Monday, April 26, 2010

Back In Brief

The week off was fantastic for my wordcount. Project's due on the 30th, and I've gone from running in circles panicked to comfortably within sight of done. it also revealed a few things about my writing and most tellingly really demonstrated that this blogging thing has been working all the right muscles. My wordcount in a sitting and in a day have both improved dramatically since my last project, so much so that it's pretty much impossible to ignore. I'm pleased enough that I'm half tempted to re-skin some old Charles Atlas ads to talk about "The BLOG that made a MAN out of Pete!"

However, the project's still out there and it's not yet the 30th, so I need to remind myself to stay brief. It's harder than it sounds, since I'm developing a mental backlog, but I'll manage. With that in mind, I'm going to answer a question that came up. A while back I stuck my head very deeply down two different holes: the new Warhammer RPG 3rd edition (here, here, here and here), and the new Dragon Age RPG boxed set (here, here and here) . I was pretty happy with both games, and had some nice things to say, but here we are a few months later: where do they stand?

The most damning thing I can say about warhammer is that I haven't even been faintly tempted to pull it out to play again. It was fun, I enjoyed it, but its footprint (which is to say, the thought of digging out all those bits and keeping them straight) is so large that it's hard for me to have any kind of casual interest. Like 4e, playing it is a production, and I don't have time for a production. Also, when I come up with an idea for a game, it's usually the idea first, followed by my mentally running down a list of games I might make fit this. WHFRP3 runs Warhammer really well, but it never makes the list for other game ideas. That's not a criticism of the game - it does what it's supposed to - and I know that with time and effort I could hack it, but the level of effort is just too high for the return.

Dragon Age, on the other hand, is both more prominent in my thoughts and more frustrating. I liked the core system and it's retty lightweight. That means its not onerous for me to turn to, and it's easily tweaked to support other game ideas. At least in theory. My frustration comes from the fact that it's only 25% of a game, and I don't know how long I must wait for the next 25%. I do know that if I were actually running it, I'd have bumped up against the level 5 cap a long time ago. So when I think of a game, it's often one of my first thoughts for what I might like to try to use, but then I realize I jsut don't have enough meat to manage it.

That said, I absolute _could_ hack Dragon Age. It's got some system elements that absolute beg for it. But I choose not to because Green Ronin are some pretty smart guys, and I don't doubt that whatever they have planned for subsequent boxes will be fantastic. I don't want to spoil my own experience of that by takign off in a different direction and deciding they're doing it "wrong." I want ot give them a chance to show me what they'll do with it before I start really takign it weird places. Also, it's not an open system, and while that's no problem at my own table, it takes some of the joy out of redesign. That's not a problem with the game so much as a problem with me.

Anyway, that's where they stand - excited promise and a muddled now. WHFRP3 is probably unlikely to change status, which is a shame since it really is lovely and novel. But I'm optimistic that at some poitn down the line I'll have something different to say abotu Dragon Age.


  1. Re: Dragon Age – I share the sentiment about it being a 25% game. I considered planning a "1st Box Game" with six/seven sessions, and then wait until the next box comes up before I plan anything more.

    This somehow reminds me of "season break anxiety" for tv series; which I don't like very much and which made me stop following tv series closely.

  2. Warhammer 3e is sitting on my gaming shelf like strange girl at prom . . . oh, she looks good all dressed up, and you know she's got a lot of interesting things to talk about, but chances are you might get stuck with her when there is so much other stuff going on.

    Um, in other words, I agree with your assessment.

  3. Rob,

    "Like 4e, playing it is a production, and I don't have time for a production."

    I'm working on a little something to alleviate this problem. See for more details. I'd love to get your opinion if you have time to look it over.

    Lee Short


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