RPGaDay2018 Day 25: Name a game that had an impact on your in the last year

For me the answer has to be Ghost Ops. The reason is that up until that point I had always thought of these FUDGE and FATE sorts of games as flesh creepily ill defined. Do you know that feeling when someone has taken political correctness too far and won’t let you use the phrase Brainstorm in case you offend someone with epilepsy and wants you to use Thought Shower instead.

I have yet to meet anyone with epilepsy who found Brainstorm offensive but plenty who found the idea that they would be offended offensive.

Ghost Ops changed that as it has a really tightly defined setting, really solid character creation with loads of options but without complexity. It was skills based and you could customise your characters to your liking. It really changed my who perception of FUDGE so much so that I periodically check RPGnow looking for a decent fantasy FUDGE game to download. I have looked at a couple so far an not found exactly what I am looking for. There is always the option of configuring one myself and that is an idea I have on a back burner.

So although I really like FUDGE it is the Ghost Ops game in particular that I credit with the being the game that really made the impact. Ghost Ops is now my system of choice for modern day games.

Here is something else that has made the game stand out in my mind. When I first looked at Ghost Ops, I only had access to the free quickstart rules. The publisher contacted me after my first blog post about the game. They not only answered the questions I had about the game they also sent me the (not free) extended quickstart as that edition explained some of the things I was struggling to grasp from the quickstart rules. The failing being my lack of experience with FUDGE. Furthermore that contacted me again later after I had told them I was going to play through the sample adventure to see how I got on and then most recently they sent me the full game upon its release. They didn’t need to do that, they didn’t need to invest that much time and effort in me. After all I hadn’t spent a single dime on their game, I had just downloaded the free version.

Contrast this with ICE this week…

I made the suggestion of using yesterday’s RPGaDay post to put Rolemaster into the spotlight a bit. I saw that Nicholas was on the boards shortly after I posted that but it got no response. I followed up by pointing them to a blog where I had done what I suggested and promoted RM as a game deserving more recognition and I got a positive response from the blogger who said they would have to check it out again sometime. I went back to the ICE forums and suggested that they send the blogger a complimentary copy of the RMFRP book. If the guy is prepared to take a fresh look then for god sake make it easy for them, earn a bit of goodwill and maybe get a bit of free publicity out of it. I think someone, maybe Brian pointed out that the ICE forums are on a bit of autopilot right now. It certainly seems that there is noone at the helm that is for sure. Obviously I got no response to my suggestion and an opportunity to promote RM is lost.

OK, so this opportunity may appear small, but it was one person reaching out to one blogger and getting one positive response. In marketing that is a 100% success rate.

ICE could have used RPGaDay on several days to raise the profile of RM.

Day 3: What gives a game staying power? Well RM has been around for 4 decades I am pretty sure you could have used that to comment on all these blogs taking part.

Day 16: Describe your plans for your next game? Well ICE’s next game is RMU, or even why not suggest to bloggers that there next game becomes a RMU playtest? You could easily gather all the JDale changes into a single PDF (I have done this myself for my RMU game) and send it and the Beta2 pdfs to any bloggers that respond.

Day 21: What dice mechanic, they could be commenting and describing the Open Ended d100 roll or the 66 critical. These both put the RM name and brand in front of people.

Day 23: What game do you hope to play again? Pose the question when was the last time they had played Rolemaster? You may get responses about rulesmaster/chartmaster but it is easy to compare RM to PF and RM is tiny by comparison.

Including day 24 there were five days in which either one or many RM fans could have pushed out the ‘give RM a fresh look’ message. It is just a pity that no one took the opportunity. The contrast of course is that Feral Games had already won the goodwill of this blogger and gets a mention with out having to do anything.

13 Replies to “RPGaDay2018 Day 25: Name a game that had an impact on your in the last year”

  1. I should probably take a look at Ghost Ops. I haven’t come directly into contact with FUDGE, only FATE-based games. One was ICONS and the other was The Dresden Files. I wasn’t that impressed with FATE as seen via The Dresden Files – the whole feeling I got was that FATE was a competitive BSing contest between player and GM. It seemed to work better for ICONS, but it was also more heavily tweaked.

    1. That was my problem with FATE and I had lumped FUDGE into the same basket. That is unfair to FUDGE though. There are two things I don’t like about FATE the first is the player created setting side of things. If I run a game I want to create a world and have that world unfold for the players, not for the players to tell me what is going on. The second is the adjective scales. I like numbers. If I have a skill of 4 with rifle and get +2 for using a sniper’s sight then I know I have +6. If I need a total of 7 to hit from this range then I know what I need to roll. To tell me that I am a fair shot but great with a sniper’s sight but need to make an extremely hard shot to hit from this range leaves me feeling that I am none the wiser.

      1. I had assumed that FATE, being an outgrowth of FUDGE, was pretty similar to the original system.

        Paraphrasing a bit from The Dresden Files book, parts of the game would seem to go something like this:

        GM: You do something dumb. Bad things happen.

        Player: Because of this line of BS, actually good things happen.

        It gave the impression that you could talk your way out of anything. Now, as ICONS is a superhero game and superheroes rarely die permanently (in the comic books anyway; Batman, Superman, Spider-Man and Wolverine to name a handful have all come back from the dead I believe), being able to do that made sense. Not so much for anything else.

  2. I had messed with FUDGE a few years back with a game project that ended up going nowhere. It impressed me as a decent system, but not something I would be inclined to use left to my own devices.

    There have been a couple of games that have had an impact on me in the last year. One is the new version of Top Secret. There are some parts I find too ‘fuzzy’ for my taste, but I like how they handle combat and action points, and the skill system is decent as well. There are also things about Kenzer and Company’s Aces and Eights I find attractive (although not the combat system, which is a mix of cards and dice and just too muddled for my taste). I have a really bad habit of taking bits from systems, so it’s usually part of a game that has an impact on me, not the whole game in most cases.

    As for ICE…I don’t have much to say honestly. I really feel the window of opportunity for many things (including the stuff I have been working on) is slipping away or totally gone.

    1. In project management you can define the scope of a project or the deadline of a project but not both.

      ICE have taken the first option which is good. It is better to release a game when it is finished and not rush it out regardless of whether it works or not.

      What ICE are missing is any sort of urgency. You don’t need paid staff you just need some motivational pressure to complete the project.

      Once you set milestones for example you can say ‘as soon as X is complete we can start Y’ You do get a hint of this but the big Y is the tje complete lack of any kind of marketing or promotion of Rolemaster. It takes very little time to monitor Facebook, Twitter and all the blogs of opportunities to mention RM and when it suits to offer complimentary copies or review copies of PDFs. There are free tools for exactly this purpose. Once you have a background hum about ICE you then have an existing audience to tell about RMU. I think trying to tell the world about RMU from a standing start is going to be a mammoth task. I kmow reviewers and virtually none of them would touch RMU. That is what the tag TL:DR was invented for.

      1. I think ICE have a plan. I don’t know what it is, or whether it’s still going to be relevant a significant chunk of a decade down the line (unless there’s a lite starter option, I’m dubious that it will be), but I do think they started out with one. Yes, buzz and interest in RM could have been generated in the interim. Heck, we wanted to do that ourselves.

        1. I suppose as Marketing is my ‘thing’ I get super sensitive to when I see it being done really badly or opportunities being squandered.

          ‘Lite’ rules were something I was pushing for a few years ago for RMU but now they are very much out of fashion. It is the quickstart that is the current way to go with a whirlwind tour of the rules, an adventure and half a dozen pre-gen characters all in 50 pages.

          1. I was sort of including quickstart rules in with lite ones – I’d actually forgotten the word! Still, both are easy/cheap ways of getting started in a game, and it looks as if a lot of publishers are doing something along those lines.

            1. My fear is if they decided NOW to do a quickstart/lite rules version it would add another year (or more) to whatever timeline they’re working from now. I know with my rules I’m planning on including an adventure with each setting/genre so people can see how it works, which lends itself to the free taste idea.

              1. Yes, it’s late in the game and it could well add even more delay on to when the system gets published. Which would be bad. I’m less than certain that requiring people to buy the entire system is going to bring in much in the way of new players though.

                1. It would have made more sense to release the beta rules, a quickstart book based upon those rules including the pre-gen characters and sample adventure as a single package. As the playtest data came back in you could then update the beta pdfs and reflect those changes in the quickstart. The advantage is that the developers can shape the quickstart book to test specific areas and you have greater control over some of the variables. The beauty of PDFs is that you can update them just the once and everyone can download them. You could put this on a monthly cycle and the directors briefing could include a request for people to download the latest version of the quickstart because X, Y and Z have been changed. Your testers would hopefully feel like what they are testing is moving forward rather than the feeling of stagnation that we see now and ideally the quickstart booklets get shared around which spreads the word about RM.

                  I am going to put my playtest on RPGnow/Drivethru to get as wide a crowd as possible testing. Every chapter of the rules is a seperate Word doc and starts with 2-5 bullet point questions that I would like the testers to think about and a link to a dedicated forum thread for that chapter. I will then be able to update the package of testing documents and drivethr will email all my testers to tell them when I have dated the playtest. If bits are no good then they can be fixed and put out for testing immediately.

                  The playtest version doesn’t get all the setting/background text or the art so it is not the full game so there is still added value in buying the game. The kickstarter backers will get the current version of the entire game as a PDF except the art as a reward for the lowest level. so hopefully some people will find the playtest on drivethru and others will find it via kickstarter. I will also link to it on here but I don’t think many RM players will be that interested. It is not gritty, realistic and simulationist but there is a chance that some people may d/l it and take a look.

                  One hopes then that the play testers will convert into players for the final game.

                  You can see that I have slightly different ideas on how to run a public playtest than ICE. You can also see how marketing, the bringing in of new players, is inextricably linked to the playtest. Of course there will be review copies and such after the playtest but I hope by then I will have an active group of players already on board to start the word of mouth recommendations. I also hope to have active forums by then and a social media following. All of it fuelled by the free playtest bundle including the quickstart and post release the standalone quickstart.

                  1. As long as you fulfil Kickstarter orders through OBS, they will also send a couple of Kickstarter promotional emails to your existing customers as well – usually you can’t send emails with off-network links. I may be able to promote the public playtest to my customers as well, with it being on OBS, which could increase exposure.

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