On playing new game systems

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
People often say it’s too much work to learn a new RPG. But people time sit down all the time to one-shots & demos at conventions with no work/prep. Learning a new RPG is super easy. The core mechanic of many games can be described in under 30 seconds, especially if somebody at the table knows it.

You can often just describe the core mechanic and start roleplaying. "To do something roll 2d6 and add your ability and beat the target", for example. Other stuff can be added in gradually if needed later.

While it's true you can technically do most things with any given rules system, different rules systems definitely provide different experiences, and they're worth checking out. Especially if the system is specifically designed for that genre. Different rules emphasize and incentivize different types of play.

As a super simple example, Dread does suspense really, really well. D&D does high fantasy about as well as anything could.

It is harder for the GM, but if you have a GM who knows the system, playing it is a fairly negligible difficulty compared to many things we do every every day. And so worth it!

System mastery isn't needed. You don't need to be an expert to do something.

So this is just me saying that if trying a new game system seems like too much work to you, give it a try! You may find it's a lot easier than you expected! And as a bonus, you get to have fun!
 
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I've been all about trying new games lately. Not only has it been fun to play new games and try new mechanics, but I also think it's kind of helped me improve at gaming overall. Maybe that seems odd, but that's how it feels.

Everyone should try something new in their gaming sessions now and again.
 

lordabdul

Explorer
So this is just me saying that if trying a new game system seems like too much work to you, give it a try! You may find it's a lot easier than you expected! And as a bonus, you get to have fun!
Yes, trying new games is a lot of fun! (I'm the GM 99% of the time so the work and money spending is on me anyway)

From my experience, people who don't want to try a new game are reluctant because of a mix of various reasons:

1. They're the kind of player who likes to buy the rulebook themselves so they can make characters or learn the rules on their own. If they don't have the time or money to do that, they would feel like they're missing out somehow, so they'd rather play what they know and own.

2. They're the kind of player who want to know the system well enough to make highly tactical decisions in both character creation or during adventures. Often, I find that these are the people who reason in terms of rules and not in terms of narration (i.e. they're choosing to flank the goblins not because it makes sense in-world, but because it gives mechanical bonuses). These players will often tell me that, sure, this 7th Sea one-shot was fun but let's go back to playing Pathfinder or GURPS or whatever. But hey at least they tried!

3. Rarely, it's not that they don't want to learn a new system, it's just that they're not interested in a new game premise. They might be OK playing the same genre with different mechanics, but they're not interested in trying anything else than dark and broody vampires, or medieval fantasy, or whatever.

(I've had all 3 types at my tables)
 

Arilyn

Hero
Yes, there are a lot of fun games out there. Trying to stick to one rule set for all genres means you are probably not getting the best experience. D&D is not well designed for Lovecraftian horror for example.

I don't quite get why people don't want to learn new game rules. Gaming is our hobby, and absolutely the more systems you learn the better you get at game design, even if you don't plan on actually designing games.

Plus, right now, there are so many gems out there waiting to be discovered.
 
Yeah, I have to agree with the sentiment that learning a new game is not as tough as we often think.

Honestly, I find it much harder to remember all the different nuances amongst editions of D&D and related games because the differences are minor. So it’s easy to forget that there’s no need for a 5 Foot Step (or a Shift) in 5E, but I’d never mix up elements of Tales From the Loop with D&D.
 

Reynard

Legend
My RPG New Year's Resolution is to try games -- old or new -- that I haven't but have meant to. I run a weekly D&D Descent into Avernus game but we are going to use the first Wednesday of the month to play something we haven't tried before. It's starting with Modiphius 2d20 Fallout because Beta, but we are looking forward to trying Monster of the Week, N.E.W., and other games
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
I play new games all the time, right now I'm playing in a game with the brand new revised T5 rules that were released recently. If it's fun, I'll play it again, and if it wows me, I will probably buy and run it. Nevertheless, there are caveats: don't like the designer or publisher, mechanics are overly fiddly, or the setting doesn't appeal to me, the desire is low.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
3 reasons.

1. Time
2. Money
3. Finding players.

Hypothetically play anything, reality has different opinion.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Learning a new RPG is relatively easy for the experienced player...if someone supplies pregenerated characters.

Otherwise, the players will need to spend some time figuring stuff out, ESPECIALLY if the game has complex character design, like HERO.

...not that any of that has dissuaded ME. I’ve played in between 60-70 different systems- including a couple of playtests- and have owned as many as 150 at my peak. Most of them I found to be enjoyable in some way, though a couple were definitely losers in my mind.
 

schneeland

Explorer
Learning a new RPG is relatively easy for the experienced player...if someone supplies pregenerated characters.

Otherwise, the players will need to spend some time figuring stuff out, ESPECIALLY if the game has complex character design, like HERO.
That's also my experience. Picking up a new system is even easier when there is a quickstart version of the rules, so that it's possible to get a basic grasp on the system without an extensive investment of time.

I think the latter is also the major reason that dissuades me from really running new systems (I still buy way too many of them) - as the "default GM" for new systems, I have to read and understand the rules. And as my hair continues to shift its colour to grey, it's becoming more difficult to fit that into my life.
 

Nebulous

Hero
I have had a hard time recruiting people to try new games. I have posted in gaming venues for Cthulhu, Shadow of the Demon Lord, Numenera, and Shadows over Brimstone, but I don't hear a peep. It's only about D&D. I'm talking about in person games, not online. And although I do like running D&D, I really need to try something else. I've been wanting to run 7e pulp cthulhu for a long time now.

Oh, and I had the Alien RPG come in the mail today. That looks awesome.
 

Reynard

Legend
Also, I sometimes find it harder to run new versions of games I know than totally new games, simply because i have to try and forget or redefine rules. Trying to figure out Pathfinder 2e is a bit of a pain.
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
Did you like the T5 rules? How did they compare to Mongoose Traveller (if you've played that)?
T5 needs editing, though mongoose does too. T5's tone is more the regular gritty Traveller tone, mongoose is more goofy. T5 makes the ability score/characteristic very important by basing the roll off it, where mongoose flattens everything out, so Dex or Int 15 in T5 is a wow! Where in mongoose it's +3. Generally the quality of T5 products is high, but there are few of them; mongoose has a ton of products, though the quality of some of them is so low, it makes one question paying money for them. Ultimately it is a competition between a 1990's rules set (T5) and a 2000's rules set (mongoose), sort of like AD&D 2e vs D&D 3.5; it would be interesting to see an actual modern iteration. With editing, I would like T5 better, except with the caveat that I'm not chained to the 2d6 like some are.
 

Arilyn

Hero
I'm glad D&D is doing well. I like the game well enough, but it's always been a shame that it usually dominates the hobby so thoroughly. Try telling a non hobbyist gamer what you do. There's a good chance they know about D&D, but are puzzled when you try to explain there are other role playing games out there. I've met regular D&D players who don't know about other games. Or, as what used to happen to my husband decades ago, "Can we play that D&D game in space?" Meant Traveller.

I love quickstart guides too. Great way to get into new game, and get your feet wet.

I don't actually like using pre-gens with new players. Creating their own character means they are more likely to remember their character's abilities, and tends to get them more excited to play. Helps cement rules.

It is challenging getting a group to try something new, or attract players to new systems. Starting off with a one shot can work. Play 5e, then offer a one shot game in genre that you think might engage table. Then hopefully, they'll be asking you to do that super hero or horror game again. One shots are a situation where I would go with pre-gens.
 
I have always been all about D&D first and foremost, but recently I have decided that more than anything I want to have a big Fallout-ish RPG using the Wasteland Warfare stuff from Modiphius. If only it weren't going to be so expensive to do that...
 

Nebulous

Hero
It is challenging getting a group to try something new, or attract players to new systems. Starting off with a one shot can work. Play 5e, then offer a one shot game in genre that you think might engage table. Then hopefully, they'll be asking you to do that super hero or horror game again. One shots are a situation where I would go with pre-gens.
I should try that (again) with my D&D group, but they're newbies and love D&D and when I tell them their CoC characters are supposed to eventually go crazy and gruesomely die they're, like, um, No. But then I say it's PULP Cthulhu so they'll live way longer than normal! Didn't help.

Maybe one day when a couple of them can't play I'll force a one shot on the others :)
 
I should try that (again) with my D&D group, but they're newbies and love D&D and when I tell them their CoC characters are supposed to eventually go crazy and gruesomely die they're, like, um, No. But then I say it's PULP Cthulhu so they'll live way longer than normal! Didn't help.

Maybe one day when a couple of them can't play I'll force a one shot on the others :)
I think that having something ready to go for the occasion that not everyone can make it is he best way to intro a new game. That way the people who can’t make it don’t miss anything, and the people who are there still get to play something.
 

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