Until such time that the web host decides they need to kick me out, I will add things here and there. So what have I been up to in the past month or so? So glad you asked! As a group, we have been continuing to play Warhammer and I have to say, for a game with a lot of rules I have been enjoying it mostly. But what have I noticed about the game that I think might be detracting from it a little bit?
I love running a gritty style game. I like the players to think that the next combat may be the last. In reality, advantage really destroys that feeling. I remember playing first edition Warhammer and if you ran out of Fate points you knew your time was up. They have Fate in this also, but they extend it and offer an advantage mechanic that goes toward showing momentum in combat or social engagement.
The problem with this mechanic is the fickleness of it for the NPC’s. If an NPC builds some advantage there are options for the players to simply spend a point and remove their advantage. When a player builds advantage though the NPC just has to lose – there is no chance they will ever get back in the game except by sheer dumb luck. Also, there are ways to gain an advantage by simple actions or talents. The players are canny and already they are manipulating that system so that when they have to make a roll they are already well ahead on advantage over the NPC.
Hard to Design For
The above system manipulations also make the game hard to design for. The sheer number of ways they can gain advantage makes setting up a challenging scene quite difficult. I thought I had it in the last game but the challenging creature got defeated momentarily. Building together advantage and the benefit that gives to success levels makes combat, and much else, a doddle for a canny party.
Of course, the design of the game is to give power to the players. There is a prevailing trend in non-indie games (and some indie ones) to enable the PC so they can dictate the story of their character. The design seeks to empower the player these days so that they do not have to deal with the disastrous case of character death. I do feel that in doing this many games are losing the thrill of the story though. If the stakes are really more about just having a nap to heal all wounds as opposed to an arduous battle that means you have to hole up to survive? Which has the more drama? What makes the player know that they have forged a story worthy of a legend.
Maybe I am just too old school
It has been said that I am just too old school for all these modern, candy-coated systems. I love a story filled with drama and struggle. New games like a system that emulates a computer game. Not really my cup of tea. Still, Warhammer is fun. I enjoy the characters the players have and have totally enjoyed the different stories that have come out of the gaming table. I am looking forward to this week to see what the players do when they go searching for the fugitive Dwarf who left them behind. Until next post (or if they kick me off) keep rolling!