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What sells you on a game?

Daz Florp Lebam

Registered User
Validated User
Cover art, character sheet, and maybe the back cover blurb - those are the first things that might draw me in.

The first two can give me a sense of the game's tone and priorities, and the blurb should flesh things out a bit.

After that, I look at character creation: is it clear? What kinds of things am I being asked to decide?

I start looking at interior art and layout, as I look at chargen, and if I'm still interested I will flip through focusing on layout, art, and what the weight of the game seems to be concerned with, like are there lots of tables, walls of text, lots of flavor text, lots of examples, etc.
 

Alban

Registered User
Validated User
Usually, concept or mechanisms, but I bought some games only because the art was gorgeous : Anima : Beyond Fantasy, which is an awful game otherwise, and Legend of the 5 Rings 4th edition come to my mind.
 

SignoreDellaGuerra

Audii alteram partem
Validated User
It depends, but I can find a trend in my choices.

WFRP v1, stroke me for (in order):
* Mechanics
* Setting
* Art

Harnmaster stroke me for:
* Mechanic
* Setting
* Fluff
* Art

D&D disgust me for:
* Mechanics
* Settings
* Fluff

Shadowrun 5th, I bought for
* Setting
* Fluff
* Art
But can't play it for
* System (too much for me nowdays)

Pendragon I bought for
* Fluff
* Setting
But can't play it for
* Setting (really can't bother with creating a campaign with it)
* System

I tried Hero system for
* Mechanics
I'll never play Hero again for
* Mechanics (really, that's way toooo much to be even remotely playable)
** And I feel unbalanced
* Bloody generic and damn boring to read
The fact that Hero handle super-heroes is of no consequence to me, as I hate superheroes.
 
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DannyK

One Shot Man
Validated User
To be honest, it's usually something like the premise or the character classes, once in a while a mechanism, that makes me stand up and take notice and say, "Damn, I want to play that thing." Then it morphs into "I guess I'll run that thing" when nobody else is willing.

Some examples:
--The crazy character classes in Spire got me interested to read about them, then I was hooked.
--The game-within-a-game structure of the Die Rpg (Beta) got me really interested.
--The Brainer character class in Apocalypse World got me hooked.
--Urban Shadows: everything in the game is about creating and playing in an urban fantasy city, but the Factions mechanic really caught my interest because I thought of so many cool things I could do with it.
 

1of3

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Validated User
Fluff-chanics. This is what I call it when a game stats out the rules for doing something that other games usually just let the game master wing. There is a chart for what happens when you go to hire a mercenary, a social resolution matrix, and detailed romance system. To me these are just passing novelties that don't really add much.
Interesting wording here. The one thing that makes or breaks a game for me: If I am to be a GM, how does the game help me there? These things you describe, if I understand you correctly, are primary tooling in that regard. It is in my opinion a major mistake that so many games have rules for players, but assume that the GM is some kind of genius that just knows how to do things. That GM cult is actually something very with the culture of our hobby in general, as it puts up imaginary barriers to play where there should be none. Any player with some experience should be able to fill any position in the game there is to some extent at least. And if that seems to be a problem, we should make an effort to enable them.

Also, to really get me fired up, a game should make me play like I never played before. Because if it's just same old, why would I need it? Codifying stuff that is usually left implicit can break habits in that regard, and is therefore very worthwile to me.
 

Heavy Arms

Registered User
Validated User
A bit of a terminology pet peeve, but something that matters to me in all this:

Fluff vs Lore.

I kinda dislike the term Fluff because it's rather dismissive of some pretty important aspects of RPGs. But it's useful for separating out extraneous Fluff from useful Lore. When designing a game setting, Lore is information about the world that's actually useful to playing the game. It helps inform players, it creates hooks, etc. Games that have more Lore than Fluff (though ultimately a subjective thing) I think are more appealing in terms of selling the game because you do two things. You make sure reading the non-mechanical section of the book is actually useful to playing the game, and you're showing your potential readers that you're actually thinking about making things that will be fun to play with on the terms they want to engage with it.
 

PeteNutButter

Registered User
Validated User
Interesting wording here. The one thing that makes or breaks a game for me: If I am to be a GM, how does the game help me there? These things you describe, if I understand you correctly, are primary tooling in that regard. It is in my opinion a major mistake that so many games have rules for players, but assume that the GM is some kind of genius that just knows how to do things. That GM cult is actually something very with the culture of our hobby in general, as it puts up imaginary barriers to play where there should be none. Any player with some experience should be able to fill any position in the game there is to some extent at least. And if that seems to be a problem, we should make an effort to enable them.

Also, to really get me fired up, a game should make me play like I never played before. Because if it's just same old, why would I need it? Codifying stuff that is usually left implicit can break habits in that regard, and is therefore very worthwile to me.
That's a really good point. I've been struggling with ways to present this as early on as possible. With my current project it occurs to me that players could play it just like D&D if they wanted to. It's really up to the GM to enforce a different sort of experience, which is why I'm trying to include loads of examples, tools, and a built in "module."

A bit of a terminology pet peeve, but something that matters to me in all this:

Fluff vs Lore.

I kinda dislike the term Fluff because it's rather dismissive of some pretty important aspects of RPGs. But it's useful for separating out extraneous Fluff from useful Lore. When designing a game setting, Lore is information about the world that's actually useful to playing the game. It helps inform players, it creates hooks, etc. Games that have more Lore than Fluff (though ultimately a subjective thing) I think are more appealing in terms of selling the game because you do two things. You make sure reading the non-mechanical section of the book is actually useful to playing the game, and you're showing your potential readers that you're actually thinking about making things that will be fun to play with on the terms they want to engage with it.
Fair. I probably use the term fluff as a self-deprecating term more than anything else. I.E. other books might have Lore, mine is just fluff, which is probably a good enough reason to stop using it now that I recognize that. I actually have a lot to say on this, so may start another thread...
 

Nelzie

Registered User
Validated User
This is really a two part question: "What gets you to buy and play an RPG?"
It's a popular system that has some flexibility to it, has a decent sized player base and or is geared to easily bring players into the game, on the tabletop.

For example, I never played DnD 3.x on the tabletop, for me, the complexity of all the modifiers, situational bits, the complexity and regularly growing list of feats, was to much for me as a DM and as a player. But... I did enjoy the game on the PC.

Then Castles&Crusades came out. It hit on some popular mechanics, it was flexible, quick resolving of existing and even new situations. It was familiar enough to easily bring new players into the game. It was a great purchase.

I also purchase games based on my interest in the subject material. I grabbed the Serenity RPG, because I'm a Browncoat.... but, I haven't yet played the game and I doubt that I'll end up doing so. To me, it's just a nifty reference piece for the 'verse.

"What gets you to keep playing the game?"
Having a table willing to continue to meet up...
 

fheredin

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Banned
Validated User
First Time poster, but I have been lurking for a while.

I rarely buy RPGs, anymore, and I never had a huge collection, but I am a dedicated reverse engineer. I will occasionally buy RPGs I am on the fence about for the artwork, and I do have a selection of first timer RPGs for the occasional new kid. But the primary reason I buy an RPG is to use it as a design resource. That's also kinda why I've stopped collecting RPGs; I actually crib more ideas from board games like Betrayal at House on the Hill than proper roleplaying games.
 
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