Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How Big is Your Gaming Brain?

Dear Games Designers

Please, for the love of God, can you stop including obscure situational passive effects into your games? These things have been the bane of my existence throughout my CCG days and now they are part of my RPG play and they drive me insane.

What am I talking about? Well, in my Raw Deal days there was a card that sat on the table and every time you took damage, you took one less. Sounds good right? Well it is, if you remember that its there but inevitably, you forget and its annoying. There's no takey-backs in most CCGs so you lose out because of your poor memory or ability to be word-blinded by your opponent. Thats a case of playing better in a competitive game though, its annoying but part of the game.

In RPG sense, specifically D&D4e, the first instance are those bloody paragon tier powers that activate when you spend an action point. Now I don't think I'm over-stating the fact that D&D combat is a bit involved and you have to be paying attention and occassionally things get dropped along the wayside. I'm just about getting used to adding in my Pit Fighter bonus to things but I might only do it 50% of the time. Now, Marked Scourge has been errata'd so that it can only be used once per turn. This isn't an action or a spell - this is a bonus effect from a feat that is currently factored into all of my damage. Its a nightmare of forgetfulness.

I can abide having some degree of system mastery in my CCGs, but I hate it in my RPGs. Although D&H/BtQ have some situational modifiers, the card pool generation system allows for a quick sweep of your character sheet and then one flop to resolve a situation. Compare that with the multiple interacting modifiers and actions that can impact on one of maybe five dozen rolls in one combat and I think I'm safe from stone/glass house references.

I propose, if designers are adamant that they want to follow this path, someone design some sort of Roleplaying Brain Training program to remember all of these modifiers!

1 comment:

Mark said...

Maybe have a laptop to track the powers and work out your damage added to the roll. They could even add a graphical component for your bloke hitting the monsters, maybe even let you move him about using the WASD keys.