Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The play's the thing

From my friend over at Walker's Retreat:

It sounds nice, doesn't it? "Gaming is for everyone!"
And that first time shooting up heroin is fantastic too, as all the addict testimonies proclaim, but there are consequences that can't be avoided. Changing your medium--gaming, comics, etc.--to attract and retain an audience greater than what it historically acquired requires that you make changes that drive away that audience, which means that you either stop your self-destructive behaviors or you turn hostile to the audience you rely upon to stay afloat.

 This cry for "representation" deliberately ignores something that even we who are part of the scene sometimes forget: it's not for everyone. Gaming demands that you Git Gud. Science Fiction demands that you entertain big ideas as you explore their implications (Yes, even for the adventure stories.). The STEM fields demand that you step up and prove that you can master the knowledge and principles that drive their work. In every case, you must conform to it, and not it to you.

Please, go read the rest at your leisure. 

Let's expand that idea to the realm of tabletop gaming. There are basically strata of games in mass appeal, with wargames occupying the most rarefied air.  Why are there so few wargamers? Well, they remain insular, and quite willing to play games that take all day. There's also a measure of calculation that's further ahead of what minis require. Heavy Euros and Ameritrash games can come close, but they don't sell nearly as well as the light ones.

It's tiring to deal with people that call themselves gamers, and yet can't handle even a medium complexity game. Or to thoroughly go through a game explanation, and the card flopper has glazed eyes because you used words like worker placement and area control.

Which is part of why wargamers are so insular. They see the same things, and don't want to walk wusses up to the basic games they play. If they still don't get it by the end, it's wasted effort. So no, I don't have to be welcoming. I can be exclusive of people that only play light games, or that I find obnoxious. I don't care if the game doesn't have "womyn" represented, I care that it works well. To use the hashtag, #NotAtMyTable.

And just because you have an idea for a game, that doesn't make it good, or mean that it hasn't been done already, and better than you could. Boardgamegeek and RPGGeek are your friends for research. Maybe you'll find you don't need to waste months/years designing the game you want because it exists already. Or maybe you don't want a game, but a group activity.

Of course, if all you really want is to make money, clone CaH/Apples to Apples or make a zombie game with good minis. These don't require you to design a game that's good. 

When you play Social Justice, the world loses. 

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