You have another die called a "Feat" die, which isn't based on your Feats. Your Target Numbers are based off subtracting your Attribute from 20 (or 18 in some cases) to set a THAC0-like Target Number.

This post isn't intended to be a gripe session about The One Ring. We can apply my concerns to any game system (for example, I recently brought up my complaints about the SEIGE Engine for Castles and Crusades). When I imagine teaching a new system to a group of more casual players, I worry about the use of language in the system. I worry about extra steps like subtracting and adding (and dividing, in the case of Savage Worlds) during the same die roll. There are also common ways we're accustomed to RPGs working from a hobby being around for decades (d20, percentile, dice pools, 2d6) - why create a new method? Does it improve the game so substantially?

I sat down with this system for about 30 minutes and started reading the rules. Within those 30 minutes I went from a curiosity (and generally positive disposition) to thinking "I'm never going to run this." Do you have such a quick turnaround? Do you suggest trying something that you don't expect to work? Or do you just put it back on your shelf and move along - knowing there are many other games out there?
 

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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Pretty quickly, if I think this is going to be a pain to describe to the players.
This is my experience, too. My players love the 5th Edition D&D ruleset, so if a new system departs too far from it they won't be interested. There have been exceptions in the past (Dread comes to mind) so I keep my eyes peeled for new and interesting games... but I try not to get my hopes up.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I do quite a bit of research before I buy things. I try not to get stuff I wont use, but thats a challenge in this era of kickstarters and humble bundle deals. So, I do have a number of things bought sight almost unseen and a good number of not played yet. One that I bounced off of was Aces and Eights. A big part of that was how crunchy it was. It seemed complicated for the sake of complication. Also, the GM was not proficient with it so sessions stalled out as we scoured the rule book for understanding. Too hard to get to the fun. I'd try it again under the proficient GM who was excited about the system.
I sat down with this system for about 30 minutes and started reading the rules. Within those 30 minutes I went from a curiosity (and generally positive disposition) to thinking "I'm never going to run this." Do you have such a quick turnaround?
Not often. I like to give things a fair shake before writing them off. However, there have been times where I was not of mind to GM a session/campaign of such system and leave that to someone more enthusiastic about it.
Do you suggest trying something that you don't expect to work?
Trying as playing under an enthusiastic GM? yes. Trying as forcing yourself to run something you are not sure of? At most a one a shot if you are curious. Otherwise, im a firm believer in not GMing games you are not fully behind.
Or do you just put it back on your shelf and move along - knowing there are many other games out there?
There is always another day.
 

dragoner

KosmicRPG.com
This is my experience, too. My players love the 5th Edition D&D ruleset, so if a new system departs too far from it they won't be interested. There have been exceptions in the past (Dread comes to mind) so I keep my eyes peeled for new and interesting games... but I try not to get my hopes up.
DnD players also have a lot of sunk cost in things like dice, and wanting to use their favorite dice, as well as the general game play of leveling, class etc.. It is an elegant core system, though people howl when you suggest to designers to keep using it, if that is what you are using. When I was on itch, looking at a lot of indie games, they are interesting, though I remember someone saying "are we just trading the same $5 between ourselves?" Many of them are not play tested, and have a sort of genre writing vibe which is cool, though I could see if not on the same wavelength it could be difficult to get say a 5e player to take a stab at it.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Its been pretty fast on occasion, but there's only a couple things that are, essentially, non-starters (as compared to my having trouble engaging with the system, which I'm sometimes willing to give more time to); mandatory random character generation (as in, its the only method and the system is set up so its hard to find a way to get around that without breaking other system elements) and excessively stripped down/lumped design in the interest of ease and/or speed.
 


Retreater

Legend
I do quite a bit of research before I buy things. I try not to get stuff I wont use, but thats a challenge in this era of kickstarters and humble bundle deals. So, I do have a number of things bought sight almost unseen and a good number of not played yet. One that I bounced off of was Aces and Eights. A big part of that was how crunchy it was. It seemed complicated for the sake of complication. Also, the GM was not proficient with it so sessions stalled out as we scoured the rule book for understanding. Too hard to get to the fun. I'd try it again under the proficient GM who was excited about the system.
In my specific case with The One Ring, my "research" was based on 1) the track record of the publisher; 2) appreciation of the lore; and 3) reviews.
The reviews were mostly people going ga-ga over the art and layout and didn't really get into the system.
I hear ya about Aces and Eights. I immediately dropped that one after purchasing it discounted at a used book store.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
It may not have been as quickly, but I bounced off Traveller: New Era after reading the main rulebook and a couple of supplements. Traveller always had a semi-militarist bent with the potential for mercenary campaigns and most characters generating their way through the creation mini game with a military or paramilitary organization as their backstory. But after adopting the Twilight: 2000 game system as the house system, it's like TNE went ALL IN on militarism. It was like the rules were marinated in it and, frankly, it was a major turn off.
 

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