On playing new game systems

Greg K

Adventurer
Funny I was just making a reference to that in my previous post above. I have no idea why so many people have problems with "roll under" resolution systems... Is it because they grew up playing D&D and have a "beat the score" reflex ingrained? For me it's weird, it would be like refusing to play card games or board games that have a system where you need the least number of points to win, which is fairly common...
My first two games were Holmes's D&D and then AD&D. However, I have played numerous rpgs. After being introduced to those two games, I regularly played Gamma World, Boot Hill, Top Secret, Star Frontiers, Marvel Super Heroes, Toon. and Champions. All of the games except Gamma World (of which I might be mistaken after all of these years, are roll under. After that I have played more rpgs than I count and owned even more. Furthermore, for the longest time, Hero and GURPS were two of my favorite systems (both are roll under). So I have a lot of experience with roll under. It is just somewhere along the way, I found myself not enjoying the resolution mechanics of roll under systems (Toon may be the exception as I have not tried going back to it).

...although I was just researching this a bit and made some interesting discovery: Rummy, for instance, is commonly scored in France (where it's called "Rami") by adding up the points of all the cards you have remaining at the end, and so this is very much a "lowest score wins" game. I looked up the American version and it looks like the scoring is completely different (at least according to the Wikipedia page), and instead you score the cards that you put down and subtract the cards you have left in your hands... making it a "highest score wins" game! Is there some weird cultural bias at play here, and some countries just don't have a tradition of more varied scoring and resolution systems? How is Rummy played in the UK for instance?
To me card games and rpgs are like Apples and Oranges. Unlike rpgs, I don't go out of my way to play card games, and would not want to play card games on a regular basis. However, I have had fun playing different card games on occasion. Several of those card games were lowest score wins. So, for me the issue regarding high score and low score is not a cultural one.
 

Tun Kai Poh

Explorer
Roll under vs roll over is partly a holdover from recent versions of D&D, but also a personal preference thing to some degree.

The one kind of roll under that everyone seems to understand, however, is the percentile roll under system. Saying that your Dodge or Library Use in Call of Cthulhu is 69% is very intuitive! You know what your chance to succeed is! Whereas the equivalent, "roll 32 or higher on the d100" is actually a bit less intuitive in terms of understanding your chance to succeed.
 

lordabdul

Explorer
So I have a lot of experience with roll under. It is just somewhere along the way, I found myself not enjoying the resolution mechanics of roll under systems
Any kind of roll under? Regardless of whether it's a percentile roll under or bell curve 3d6 roll under or dice pool of D10s roll under?

Either way, that means you're in a different situation than I thought: you do have experience in many game systems already but you just don't like many of them for some reason. That's different from people who are reluctant to try them the first time (which is what the OP was about), and different from people who try them but somehow take a long time to (or maybe even never) get used to them (which is what I've witnessed a few times).
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
I don't have problem with either roll-under or roll-over; the math can work either way. I think there's possibly a problem with system coherence if the game has both approaches in it.

As far as new systems, in principle I'm willing to learn and play just about anything. In practice, there are time and budget limitations, as well as some settings and systems I'm less interested in revisiting.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
As far as new systems, in principle I'm willing to learn and play just about anything. In practice, there are time and budget limitations, as well as some settings and systems I'm less interested in revisiting.
I think many of us forget, not just the time and budget limitations (which are manifold and manifest) but also the difference in experience we have.

Other than quick, get-together party games, it can be HARD to learn a new game system. Or, at least, it used to be. After decades of experience, those grooves are pretty well worn.... for me. But as a DM that has to to introduce games to new players, I see the struggles to pick up new systems and games on a regular basis.
 

Ulfgeir

Explorer
Most complex system I have seen was probably Cthulhutech 1e. You had a dicepool, and you rolled to get semi-versions of pokerhands. And depending on what you rolled, you added the dice differently...
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
I think many of us forget, not just the time and budget limitations (which are manifold and manifest) but also the difference in experience we have.

Other than quick, get-together party games, it can be HARD to learn a new game system. Or, at least, it used to be. After decades of experience, those grooves are pretty well worn.... for me. But as a DM that has to to introduce games to new players, I see the struggles to pick up new systems and games on a regular basis.
Yup. Most new games I play at this point are co-op board games, because that's what we play when we're not playing a TTRPG (and most of the time when we're playing a TTRPG, we're playing D&D).
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Most complex system I have seen was probably Cthulhutech 1e. You had a dicepool, and you rolled to get semi-versions of pokerhands. And depending on what you rolled, you added the dice differently...
Well, I've ran across a bunch in my time. I remember Living Steel as being unfun to learn.

But the most complex was a system ... and the name escapes me .... but I recall being interested in it (this is the 80s), and it was modern warfare-style, but the rules for combat with the weaponry, and the amount of weaponry, were just .... oof. Ballistics ain't easy when you're making them super-realistic.
 

Ulfgeir

Explorer
Well, I've ran across a bunch in my time. I remember Living Steel as being unfun to learn.

But the most complex was a system ... and the name escapes me .... but I recall being interested in it (this is the 80s), and it was modern warfare-style, but the rules for combat with the weaponry, and the amount of weaponry, were just .... oof. Ballistics ain't easy when you're making them super-realistic.
Phoenix command?
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker
Well, I've ran across a bunch in my time. I remember Living Steel as being unfun to learn.

But the most complex was a system ... and the name escapes me .... but I recall being interested in it (this is the 80s), and it was modern warfare-style, but the rules for combat with the weaponry, and the amount of weaponry, were just .... oof. Ballistics ain't easy when you're making them super-realistic.
I'd imagine that trying to make modern warfare realistic would result in it being deadly. Not necessarily a bug, mind, just not necessarily a feature, either.

I used to have a gaming buddy who was a collector, mainly in the 1980s and 1990s, and he had a lot of really weird stuff that I have no idea what it was called or whether he was running it exactly right.
 

lordabdul

Explorer
I think many of us forget, not just the time and budget limitations (which are manifold and manifest) but also the difference in experience we have.
I believe the OP was motivated by the classic situation of "the game-master wants to play some new game, but the players don't want to". In that case, the GM usually has already bought the book(s), and is waving them around in front of uninterested friends. The only financial factor in play at this point for refusing to play the new game is what I mentioned in my earlier message, which is that some players feel obligated to buy the rulebook too. It's something that is very foreign to me -- in multiple decades of gaming, 99% of the time the only person who has books is the GM (or a player who is also a GM and has the books for GMing purposes).
 

DrunkonDuty

Adventurer
I'll be facing this quandary quite soon.

I've been playing Pathfinder with a group for about 3 years now. The new campaign, which should start in a month or so, is going to HERO system. But I'll talk them around.
 
99% of the time the only person who has books is the GM (or a player who is also a GM and has the books for GMing purposes).
This was my experience also, for much of my early involvement in the gaming hobby, but became less true as my peers and I became adults with more personal autonomy and disposable income.
 

atanakar

Adventurer
My willingness to try a new system is tied to what is available for the wanabee GM. If there is a free pdf starter kit with pre-gens and a short mission I'll give it a try if I like what I read. If I have to create characters and a story it will go at the bottom of the to do pile...
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
My argument was basically that it usually isn't.
So, my full quote was:

I think many of us forget, not just the time and budget limitations (which are manifold and manifest) but also the difference in experience we have.

Other than quick, get-together party games, it can be HARD to learn a new game system. Or, at least, it used to be. After decades of experience, those grooves are pretty well worn.... for me. But as a DM that has to to introduce games to new players, I see the struggles to pick up new systems and games on a regular basis.
To expand on that, I think it is somewhat easy to forget how much experience many of us have. If you are regularly in a position of teaching people who are new to something ... anything ... you quickly realize that the things you take for granted, are things that are really, really hard for some people to understand. It's a process.

And it works in multiple ways. After a great deal of time playing RPGs, you learn the general language of RPGs. You learn certain abstract concepts that are common between RPGs. You learn that some games are roll over, some are roll under. Some are dice pools, some aren't. You can abstract away from the instant game to get a quick understanding of the ruleset. But that comes with experience. In other words, the more different systems you play, and the more you play in general, the easier it should be to pick up new games.

But not always! From my own personal experience, I have often recounted what happened when I first ran across Amber (diceless RPG) the very first time. After more than a decade of playing various complex, dice-driven RPGs, I had no idea how to approach playing it. I remember reading it through, several times, and just thinking, "Okay, but ... what about the dice? How does this even?" And it took me months to try and run it, and it was, well, a failure. Because it was alien to me. But I kept at it, and eventually it took.

Anyway, I think that many modern RPGs are designed to be somewhat easy for new players to pick up; certainly a change in design from the early days of the game! I still think that we overestimate the gap between experienced players and inexperienced players.
 

3catcircus

Adventurer
I've seen a "D&D-snob" aspect from some people who've only ever played D&D when asked to try a new system that I don't see from people who are coming from almost any other TTRPG when asked to try a different TTRPG.

I noticed a lot of people who had no problem trying d20 Modern who turned their noses up at other modern systems even though just about any other system (GURPs, TW:2K, TORG, BRP, D6, Tales from the Loop, etc.) is far better suited to the needs of a modern era type of TTRPG. Spycraft did an ok job, but it had a significant amount of tailoring from d20.
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
Funny I was just making a reference to that in my previous post above. I have no idea why so many people have problems with "roll under" resolution systems... Is it because they grew up playing D&D and have a "beat the score" reflex ingrained? For me it's weird, it would be like refusing to play card games or board games that have a system where you need the least number of points to win, which is fairly common...

...although I was just researching this a bit and made some interesting discovery: Rummy, for instance, is commonly scored in France (where it's called "Rami") by adding up the points of all the cards you have remaining at the end, and so this is very much a "lowest score wins" game. I looked up the American version and it looks like the scoring is completely different (at least according to the Wikipedia page), and instead you score the cards that you put down and subtract the cards you have left in your hands... making it a "highest score wins" game! Is there some weird cultural bias at play here, and some countries just don't have a tradition of more varied scoring and resolution systems? How is Rummy played in the UK for instance?
I've surveyed 4th, 5th, and 6th graders as to preference for rolling dice... a stable preference for roll high is present even with those kids.

Gin Rummy as I was taught it was you get points equal to what your opponent(s) have in hand.
Mah jongg is a rummy variant as well, and it's usually losers pay the player going out the difference in points.
Regular rummy in the US is about how much you can put down, not so much about going out, with what's left in hand counting against.
Hand and foot and Canasta also are more about what you get down, not what's left in hand, but what's left in hand does cancel points.
 

Zhaleskra

Explorer
I've seen a "D&D-snob" aspect from some people who've only ever played D&D when asked to try a new system that I don't see from people who are coming from almost any other TTRPG when asked to try a different TTRPG.
I was a D&D-snob even having played other systems. Thankfully, I've recovered and in doing so have seen the flaws in earlier editions of D&D for the gigantic warts they are. Yes, I had fun, but I will never run or play AD&D2E again.

I agree that trying new systems is much easier as a player than as a GM trying to get others to try a system out.
 

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