People don't like learning new rules

swammeyjoe

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I love rules. I love learning them, breaking them, seeing how they work and how I can repurpose mechanics for different situations and feels.

I love both genre specific games that really evoke a particular style or theme, and toolkit systems where you can add all sorts of options to tailor the game yourself.

By default then I like to try all sorts of rules to find bits and bobs to use. I frequently buy games I know I won't every play for inspiration.
 

Maxen M

Somewhere off to the side
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But you fix that problem by doing a better job using props or tools to explain your rules. Hell maybe RPGs should be split into Learn to Play rules and a separate Rules Reference. I really liked WHFRP 3rd Edition, because the rules for the basic actions in combat were printed on cards you gave out to every player, made it a lot easier to teach the rules.
Yeah don't get me wrong, I think prop based design is extremely good for bringing new people into the game, and making it easier to GM, but I think an important part of that is the load it takes off ever having to consciously learn or remember rules, because so much of it's operation is embodied in these aids to memory.

for this to work as characterization in a story, the audience has to understand the basic concepts of a role-playing game clearly enough to recognize the references: not just the typical dungeon crawl premise, but what a game master is, what the basic rhythm of play is, and so on.

I'd suggest that that general sense of what the basic premises are, and the basic rhythm of gameplay, is more important than the details of the rules; it establishes a basic social context, in which the rules can be explained and understood.
One of the strange things I remember watching people play D&D or D&D-like things on tv or in films, was how rarely that reflected my experience of playing. I'm also finding it hard to pinpoint what I'm talking about here, but I can't think of a depiction of a game up until our modern world of let's plays and streamers that seemed to flow like our games did.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
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We aren't allergic to learning no rules, but we've been in the hobby long enough that they probably do need to bring something new to the table.
 

Seiberwing

Swift as a coursing river
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Chaot, leave the thread.
 

LatinaBunny

Temperamental Mermaid
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I like learning new systems, but I’m always having trouble finding systems that clicks well with my mentality or provides what I want out of a game.
 

Shan Andy

One man and his giraffe
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I've been struggling to think how to express an idea about the history and cultural role of role-playing games.
And this reminds me of a process that seems to happen around gift-giving: when someone receives a gift that's unfamiliar, but useful, they have to puzzle out how to integrate this new thing into their life. And not so infrequently, even if the thing seems useful in general, a person may decide not to bother using it, rather than to change their daily routine. (By the way, anyone want an Aeropress?)
Funnily, I got an aeropress for Christmas, and your description brought it to mind long before you mentioned yours. I'd take the aeropress, I love mine, but I'm in the UK so it's probably not practical.
 

Shan Andy

One man and his giraffe
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I don't really like learning rules per se. What I do like is discovering new and better ways of doing things.

I don't know if it's from my formative roleplaying years being the late 80s & early 90s when many of the rulesets out there were overcomplicated and, often, not very good. It felt like things were thrown together without much regard for what they produced at the table. The lagacy of that, for me, is a feeling that this could be done better and I actively seek it out. Is there a different way of looking at things, at modelling them, at representing them in the rules that could make playing a particular kind of story more fulfilling? I'm happy to read it.

A perfect example was coming across Fate's Aspects back in the 2.0 days. It was a proper lightbulb moment: it was brilliant and I couldn't believe no one had thought of it before. I felt lukewarm about the dice, but then I cottoned onto the maths implications of zero-centred dice (that the average result is the number on your character sheet, so you know what you're most likely to roll). Flashbacks & clocks from Blades, even though I have little interest in the setting, are similar examples.

I think I belong to the "system matters" school. Where the rules you use in play affect the play experience at the table. So, while I could use X for everything with a bit of work, why not use Y that's designed to do that from the ground up? It helps that many modern designers are deliberately designing games that do Y *really* well without much regard for anything else.

Oddly, I have little time for complexity. I don't have the time or energy to learn complexity unless it pays off in play. I found 5e a classic example of something that put a lot of complexity and codification (and many moving parts) in a part of the game that I'm not that bothered about. I had fun, but I felt like I never really understood what was happening and why. I felt like I was fighting the game.

If you've found your OneTrueGame(tm) then I envy you. Enjoy your fun.
 

Evil Doctor

Registered User
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For me, most players I play with aren't interested in new rules, and that's because unless there is something 'special' that the rules do within the fiction of the game, i.e. linked specifically to what the game is about, it's just not that interesting to learn a new way to do the same thing.

To put it another way, in my experience most roleplaying is basically GM: 'blah blah blah, so what do you do?'. Player: 'I'd like to do this thing, can I'? Which is then followed by working out whether the 'thing' is possible, perhaps the chances of success, and then the consequences of success or failure. There are countless systems you can create that allow you to model the action, determine the probability, provide consequences and roll dice/use another randomiser to work out what happened, but for the players I've experienced, this is all just 'stuff' to get to the end result - what happened when I tried to do the thing? Consequently, they aren't interested in learning new rules - why learn another way of basically doing the same thing?

I would say this different from board games which I play a lot - part of the fun of board games is working out the puzzle of the rules and how to win - what game engine to build in a deckbuilder, what to focus on in a Euro game. In many board games the mechanics are the focus and the theme is there to make the bits look pretty (most eurogames, I'm looking at you). In my experience of RPGs, the themes is what the game is about, the rules are just there to support it. If that's the case, why bother investing time and energy learning a new set of rules, especially if they are crunchy?

It's like that other thread about why people won't play anything except DnD - if I know how to play that, why bother learning another set of rules that essentially supports the same play theme?

YMMV of course!
 

Random Goblin

Esquire
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I'm fine as a GM doing a hell of a lot of hand-holding. I run what I want to run, and the trade-off is that I don't require my players to learn the system. They inevitably pick most of it up anyway.

As a GM, I like to be up front and transparent about what is happening mechanically. I describe it as "running a game with the hood open." One of the upsides is that it makes my games pretty accessible to people who aren't into learning complex sets of rules--I'm happy to talk them through that they're doing, why it might or might not work, what else they should consider, and what alternative courses of action are more likely to be successful and why. It's not an immersive style of game, so maybe it's not everyone's cup of tea I guess, but in my experience the trade-offs are overwhelmingly worth it.
 

D. Archon

Error 404
Validated User
I don't really like learning rules per se. What I do like is discovering new and better ways of doing things.

I think I belong to the "system matters" school. Where the rules you use in play affect the play experience at the table. So, while I could use X for everything with a bit of work, why not use Y that's designed to do that from the ground up? It helps that many modern designers are deliberately designing games that do Y *really* well without much regard for anything else.
Yep, I believe system matters as well. I'm really digging die pool systems with variable results lately thanks to games like Genesys and BitD, because the system itself is delivering interesting results.
 
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