(see what I did there, trying to make a joke and lighten the mood?)
Perhaps its the stress and anxiety of the holiday season that's upon us, and perhaps its just my broken way of approaching games. Its even possible that I have actually matured over time and grown past the childishness of rules lawyer-ing. I have been increasingly annoyed lately with a trend in rules interpretation for games that I have seen.
It seems to me that if there is a way, taking war gaming in general, for a rule to be interpreted that makes the game:
- Less fun for the opponent
- Makes a model/unit be percieved as "over powered"
- Can cause extensive arguments about language
I am doing some personal reflection on this to see how much I have also contributed to this phenomenon. Most likely I will be as deeply implicated in what I will term "Whiny Bitch Syndrome" as any other gamer. Come on now, I have a blog and a podcast, so I must be one of the worst offenders, right? (see sarcasm in last sentence for those who missed it) Sarcasm aside, I do not like this trait and endeavor to minimize or remove it from my own gaming personality. I am trying to understand why gamers as a whole (or at least my perception of them) prefer this approach over an alternative.
What are the alternatives you ask? What a great question. What is gamers were to give a rule set the "benefit of the doubt"? Instead of constantly looking for ways that a rule can be "twisted" or "broken" or interpreted to reduce the fun for ALL players of the game, what if we assumed the rules were written to make the game MORE fun for all players. What if when we looked at a rule and had the reaction of:
- "Wow, that rule seems out of line with common sense"
- "Wow, I can really take advantage of this"
- "Wow, that will certainly start an argument"
- "That rule is stupid and I am going to quit playing because of it"
- Thats probably not whats intended, is there a way this makes sense
- My interpretation would reduce the amount of fun my opponent has, could this be interpreted another way to increase both of our fun
- I'm just trying to be argumentative, let me take a breath and see if this makes sense in a way I don't have to argue about it
To use another cliche, "Why can't we all just get along?"
Do any gamers out there notice that in the majority of cases, rules are interpreted by the game developers to NOT overpower single models / units in games? Have any of you noticed that, more often that not, when something happens in a game that makes you (and often your opponent) react with:
- What the hell, now that rule interpretation just doesn't make sense
Lets be fair as well, rules developers are people too. More often, they are gamers, and sometimes they make mistakes. I believe that games developers try to make their games "balanced" which typically means that when a model / unit has a rules that could unbalance the game, that unit / model is given a drawback or weakness in the rules that brings it back into balance. When that is missing, your probably reading too much into the rules. In addition, I believe that games developers try to make their rule-set easy to understand. I believe that more often than not, if the rule is highly complex and confusing to understand than your reading WAY TO MUCH into it. You just might be TRYING to complicate the rule for some reason.
- Do you, Mr/Ms Gamer, really believe that the rules developer tried to make the rule system over-complicated and hard to understand?
- Why can't we step back once in a while and assume the developer was trying to use the simple understanding?
- If your reaction after reading a rule is close to "HA HA, I got you... this screws
over", your reading it wrong.
- If you could interpret a rules as complicated or simple and your choose complicated, your doing it wrong.
- If you have even the slightest thought of "I can get a huge, unbeatable advatage with no disadvantage from this rule", your interpreting it wrong
- If you read a rule and think "Now this can't be right, I bet this will make a great internet discussion", your probably right, but what your really looking for is an internet argument
- If the rule makes the game LESS fun for EITHER player, you are misunderstanding the rule (possibly on purpose)