Friday, June 12, 2015

The Religion Against Game Variants

It's not the bible. I'm not going to go to hell for changing the rules.

As a game designer, I know how arbitrary a game's final design is. It's a collection of components and mechanisms; they don't come from god (well, maybe Go does, but your game doesn't). If it's a good Eurogame, I'm sure they were play-tested, and I'm equally sure the final result included several arbitrary decisions to end "here" instead of  "there", with 40% of the testers thinking "there" was better.

I like many of the mechanics and ideas of some games, but personally I don't like that little luck mechanic that trashes all of your plans. We can play the whole game taking different paths, playing about equally well or not in each of the different areas of the game, but then the whole game comes down to the die roll or card flip that lets you get 20 points and not me.

There is no reason that I shouldn't take a game, that I would enjoy but for one mechanic that ruins it for me, and tweak it so that I now enjoy it. I test the change for several games until I'm satisfied that the play experience is basically the same but nicer. Then I sometimes post it. Immediately I am hit with "That change destroys the ENTIRE game", "You obviously don't understand how to play", "You can solve your so-called problem by playing in this very specific way", "Why do you want to change the game? Just go play something else". Every time.

Why play this game? Why not? Because I enjoy it. How does it offend you for me to change the design slightly to make it more enjoyable, not only for me but for any other like-minded people?

Yes, it changes the game, but all of this hooplah about HOW MUCH it changes the game is rubbish. My tweak doesn't greatly change the game, and I know because I've actually tested it, and the majority of the game mechanics are left intact. Furthermore, I wouldn't care if it greatly changed the game; it makes the game better. For me. Better for me. I understand that if you like change. Don't play with my variant.

I don't understand this obsession AGAINST tweaking games to make them more enjoyable. Like it's a religion of some kind and I'm sinning.

Bernie, you're obviously not speaking loudly enough.
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