Sunday, August 09, 2009

On game rules and fun

Today I was reading the MicroLite74 rules set booklet, considering it as a possible candidate to use once I finish DMing my current 3.5e campaign, when I came across a sentence on the Designer’s Notes section that caught my eye:

"So don’t search your character sheet or the rules for the perfect solution [...]"

It was like having a deja-vu. When you look over the DM screen and see your players going back and forth their character sheets (or rulebooks) trying to find the answer for any given situation, you should know that something is wrong. It's then time to stop and ask:

People, is this really the game we want to play? Are we having fun?

In the end that's what games are all about: having fun. I've come to believe that in a game (at least in RPGs) the quantity of rules is inversely proportional to the quality of the fun you get playing that game. This has no scientific basis but an emotional one, and by no mean intends to be a static statement, so maybe someone could prove me wrong.

Later in the booklet, on the same section, there's a summary in reference to A Quick Primer for Old School Gaming by Matthew J. Finch, and under the item "Player Skill, not Character Skill " you can read the following:

"Players don’t need to be rules lawyers."

And I would humbly add, neither do DMs. Amen.