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Sorry about this, folks. This forum is mostly okay. But there's some ongoing problems that we aren't having in other sub-forums. After Backstage discussion, we've decided to put Tabletop Game Design under extra scrutiny.


The Game Design forum has somehow developed a different community and standards of interaction than other forums. We normally don't want to break up things like that if they're providing solidarity, but the Game Design forum has acquired some unpleasant cultural trends and recently come to the attention of the staff. The problems that particularly come to mind are:

  • Many people here don't use the report system.
  • In some cases, the default method of communication is blunt and terse criticism that derails threads.
  • One-true-wayism of game design. For example, someone choosing to use a dice pool system or roll-under system getting told that they're objectively bad and there's no good reason to use them. (This is different from pointing out a particular mechanical problem or mentioning that certain resolution types can have certain downsides.) This is roughly equivalent to edition warring.
  • Assumption that other users are completely incompetent without even a basic understanding of game design fundamentals, long before that person has actually demonstrated any particular misunderstanding.
  • Assumption that if a user hasn't specifically addressed how their system handles a particular situation only tangentially related to their question, they've never considered it and it needs to be brought up.
  • Answering questions that weren't asked in such a way that threads are derailed, especially when combined with the problems above.

These are complex problems, and they wouldn't be an issue if they happened rarely. But they've become a notorious feature of the Game Design board, enough to drive away some users and leave other users feeling defensive as soon as they start posting. Much like the d20 forums in the past, this forum has a problem with certain things technically within the rules that have escalated into a low-grade war where discussion of particular topics reliably produces unhelpful discussions that everyone is sick and tired of having. It needs to stop.


In the future, everyone should strive to ensure that their posts:

  • Address the actual questions asked.
  • Respect the intelligence and competence of other users, even if they're novices.
  • Do not engage in one-true-wayism system-warring. This is not meant to stifle discussion of particular game design methods and their pros and cons. Rather, this is meant to prevent situations where people are told that their preferred resolution method is objectively bad in threads where they didn't even ask for input on their preferred resolution method. Consider this a subset of "address the actual questions asked."
  • Acknowledge that everyone here isn't striving to be a commercial game designer. This is not boot camp for game design. If a new user is messing around with their first-ever game design project, it's not your job to break them down, strip out their supposed naivety, and remold them into a hardcore professional game designer.
  • And if there's a problem, don't hesitate to click the Report button.

We're not trying to shut down productive conversation. It's entirely fine for a thread-starter to ask for especially blunt critiques of their own system, or to ask for the harsh realities when they're considering commercial publishing, and you can be more direct in those threads. But in general, everyone should assume that the average thread is started by someone who just wants to come here, relax, and discuss tinkering with game systems for fun.

Comments and questions should go to Trouble Tickets, as usual.
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