Saturday, May 26, 2012

Another Day Off, And Some Thinky Talk

I didn't get anything written for the Obscure Games series today, so I'll just talk briefly about why I'm spending so many posts on Fantasy Wargaming, when I mostly just take one to cover other obscure games.

I really like the game, and it really felt strange to see the very negative reviews on the internet when I finally got around to joining in the gaming conversation here. It was the second fantasy roleplaying game I played (after AD&D), and perhaps the fourth or fifth RPG in general (after Traveller and Gamma World, and I don't recall if I'd played Metamorphosis Alpha before it, though I did own that last from very early in my gaming career). We had a lot of fun playing it, and the game made sense to me. Later in life, I would come to view some of the aspects of the game as negative (I have mentioned how I dislike the particular organization of the lists of factors involved in various resolution mechanics), and I do feel that there are a number of places that should have been better developed, but I still think that the game has potential. It was one of the first games to take the fantastic seriously, and attempt to build a coherent system of magic out of real theory.

I feel like the reviews to date have given the game an undeserved bad reputation. In part, I want to counter that reputation, but also the game was a pretty radical approach. It illuminates ideas of gaming in the early days that have gone by the wayside in the face of the narrative revolution that began, largely, with Dragonlance. Some of the writing in the book discussing the Leigh Cliffs game indicates that the authors were thinking in terms of a scenario very similar to the Braunstein games that originated this hobby. Looking at how they structured rules should give more insight into how such a game could be approached, and dismissing the game because someone on the internet wrote some snarky stuff about it is just plain dumb.

Anyway, I'll be getting to the section which includes stats for Jesus (sort of) next, so I'll be able to address the issues related to that. It's also the section that I would approach most carefully if/when I work on a revision of the game. There are many good ideas involved, but the execution is sometimes flawed. I may include some suggestions, but I may just present the material. We'll see.

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