Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On Being Neither Fish Nor Fowl - "I Don't Play That Set Of Rules!"

Feathered dinosaur or dinosaur with stuff all over it?

I've been hugely amused, lately, over the inability of modern gamers to figure out what taxon I 'should' be in; I don't seem to fit in any of the modern genre labels, an this seems to have concerned a few people unduly.

'Miniatures people' are driven crazy by the RPG elements in my Braunstein games; 'RPG people' are driven to distraction by all those little lead people on the table top. 'Old School' people freak out over the fact that I date from that time before history, and 'New School' people have fits over the supposed rules that I use for my games.

I'm supposedly a "railroady" "story gamer", opposed to something called "player agency"; me, I always thought that my job as a GM / referee was to provide a world-setting for the players to explore. This outlook, I have been told, is too close to the way computer / video game designers think for some folks' comfort.


What is all reminds me of is a comment made by a gamer in one of our local retail shops; his buddy picked up a pack of what I thought were very nice Sherman tanks - the most common Allied tank of WW II - and suggested that they buy the pack for their games. The guy looked at the pack, and told his buddy that, quote, "I don't play that set of rules." unquote. The gent was referring to the fact that the pack was a 'branded', 'big-name game' one for a currently popular set of 20mm WWII rules, from a company that is doing for historical gaming what GW did for F/SF gaming; emphasis on "OFFICIAL" "AUTHORIZED" "APPROVED" game play in formal tournaments with big prizes.

I don't fit any of that; just as I don't fit under any of the current 'tribal labels' now common in the game hobby. A while ago, over on RPG.net, I suggested that I fit under a different 'tribal label': "Pre-school Gaming", where things like 'play value' and such predominate.

Maybe I should have a website...