RE: [Epic] Re: [EPIC] Which do YOU like better?

From: Miller, Chris <CMiller_at_...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 1997 13:48:30 -0500

>> Almost without exception, the first edition of any game is the best.
>The thesis is stated. I shall be playing the role of the antithesis.

----> Guess that makes me the "post-anti-thesis". As long as I'm not
the "Weenie-thesis" them I'm OK...
>> Try to imagine that you are a game designer. You design this game and
>> get some game company to publish it. If it sells well, you're in the big
>> league, if it fails you're back to square one or possibly worse... (Since
>> they may well be a bit wary of your next "sure thing"...)
>> So, you put your very best effort into your first edition.
>OR: You've never designed a game which has been played by more than a
>small, directly supervised test group. You write a set of rules which
>works on that scale, without the benefit of hindsight to tell you that
>some of the rules will be worded badly, or be abusable by the players.

----> Or you have a good idea, but alter it to make the company happy
your better judgement (known in some fields as "selling out"). This can
be directly
related to the first section above. Nothing wrong with wanting to sell,
some games have obvious compromises/openings where this was done...

"For the magic rules to this _fantasy_ battle game, you will need to buy
a seperate $40 (U.S.) box."
>> Maybe, there are some refinements that you include in your second
>> (Maybe you're just doing it to sell some more books...)
>OR: You have big plans for expanding the game, many of which you probably
>had when you first sold the game to the company, but they didn't want to
>publish them right away. You write up alot of supplementary rules, but
>don't have the benefit of hindsight to tell you that some of them will end
>up breaking in combination with other rules.

----> Or you realize just how unbalanced/broken/unplayable elements of
current game are and need to redo a major section. Print it as an add-on
piss-off new players, or print a new ed. and piss off old players?
>> Then the game company says, "We've reached market saturation. We need a
>> third edition..." What do you do?
>OR: You start fixing your rules, until you realize that some of the rules
>you wrote for your friends gaming in your basement need to be replaced
>outright. At this point, you come to the decision that the only way to
>make the game play the way it should is to just rewrite big chunks of it,
>thus you write a new edition.

------> Or you've added 6 new armies/races/units/pieces to the game in
supplements, your head, fiction, or whatever and want to integrate them
a real set so everyone has access to them.
>> You've already used your best ideas in addition one. You've included all
>> your refinements in edition two.
>> You do what the boss wants, and you go back to your second best idea and
>> to cobble something together...
>> I can't think of a game where this wasn't the pattern. D&D, Battletech,
>> Traveller, Dragon Quest, Shadowrun, Space Marine...
>I don't know about Battletech or Dragon Quest (haven't read 1st ed. of
>either), but I wholeheartedly disagree with you about every other example
>you've cited here. I don't want to go into a detailed analysis of
>non-Epic games to defend second editions, but I did want to make the point
>that some things you state here are really just matters of opinion.
>I prefer clean rules... broken rules, loopholes, vague wording and
>pointless exceptions turn me off to a game. I would guess that you find
>the cleaner rules to be too sterile and generic.

-----> this first segment is just so wrong !
The vast majority of the time. MOST games follow a cycle:

1st ed - catches fire with a new idea, but badly printed/tested/marketed
whatever. A
small group of die-hards go nuts over it and generate a lot of
and people start to notice the game.
2nd ed - The refinement stage - usually more of a rules cleanup: better
printing, editing,
artwork, marketing, organization of rules. A few die-hards go blech! and
try to soldier
on using the oldies, but tons of people who never saw 1st ed get into
it, more than making
up or the loss. Not so much new stuff as cleaning up old stuff. New
stuff may come out
as add-ons later, and if this contnues, will choke the system utterly.

3rd ed - The real expansion stage. The rules are normally pretty well
defined, so adding
new stuff is no big deal, unless it radically changes the structure of
the game. Errors are
more of the typo-correction than the play-balance correction type. Most
games really don't
get too far beyond this point.
>> As you will have surmised, I prefer SM/TL to E40K.
>> Never backward about coming forward, even after any number of flames...
>> Agro
>As you will have surmised, my preferences mirror those of Agro. :)
>-- Matt Silvernail

-----> most of my statements above have little application to GW games.
As for the
specific examples above:
D&D - which 1st ed? 3-books-in-a-box? 1st ed AD&D? the Color Boxes?

Battletech - surely you don't think "Battledroids" was better then BT?

Traveller - Megatraveller was pretty much the same material with
a consistent skill system added on, and even more background material
added on. It added so much, and took nothing away (except maybe that
vector-based movement system in Book 2, which I used about 3 times)

Shadowrun: What did you lose with 2nd ed? It's the same game with that
"staging" rule deleted and the magic system tweaked a little.

I never played 1st ed Dragonquest, but most of the SPI stuff that TSR
got emerged later in a special "FUBAR edition" so don't feel too alone.

and finally:

Space Marine
I don't understand how your premise can be "the first edition is the
best" and then conclude with "I prefer SM/TL" ----> it's Space Marine
2nd ed.
        I don't know anyone who still plays 1st ed regularly, and I
prefer either 2nd or E40K to it by far, but my answer over all would
be :
        1) play SM/TL with someone who already has it. If you can still
find the pieces & rules, and you like it, go for it!
        2) Otherwise, try E40K. You really don't have much choice
in my neck of the woods, as no stores carry the old stuff, and our
best stores for carrying used stuff closed up about a year and 1 half
ago. Used book stores are our only decent source now. (And this
is Dallas-Ft Worth - we ain't exactly small)

Chris Miller

Received on Tue Jul 29 1997 - 18:48:30 UTC

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