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On playing new game systems


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.
As a player, you just have to show up. The problem is managing player expectations. "No you can't just charge in and kill everything, the guards note your feeble attempt to kick in the inner door as you bounce off the bullet-proof glass. They've maglocked the front entrance and are calling the police. Does anyone have an electronics kit to try and disengage the maglock? A prybar? Anyone? Anyone?" is a hard thing to hear when you're used to killing orcs and taking their stuff...

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aramis erak

As a player, you just have to show up.
I disagree. While the heavy lifting is usually done by the GM, players do have efforts needed to make a game work - including character generation decision.

Especially since various games have different class/role paradigms.
  • Classic D&D/AD&D : A tough combattant (Fighter, Ranger, Paladin, Cavalier), a blaster (Wizard), a healer/buffer* (Cleric), and a trap bypasser (Thief, or partial by Bard or Monk).
  • D&D 4E: controller, defender, leader, and striker. (I strongly disagree with the 4E assertion that these are the same as the pre-3E roles; they overlap them a bit)
  • Vietnam War games (EG: Recon): pigman (machine gunner), scout, rifleman, radioman, medic, officer, driver
  • Star Wars: Pilot, Technician, Gunner, troop, rogue, slicer, Heavy Weapons troop, medic, Diplomat
  • Star Trek (TOS): helm/gunnery,nav/shields, engineer, security, doctor, scientist, comms/electronic warfare. command/diplomat.
  • Tunnels and Trolls 1st-5th: Wizard, rogue-mage, Warrior-Wizard everyone else.
  • Tunnels and Trolls 7th-8th: Mage, one of several specialist mages, rogue-mage, 7 other specialist types, citizen.
  • TFT: Wizard, non-wizard; non-wizard roles can include a wide range, because the talents are a skill system.
And there is also the minimal level of learning what dice to roll for which things. speeds up play if the GM doesn't need to tell them which dice to roll every bloody time.

And, of course, figuring out what the stats make the character capable of... or incapable of... so they can roleplay it, or at least make meaningful choices.

* one who buffs others, not to be confused with the Commonwealth military use of the same nickname

My argument was basically that it usually isn't.
I have been gaming since the early 80's and I played a lot of game systems that were not simple to learn or explain, such as Shadowrun, Cyberpunk, Rifts, Twilight: 2000, MERP/Rolemaster, The One Ring, and D&D 3rd Ed. Games I played that were relatively easy to explain to new players included AD&D 1st and 2nd edition (even with THAC0), the original version of Traveler, the White Wolf Storyteller system, and the Call of Cthulhu/Basic Roleplaying system. I am not even listing all the systems over the past 35+ years that I, or another player in one of my groups, bought and read and decided was too complex or broken to try and learn to play.


The use of Jenga in Dread, does not work for those of us with certain physical disabilities.

Now, beyond, that I just like resolution to be influenced by my characters skills and abilities.
Dread does take into account characters skills and abilities. Depending on what you put on the questionnaire at the start, you might not need to make a pull in certain circumstances where other players might, or you might have to make more pulls if you are disadvantage for some reason.

But yeah if you can't physically play Jenga then no matter how elegant the system is, it isn't going to work for you.


Trying new games has lead to all sorts of great games. In my group, we have a good mix of people who like to run a game as much as play one. We didn't want one person to get stuck running a game for years, so we decided to do "seasons". We have a few games that we rotate through ever couple of months. We change games and genres, so everyone gets something they love. When a game comes around again, we pick up where we left off. Right now we're playing D&D and a superhero game. We're looking to add some cyberpunk. Our superhero game is actually a mix of different games. The premise is that we're a team of superheroes trying to solve a multiversal problem. So we play different versions of our heroes on different worlds, each world a different game. When we solve part of the problem and learn something new, we progress to the next world and get a little more powerful. It's a ton of fun and we've tried games that most of us have never tried.

We also take a little break from regular games from around Thanksgiving to New Years, as holiday schedules are rough. So we call that "One Shot Season". If someone has a game kicking around they haven't been able to try yet, or wants to try their hand running something else we play, we do a one shot. Whoever can make it joins the one shot and we try a new game. We found some great games that way too, that we probably wouldn't have tried otherwise. So yeah, definitely try new games. There may be a learning curve but it's usually worth the effort.

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