What criticisms do you have for current or previously used systems?

What criticisms do you have for current or previously used systems?

  • (Combat) Combat too “ad hoc” or “hand wavy”

    Votes: 3 8.3%
  • (Combat) Combat too slow/involved/complex

    Votes: 16 44.4%
  • (Combat) Inaccurate challenge ratings

    Votes: 12 33.3%
  • (Combat) Overly “cinematic” combat

    Votes: 2 5.6%
  • (Combat) Overly “realistic” combat

    Votes: 5 13.9%
  • (Combat) Overly combat focused

    Votes: 10 27.8%
  • (Combat) Overly tactical combat

    Votes: 8 22.2%
  • (Core Rules) Balance issues

    Votes: 9 25.0%
  • (Core Rules) Dice system (dice pools, specialty dice, number of dice types used)

    Votes: 4 11.1%
  • (Core Rules) Excessive work required to build adventures

    Votes: 9 25.0%
  • (Core Rules) Incongruent incentives for advancement

    Votes: 6 16.7%
  • (Core Rules) Insufficient risk/danger to PCs

    Votes: 9 25.0%
  • (Core Rules) Lack of “fail forward” mechanic

    Votes: 5 13.9%
  • (Core Rules) Lack of skill synergy

    Votes: 5 13.9%
  • (Core Rules) Lack of subsystems for non-combat play

    Votes: 15 41.7%
  • (Core Rules) Lack of system for character personality, motivations, nature, goals (e.g. BIFT, Passio

    Votes: 4 11.1%
  • (Core Rules) Lacks horizontal character growth

    Votes: 10 27.8%
  • (Core Rules) Overly dangerous/deadly to PCs

    Votes: 7 19.4%
  • (Core Rules) Overly reliant on a DM/GM/referee

    Votes: 6 16.7%
  • (Core Rules) Overly reliant on modifiers/math

    Votes: 8 22.2%
  • (Core Rules) Roleplay too systemized

    Votes: 3 8.3%
  • (Core Rules) Simplistic pass/fail mechanics

    Votes: 9 25.0%
  • (Core Rules) Skill list overly big/long/specialized

    Votes: 9 25.0%
  • (Core Rules) Starting PCs are too powerful

    Votes: 5 13.9%
  • (Core Rules) Starting PCs not powerful enough

    Votes: 5 13.9%
  • (Core Rules) System not scalable for different party sizes

    Votes: 7 19.4%
  • (Core Rules) Unclear roles and constraints between GM and players at the table

    Votes: 4 11.1%
  • (Core Rules) Unclear, inconsistent or overly involved subsystems (skills, spells, saving throws, mon

    Votes: 10 27.8%
  • (Dynamics) Lack of mechanics for pushing story narrative

    Votes: 7 19.4%
  • (Dynamics) Overemphasis on roleplay

    Votes: 1 2.8%
  • (Dynamics) Rules effects need to better represent other media (TV, film, books, comics)

    Votes: 3 8.3%
  • (Dynamics) Rules effects overly represent other media (TV, film, books, comics)

    Votes: 1 2.8%
  • (Dynamics) Rules feel overly heavy/crunchy

    Votes: 9 25.0%
  • (Dynamics) Rules feel overly light/barebones

    Votes: 11 30.6%
  • (Dynamics) Style over substance

    Votes: 6 16.7%
  • (Dynamics) System doesn’t fit the setting well

    Votes: 8 22.2%
  • (Dynamics) System tended to result in GM as sole storyteller

    Votes: 4 11.1%
  • (Dynamics) Underemphasis on roleplay

    Votes: 6 16.7%
  • (Rulebook) Art, layout, editing, writing

    Votes: 7 19.4%
  • (Rulebook) Not enough advice for GMs creating their own adventures

    Votes: 8 22.2%
  • (Rulebook) Rule explanations are unclear

    Votes: 13 36.1%
  • (Rulebook) Rules are poorly organized/hard to find

    Votes: 20 55.6%
  • (Rulebook) Rules feel incomplete

    Votes: 12 33.3%
  • (Rulebook) System needs more content (subclasses, adventures, systems)

    Votes: 6 16.7%
  • (Social) Difficult to shift mindset from previous system(s)

    Votes: 2 5.6%
  • (Social) Missed access to IP resources from other systems (iconic monsters, spells)

    Votes: 2 5.6%
  • (Social) Prefer GMless group story building

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • (Social) System fatigue

    Votes: 4 11.1%
  • Other (describe below):

    Votes: 3 8.3%
  • (Dynamics) Overemphasis on “story”

    Votes: 5 13.9%
  • (Dynamics) Overemphasis on “realism”

    Votes: 4 11.1%

And what if someone complains about like AD&D's weapon speed rules but that person doesn't truly understand the function of those rules? So now someone's complaining about that which they do not comprehend. So it's just aimless complaints, right?

I'm just trying to get a handle on this survey is all. I guess if I had a valid complaint it would be Apocalypse World's SEX MOVES. WTF people. When I first read it I thought Baker was attempting a rules-lite version of FATAL.

523d0fe4f2874724e0420749c80f7f35.gif
Uhrmmm...

Edit for clarification: Maybe you simply don't understand the function of those rules?
 

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TiQuinn

Registered User
How does one know outside of subjective "feelings" that an aspect of an rpg deserves criticism? Like, if I don't like that Apocalypse World doesn't have rules for underwater knife fights, I can be critical of that but does the game really need rules for underwater knife fights? Or like the art. If I don't like an rpg because the art is "bad" is that valid criticism of the system? What about the tone the game's written in? I mean people can complain all day but what if it's just misplaced?

IMO, it's valid and informative because it highlights an area that someone had an issue with, and in reviewing a game's rules or book, I can decide how important that is for me. I've heard people complain about artwork before, and thought it never really bothered me, but then there's been a few books that I really thought looked sloppy, and in a couple of cases now, I didn't buy the game - based just on my reaction to stuff like artwork and layout. I didn't realize how important it was to me until it was mentioned.

Same goes for underwater rules. Okay, so what? So someone really hates that system X doesn't have underwater rules, or maybe they have them, but they're crap. Well, I can evaluate what that means to me. I have information from someone that this might be a cause of concern, and now I can pay a little closer attention and decide whether it's really a problem for me or not. And if I REALLY don't vibe with someone's complaints about a system, then I know I really don't have to worry about what they have to say elsewhere - we're looking for different things in games.
 

Which leads to my next question:

How does one know outside of subjective "feelings" that an aspect of an rpg deserves criticism? Like, if I don't like that Apocalypse World doesn't have rules for underwater knife fights, I can be critical of that but does the game really need rules for underwater knife fights? Or like the art. If I don't like an rpg because the art is "bad" is that valid criticism of the system? What about the tone the game's written in? I mean people can complain all day but what if it's just misplaced?

And what if someone complains about like AD&D's weapon speed rules but that person doesn't truly understand the function of those rules? So now someone's complaining about that which they do not comprehend. So it's just aimless complaints, right?

I'm just trying to get a handle on this survey is all. I guess if I had a valid complaint it would be Apocalypse World's SEX MOVES. WTF people. When I first read it I thought Baker was attempting a rules-lite version of FATAL.
Think of it like this: if you are a designer starting on a new edition of a game, or designing a completely new game, it would be useful to understand the general concerns players have had with previous games. The "hot button" items will tend to have more votes whereas the more...esoteric...complaints will have fewer votes. These complaints may be about specific games but it's useful to know what things are putting the most "sand in the gears" generally.
 
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payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Which leads to my next question:

How does one know outside of subjective "feelings" that an aspect of an rpg deserves criticism? Like, if I don't like that Apocalypse World doesn't have rules for underwater knife fights, I can be critical of that but does the game really need rules for underwater knife fights? Or like the art. If I don't like an rpg because the art is "bad" is that valid criticism of the system? What about the tone the game's written in? I mean people can complain all day but what if it's just misplaced?

And what if someone complains about like AD&D's weapon speed rules but that person doesn't truly understand the function of those rules? So now someone's complaining about that which they do not comprehend. So it's just aimless complaints, right?

I'm just trying to get a handle on this survey is all. I guess if I had a valid complaint it would be Apocalypse World's SEX MOVES. WTF people. When I first read it I thought Baker was attempting a rules-lite version of FATAL.

523d0fe4f2874724e0420749c80f7f35.gif
I think the best critics are ones that can separate subjective taste from actual practical criticism. For example, a person might say they do not like the artwork becasue it doesnt seem to fit the genre. Though, they frame that in their opinion. Now, if the game has underwater combat, and knife fighting is expected, but lacking or missing, thats a criticism of how the system fails to work as intended.

If somebody says, "there is no underwater knife fighting rules in AW, its garbage" then its somebody you shouldn't listen to anymore. Either they have no experience in rhetoric and/or criticism, or they know better but are doing it anyways.
 

Theory of Games

Disaffected Game Warrior
I mean all rules should have a purpose, I guess? I think it's a bit weird to argue that "if we want to listen to what person X is saying about rule Y person X must know what the purpose of rule Y is in the first place" and then to dismiss the sex rules in AW by questioning what purpose they serve!
I wasn't arguing anything. I'm asking questions in order to gain a better understanding. And I would never dismiss AW's rules from a design viewpoint. It's an innovative game. My issue is the sex moves are tasteless and shouldn't be in such a creative system at all.
 

IMO, it's valid and informative because it highlights an area that someone had an issue with, and in reviewing a game's rules or book, I can decide how important that is for me. I've heard people complain about artwork before, and thought it never really bothered me, but then there's been a few books that I really thought looked sloppy, and in a couple of cases now, I didn't buy the game - based just on my reaction to stuff like artwork and layout. I didn't realize how important it was to me until it was mentioned.

Same goes for underwater rules. Okay, so what? So someone really hates that system X doesn't have underwater rules, or maybe they have them, but they're crap. Well, I can evaluate what that means to me. I have information from someone that this might be a cause of concern, and now I can pay a little closer attention and decide whether it's really a problem for me or not. And if I REALLY don't vibe with someone's complaints about a system, then I know I really don't have to worry about what they have to say elsewhere - we're looking for different things in games.
Anyone designing a game might care more about some feedback than others, but it's still useful to know what larger groups of people are griping about. It's even useful to know that fewer people are griping about "X" if you are designing for a particular niche.
 
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Thomas Shey

Legend
I think the best critics are ones that can separate subjective taste from actual practical criticism. For example, a person might say they do not like the artwork becasue it doesnt seem to fit the genre. Though, they frame that in their opinion. Now, if the game has underwater combat, and knife fighting is expected, but lacking or missing, thats a criticism of how the system fails to work as intended.

If somebody says, "there is no underwater knife fighting rules in AW, its garbage" then its somebody you shouldn't listen to anymore. Either they have no experience in rhetoric and/or criticism, or they know better but are doing it anyways.

Yeah, I think there's a difference between "This particular game does X, because it wanted X for a particular purpose, and I don't like that" and "This particular game does Y, and seems to not have any idea what the implications of Y in play is". Both can be legitimate complaints on a personal level (and thus warn off people who will also likely dislike it) but I think the second is the more generally useful.
 

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Yeah, I think there's a difference between "This particular game does X, because it wanted X for a particular purpose, and I don't like that" and "This particular game does Y, and seems to not have any idea what the implications of Y in play is". Both can be legitimate complaints on a personal level (and thus warn off people who will also likely dislike it) but I think the second is the more generally useful.
Sure I also notice a lot of "Insert game does X in a Y way, but I prefer X done in a Z way; therefore insert game sucks". Having some awareness about your preferences is a good thing.
 

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