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People who generally stick to one (crunchy) system - why do YOU do it?

Chikahiro

Neo•Geo Fanboy
Validated User
In a way I'm hoping by sticking to one system for a long while, I can catch the two people who can't/won't buy in with time. At least, if we do a year of this at the table, that several hours exposure to the rules. So...should be some absorption, right? Right?
Really depends. For instance, one of our players is 65 and always forgets what his character can do, how to make some rolls, etc. He's quite smart, but he also drifts off sometimes while waiting for his turn (we've got a HUGE group of 8-13 people a game). Another player can only make it sporadically, and he's busy with work so he falls asleep sometimes. Keep in mind it can take 20-30 mintues to get back around. We have to use miniatures becaues of that.

Conversely, one guy can't make it all the time, doesn't have the books, but he just remembers stuff.

Depends on your players.
 

lordabdul

Registered User
Validated User
I would argue that any system does better when players "buy in"
That's very true. Which is why I actually have a couple different "go to" systems depending on the group I'm playing with. I know that among the groups I've had in the past, some were "stickier", wanting to just use one system, while others were more "fluid", welcoming trying out new systems and mechanics. As with everything else, if everyone is having fun, you're doing it right.
 

dbm

Registered User
Validated User
At least, if we do a year of this at the table, that several hours exposure to the rules. So...should be some absorption, right? Right?
As a person currently bringing a new group into GURPS: my experience is ‘yes’.

As the GM you just need to have a good grasp of the mechanics so that, when the players tell you what their characters do, you can interpret that mechanically. Over time they will pick up the patterns if your game is consistent in how it operates. Fortunately GURPS is very simple at its core and people only need to understand the more detailed bits that apply directly to their character. As they experience more play they are likely to pick up on other facets that will help them pick their next character.
 

artikid

passerby
Validated User
The ability to absorb rules varies. A friend of mine in the '90s was a long-time D&D player who favored Fighters. He never, ever remembered that a longsword rolled 1d8 damage.
And he was a DM too, occasionally.
 

zasvid

slow but irresistible
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I'm generally a system hopper, but I've found two crunchy systems I stick to: Burning Wheel and Modiphius 2d20 (Conan edition).

The way I see it, I need a crunchy system to fill a particular niche (gritty medieval high fantasy in BW case, heroic action adventure in 2d20) and do it really well in practice. The rules need to make sense to me (so I don't get confused and frustrated while running the game) and add value at the table (I appreciate Conan 2d20 for the mechanically reinforced flow of action sequences, creating something akin to a procedurally generated action movie/game in my imagination).

Once you've got something like that, it's not worth the effort to learn a new system for a similar purpose. It might add confusion (if the systems aren't very, very different mechanically) and even if a new system could eventually eclipse your current go-to, you'll have to get a lot of experience with its crunch before you get there.

Mind you, I've tried out many crunchy systems that I thought were "the one" and they usually lost their luster. Now I recognise that I'd like a stable of systems to pick from, depending on the circumstances of the game (like: genre, constraints on prep time, number of players, etc.) and I've only got a few cubicles for crunchy systems, because they take up the most mental space, so those need to be top notch and not step on each other's toes.

Of course, with GURPS you've got everything covered. Sticking to it doesn't preclude occassionally playing something less crunchy and more focused, though, like, say, Bluebeard's Bride. You wouldn't run a similar story in GURPS and you wouldn't run Bluebeard's Bride as your go-to system, but I'm sure that after a period of GURPSing around your player's would be up for a limited run for variety's sake.
 

threshold

Registered User
Validated User
I have played just about everything mentioned in this thread. I found Mini Six (not crunchy) but because it is so open ended, found myself writing adaptations for this rule set to fit whatever setting I felt like running, it became the new lingua franca for us to game in.

Because we translated it into so many settings, it actually became "crunchy".

I now use it exclusively because both I and my players are tired of learning new systems. Most new systems do not add anything "new" really. It's much more fruitful to just take a setting attached to a new system and convert it to the system we now use.

I'm hearing the same sentiment from all the GURPS/BRP/Hero/Rolemaster gamers out there. It's not a matter of sunk cost phalacy where we've suffered to learn our game and now so must everyone else. It's a matter of what language am I the most fluent in to tell my game's story.

Simpler systems sometimes lure me away because they promise unifying mechanics and eloquence. They always fall short there, and then they become a GM improv/handwaving exercise when the inevitable conflicts and inconsistencies resulting from poorly formed rules is the result.

I always gravitate back to crunchy games because they have solutions for situations that mushy games do not. Yes, these rules are a lot like practicing Law, or doing complex accounting, but so what. People who play these games have the intellectual capacity to do so, they should not be harshly judged by today's tendency to seek "rules-lite" systems in favor of the tried and true but more complicated systems.

Simple systems only hold up as short campaigns or one offs. Crunchy systems have more stamina in my experience. Be crunchy my friends.
 

StanTheMan

Registered User
Validated User
Simpler systems sometimes lure me away because they promise unifying mechanics and eloquence. They always fall short there, and then they become a GM improv/handwaving exercise when the inevitable conflicts and inconsistencies resulting from poorly formed rules is the result.

I always gravitate back to crunchy games because they have solutions for situations that mushy games do not. Yes, these rules are a lot like practicing Law, or doing complex accounting, but so what. People who play these games have the intellectual capacity to do so, they should not be harshly judged by today's tendency to seek "rules-lite" systems in favor of the tried and true but more complicated systems.
That has been my experience as well. At least, for me and some of my players, "lighter" systems seem to have us hand waving things at times where it feels odd to hand wave. As one of my players also commented recently, "The more story-gamey games always feel like their lacking important details; and character differentiation is harder." Now, mind, this is his opinion, but it's stuck with me, since I feel he's right, insofar as our table experience has gone. So, yeah, I agree with you, in my long winded way of saying.
 

Knaight

Registered User
Validated User
I always gravitate back to crunchy games because they have solutions for situations that mushy games do not. Yes, these rules are a lot like practicing Law, or doing complex accounting, but so what. People who play these games have the intellectual capacity to do so, they should not be harshly judged by today's tendency to seek "rules-lite" systems in favor of the tried and true but more complicated systems.
Putting aside the multitude of tried and true rules light systems (Fudge is 25, to pick just one obvious example) - nobody is judging people harshly for playing rules heavy systems. What judgement there is tends to come up more when people who play heavy systems start congratulating themselves on how brilliant they are to do so, and unsubtly portraying people who favor lighter systems as dumb and flighty. Those exact words don't often come up much, but "[we] have the intellectual capacity" isn't exactly subtle, and neither is the constant emphasis that lighter systems only work for shorter works.
 

Aaron819

Registered User
Validated User
My crunchy system of choice, GURPS, does what I want it to do. The crunch can be scaled up or down if I want. It has top quality supplements written by people who understand the subjects of the supplements.
 

Mr_Sandman

Registered User
Validated User
I've settled on GURPS for most the the games I run. I'll take an occasional short detour to another game mostly either for nostalgia and/or wanting to experience a particular game itself as a game (I've run AD&D or Paranoia for those reasons). GURPS quickly became my go to game when I discovered it in the late 80s early 90s, mostly because the way the system works just clicked for me. I've said before, if it were a dedicated, pseudo-medieval, sword and sorcery, fantasy game (TFT 5th edition for example), I'd probably play that game a lot. But since it can be used for pretty much any genre and setting that I'm interested in running, that makes it even better for me. Another point in favor of GURPS is that I enjoy world building, making original settings, and tweaking the game to fit them and the style of stories that I want to create with my players. I've never been into home-brewing rules on my own though. GURPS gives me a huge amount of optional and alternative rules, that have been play-tested and professionally edited, so I can feel a bit more confident about them not blowing up in play than something I just made up myself.

I often see the comment that generic games never fit a setting as well as a focused, designed-for-the-setting game does, but that assumes that you have the same concept of how the setting should be handled as the designer of that game. If not, then twisting the dials on your favorite generic game to fit your vision of the setting will probably give you a more satisfying experience. A game that is designed to do something different with the play-style is something that a generic can't emulate well. In that case, it makes sense to me to invest in buying a new game, learning the rules, etc. But for the vast majority of my gaming, I want a relatively familiar, traditional approach.
 
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