First: A heartfelt request. Story-Games is hands-down the nicest forum I've ever personally experienced and I have confidence in you all, but since this seems like a it might be a delicate matter (and since, truth be told, my own instinctive response wasn't very productive), I just want to remind everyone to be as mindful and considerate as we know we can/should. This is a thread about a not-story-game. This involves a link to a forum that isn't part of the typical circle. If you have nothing at all to say on the subject, and I would certainly understand if so, please do not just post negativity, either here or there.
Anyway, here's the article in question: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/issue/98/11
The Escapist is an online 'zine about games which focuses on critique and psycho-cultural analysis rather than preview screenshots and hyperbole. Most of them take the format of arguing for the significance
of some video game's mechanics/success/failure/history/appearance. NPR, only in print, and about games.
Aftermath! is not a video game, though. It's a post-apocalyptic RPG of such table-heavy mechanical heft that Twilight 2000 has been known to say of it, "Wow, that guy's love of complexity and realism approaches the fetishistic!" (I've never heard of it before. Has anyone got any experience with it?)
The game is so mystifyingly cumbersome, so beautifully complicated, that even the hardest of the hard core find it to be impenetrable - and brilliant.
I was fascinated by this article. Nearly half of it's length is a combat example, featuring every addition and table consultation after addition and table consultation. Then it moves on to an example of successfully creepy play. People interested in directly responding to the article should do so there (req. free registration). The author is listening and responding, so it looks like genuine questions will get genuine answers. I admit that my direct response is something like "?!?" But it's expressed in a civil manner, and with a spirit of honest inquiry. So there.
As far as indirect response: How can I make games that simulate this complexity? That is, I have friends who find their enjoyment increased by complex rules-sets, which aren't always in the name of realism. I've got that bug a little, and they have it more. They like strategic play, but there seems to be something more direct at work as well: They hear about a game like this, and they are intrigued rather than repulsed (or both, also an observed and valid response).
So we have people who seem to like complexity, and people who seem to not. Is there something being perceived by the complexity-likers that can fade into the background for the simple-likers?
The two possibilities I seem to see right now are truly optional/additional systems, like the Scholar and Courtier techniques from Weapons of the Gods
, or 'procedurally generated' rules-sets for given sessions, like you see in most any customizeable card game. Anyone know of other games with similarly broad appeal across this (perhaps imaginary) gap?