So boys, girls and small fish called Brian, what makes a good game? Now that’s an interesting question, but before we answer we have to decide whether we are discussing role-playing games or war-gaming, (both geeky, and that is why we love them!) or do we start with board/card/dice or strange adult games? Hmm, we shall called this part uno, and we shall be talking about role-playing games I think.
Right then how long have I been a role-player? Yikes! let me see, it was way back when…The Middle Earth game had just been released! (you remember? The one in the purple box, hell I still have those D10’s!) This was also the first game I had to run as a GM, nothing to worry about, just a little trip in the Mines of Moria for the players, and it only lasted 6 hours! So it has been a long, long time. And even now the system used for that game still remains a favourite for our group.
But what made it good? Character generation was simple enough, but for me it was the combat! We loved the nasty critical tables, very graphic! But the real reason was simple, background! We all knew and loved The Lord of Rings, so we knew what we were doing, we knew the world, we knew how scary orcs should be, and believe me in that game they really, really were!
So in essence is that the answer? Background? I know our players take ages going over every detail of their characters past, (well nearly all) so they can connect with them. If you know your games background, (and as a GM you need to know it intimately! Behave!) that must help? But then you need a system and game mechanics that help with that, for example, the original Star Wars system used D6’s. Now a lot of people did not like the system because it was too simple, but I liked that fact, it meant you could concentrate on the game and not let the system bog down the action.
For our role playing group, the games they like the most are those with great backgrounds, Pendragon, (we did the First Crusade and the Battle of Hastings) Dark Heresy, Deathwatch, Earthdawn, Cyberpunk to name but a few. Damn it! Now I feel like I may have to get writing another adventure….
Maybe next time we’ll do the toy soldier stuff?
Till then, rollin, rollin, rollin..