2004-12-28 : Archive 142

Good design, bad design.

One thing we know for absolute certain is that a gaming group will find a way to play a bad design well, if it likes the setting or setup or mood or whatever. That's not in doubt. When I call your favorite game poorly designed, that's not an insult to you. Not at all; you took a bad design and did the hard work required to make it fun. You kick ass. No, it's an insult to the designer, or else (more often) to whatever economic constraints the designer was working under.

But to my point. If you're designing a game, you owe it to yourself and the world to a) design it well, or b) use D20 or Fudge or some other preexisting poorly-designed ruleset. There's no reason for you to create new bad rules. You don't need the hassle and the world doesn't need any more, it's got plenty.

This shouldn't be upsetting. If you're designing a game, do you want it to be well-designed, or is poorly-designed good enough? If poorly-designed is good enough, lord, save yourself the grief and just use D20. If poorly-designed isn't good enough, the work of learning theory will be worth it.