Can we come up with a 'System Summary' formula?

downer

Fairy Tale King
Validated User
Well, having three separate entries for the dice mechanics is at least clear and uncontroversial, I suppose.
It's also kind of pointless, I'm with you on that one. The example doesn't really say anything about what makes Fate different from, say, D&D. And the "soft factors" seem awfully unclear. I'd say Fate is hardly "neutral" in tone and you can expect high player agency in any game I run, regardless of system.

That said, trying to use GDS or GNS instead is a road best not taken.

I can see some purpose in having a system similar to one I've seen in board games, where you give little dots for stuff like "Tactics" or "Luck". You could do that for RPGs as well. Like:
- Character customization/optimization: ***
- Character development: **
- Tactical combat: *
- Metaplot: **
Stuff like that might be real helpful. I can roll any die all day, but I'd get out if I had a metaplot and a million character customization options...
 

Gentleman Highwayman

Registered User
Validated User
Something like this would work well on the back cover of a game book. It would be like what's already on many board games.
short, clean and gives a bit of info without being overly wrought or pedantic.
I see what you did there. ;) And that is very cool. Means I'd spend less time skiing to see the system and more time looking at pretty art.
 

g33k

Registered User
Validated User
Does the system use cards, or another randomizer, in plac of dice? In addition to dice?

Is the system "diceless" & entirely without randomizers? What is the alternate mechanism? This point could make a game non-summarizable!

Is there a metacurrency, fate-points or bennie's or karma or whatever?

How frequently are these expected to be used? Most scenes? Only for climactic scenes? Multiple times per scene?
 

Jerry D. Grayson

Putting the f-u in FUN
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I think we are all coming at the subject with different agendas. I see a summary as a way to better market a game and to give a capsule summary about what’s under the cover.
Board Games do it all the time without getting into the weeds of what the game is about, and how all the mechanics work.
But too much info in a summary makes eyes glaze over. Too much info is not a good thing sometimes.
  • Your game pitches (the small blurb on the back cover)
  • Your Game summary (what we are talking about here)
  • Price
I can see the merit of having every foreseeable question answered, but I would get in an out, and allow the reader to go further without making them drink from a fire hose.
 

mitchw

Viral Marketing Shill?
Validated User
you can expect high player agency in any game I run, regardless of system. .
Sure, just like a game that "requires" minis can be played without them.
What I was thinking here was a list of attributes that could help a person eliminate some games quickly when making a choice.

For example. I don't like dice pools bigger than 4 dice. If I can quickly see that a game requires a hand full of d10s, I can skip it.
 

downer

Fairy Tale King
Validated User
What I was thinking here was a list of attributes that could help a person eliminate some games quickly when making a choice.
If you know the person you're talking too, probably. Otherwise, not so much. It depends on what people care about in a game. And who is running and playing said game. In a roleplaying game, unlike a board game, the other player characters and the GM often add or subtract much more enjoyment than the rules. Many groups never use the rules much. And so on and so forth. I think it's important for games to have a "mission statement", a short text from the author about how the game is intended to be played. That can help. But a terse listing of how many dice you roll and how often? That's not going to help most people decide wether to invest in a roleplaying game.
For example. I don't like dice pools bigger than 4 dice. If I can quickly see that a game requires a hand full of d10s, I can skip it.
No offence meant, but that is an oddly specific dislike to have.
 

downer

Fairy Tale King
Validated User
Board Games do it all the time without getting into the weeds of what the game is about, and how all the mechanics work.
It's not about "how much", but "what kind". Nobody I've met ever decided not to play Fate because of the number or form of the dice. I know a lot of people who decided not to play it on account of the Fate point metacurrency. Or the aspects system. Likewise, I know many people who don't like classes and levels, and will hence not play D&D - whether it has d20s has never been a point of contention.
 

mitchw

Viral Marketing Shill?
Validated User
No offence meant, but that is an oddly specific dislike to have.
I generally prefer to roll 4 or less dice. 4df, 3d6, 2d6, d%, etc.

Another example, before I find out that a game expects me to play an intelligent twinkle I would know to avoid it if someone told me it had a "wacky humor" tone.
 

Chikahiro

Neo•Geo Fanboy
Validated User
I like the idea of crunchy, although maybe having it on a 1-5 star rating system might work. Also, not sure how that'd track for internal consistency - HERO's basics are super simple, but there's so many things you can use or not use, but they're still simple due to the consistency. Iron Kingdoms RPG (not Full Metal Fantasy/d20) is simpler than HERO, but I wouldn't call it nearly as consistent in many regards. Lots of exceptions, sub-systems, etc.

I'd also suggest Reference level. Some games like HERO are crunchy, but they're relatively low reference. Conversely, D&D and Pathfinder really benefit from having multiple copies of the book handy.
 

downer

Fairy Tale King
Validated User
I generally prefer to roll 4 or less dice. 4df, 3d6, 2d6, d%, etc.
Well, I disliked Shadowrun's "buckets of dice" mechanics eventually, so I can see your point somewhat. Still, it'd be hard for many games to even say that. Like, what do you list: maximum number? Average number? Most common number? Frex, when I ran Star Wars d6, players would usually roll 3 or 4 dice for most stuff, but our hotshot pilot kept sinking points into X-Wing flying until he rolled 7 dice (which took a good long while), and then spent a Force point to roll 14 dice and disable a pursuing patrol cruiser to allow the rebel fleet to escape. Now, what should WEG have written on the back of their rulebook? 3-4 dice (typical), 7 dice (achievable, if you really want to, but rarely done) or 14 dice (that one in a million shot)? What does AD&D put there? Mostly, it's just one die, but when that ancient red dragon sneezes, you'll need to borrow some for the guy sitting next to you. Or Fiasco. You roll 4 dice per player, but the rules don't even say who does the rolling, and it's just one single roll for the whole game. There's just so much that isn't covered by a one-liner.
Another example, before I find out that a game expects me to play an intelligent twinkle I would know to avoid it if someone told me it had a "wacky humor" tone.
Yeah, that's nice to know, but a good cover and blurb will do that for you. Not to mention that one person's "personal horror" is another's "supers with fangs"...
 
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