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CrosshairCollie

In a game i don't like because a friend is running it

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I'll put the TL;DR first: Friend of mine is running a game he loves, but I don't like.  Torn between 'he's a friend, I'm obligated' and 'I'm not having fun, I should stay home'.

 

The long version: He's running a game called Monster of the Week.  It's designed to emulate things like Buffy, Grimm, urban fantasy shows with monster antagonists (and sometimes protagonists).  The genre/concept itself, I don't mind, but the system is ... is ... there's almost no system to speak of.  You have five stats, valued -1 to +3; Cool, Charm, Tough, Sharp, and Weird.  To perform a 'Move' (as the game calls actions), you roll 2d6, add modifier.  7 or higher, you succeed.

Here's the thing.  Each stat has one or two moves attached to it.  Tough is used for 'Kick some Ass' and 'Protect someone', for example.  Each character has an archetype that grants them 3 'class-specific' moves, for lack of a better term.  The Crook, for example, can get a move that lets him perform B&E.  It seems that only people with a particular move can perform it, as most classes have an advancement of 'Take a move from other class's move list'.

That's it.  There's something to be said for simplicity, but this is beyond that.  Unless you default to Cool's 'Act Under Pressure' move for EVERYTHING, there's no way to hide, sneak, drive, pick a lock, break down a door (unless you're kicking the door's ass?), search for things, play an instrument ... I have no idea what languages my character knows.  I have no idea how much he knows about vampires or ghosts or anything else.  The combat isn't even interesting because it's just 'Roll Kick Some Ass'; the GM doesn't even roll anything; if you win, you hurt it, if you lose, it hurts you.  Which oddly means a melee-only monster can hurt you if you're shooting it with a rifle from 500 feet away and roll poorly.  No tactics, no variety, no aim, no brain.

There's just nothing THERE.  No meat, no crunch, no substance.  All fluff.  It's the cotton candy of game systems.  I don't like it.  I would rather stay home and play Overwatch or Skyrim or Smash Bros or just chat online.  I spend most of the game frustrated and bored because my options are so limited.

Except for magic.  Literally anybody can use magic, though if you fail your check, something bad will happen.  This makes a high Weird essentially broken; I played a Monstrous (werewolf), and eventually in each game I've gotten so frustrated with the mystery we were on that I just used magic to Postcognition a crime scene ... but I shouldn't have, because that's not my concept, but there's no allowance for that other than voluntary nerfing.  Why didn't I just give myself a low  Weird, you may ask?  Not an option.  When you pick your class, you've given a handful of pre-determined stat outlays, and all of the Monstrous ones had +3 Weird, so I didn't have a choice.  If you thought DnD's class system was restrictive, you ain't seen nothin' until you've tried Monster of the Week.

BUT the guy running it is one of those that thinks mechanics and roleplay are an inverse ratio, so he loves it.  He ran it at Gen Con this year and he's thinking about sending stories to the publisher, or maybe designing adventures for them, I'm not quite sure, which means he'll want to run it fairly frequently.  I don't want to hurt his feelings, and I'm afraid if I say that I want to bow out, that he'll stop running it to appease me, but I don't want him to do that, either, but I don't want it to get to the point where I can't pretend to be interested.  I've mentioned that it isn't really my thing low-key, but haven't really made a fuss about it; I figure he thinks I'm neutral on it, rather than outright negative.  Essentially, at this point, I'm only along for the socialization aspect.

 

Not sure if I'm after advice, or just needed to get this off my chest.  Either way, if you've read all this, thank you.

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I tend to enjoy some winging it mechanics light stuff (And yet I love Champs ;) ) so I will probably not be that useful. BUT...  it sounds like you're trying to be a really nice guy and not hurt his feelings or spoil his fun. Which works in the short term but eventually it may snow ball and he won't know what hit him with the truth comes out.

 

Is he the only game master for your gaming group? Maybe your group might like alternating anyway.. different games and systems now and then? 

 Particularly if it's another more rule heavy one he and you both LIKE? 

 

 

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In theory, 3 of the 4 of us *can* GM, but my wife doesn't have the time and energy to prep anymore, and I'm suffering from some severe apathy; I'm trying to rev myself up, but it's like when you try to start a lawnmower with one of those stupid pull-cords and it won't ... quite ... catch.

 

The fourth one keeps saying he's going to give it a try, but he's been saying he's going to for so long, we're not really expecting it anymore.

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6 minutes ago, CrosshairCollie said:

In theory, 3 of the 4 of us *can* GM, but my wife doesn't have the time and energy to prep anymore, and I'm suffering from some severe apathy; I'm trying to rev myself up, but it's like when you try to start a lawnmower with one of those stupid pull-cords and it won't ... quite ... catch.

 

The fourth one keeps saying he's going to give it a try, but he's been saying he's going to for so long, we're not really expecting it anymore.

 

Ah, Sympathies.

 

At least you got it off your chest. I seem to be not helping in the advice part. 

 

 

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I've been there before, and it sucks.  But the situation won't get better if you don't put your issues out there. 

You seem to be pretty coherent in explaining why you don't like it, and it's not coming off to me like you're blaming anyone aside from "They like something I don't, and I respect their taste". 

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1 hour ago, CrosshairCollie said:

Friend of mine is running a game he loves, but I don't like

 

Is the "game he loves" the game (system) or the setting?  

 

If it is the setting, you may get him to run it with a better (?) rule set. 

If it is the system he loves you may be SOL.

 

Either way there is no good answer. For myself I decline.  I have played in games out of obligation in the past and it never ends well. No matter my intent I get really bored and loose interest which in turn drags down other players.  So I don't. 

 

On the flip side I never (any more) try to talk anyone into a game/system they are not interested in. 

 

Not really advice, just some rambling :think:

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13 minutes ago, CrosshairCollie said:

The 'system' is a lot of it.  Like I said, he seems to think that mechanics and roleplaying are inversely proportional (despite being in HERO games which, I would like to think, amply demonstrate otherwise).

 

A friend of mine is a huge World of Darkness fanatic, but I just cannot play in games that are centered on PvP. 

 

I know, I know, everyone will say "<gasp> but WoD is not PvP!" and then gleefully stab the other player in the back.  

 

YMMV, but I came the conclusion that not playing was better than playing and spoiling the fun for the GM and other players.  

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A little trick I have used in the past is to offer to run a game, then I pick something I know I can run and enjoy and that the players will be interested in and I run a game in which I just get em hooked and asking for more. Then I get one or more of the players interested in running in the same campaign or one of their own using the same game. Sometimes it doesn't work, other times it becomes the only game the group ever wants to play haha! The last time I tried this it ended up w/ a campaign being run by two GM's who would switch to give the other a break to create stuff while on break and to play his character w/in the same campaign.

Also, if you are not having fun in ANY game/group you are a part of there are two choices I always make and both work. 1) If its a friend running the game I explain why I am not having fun, why, and suggest possible ways to improve the experience. 2) I simply give my thanks, excuse myself, and politely just walk away from the game.

The whole point is to have fun and if that's NOT the case then you are merely torturing yourself and wasting valuable time you could be investing in something else.

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1 hour ago, Spence said:

 

A friend of mine is a huge World of Darkness fanatic, but I just cannot play in games that are centered on PvP. 

 

I know, I know, everyone will say "<gasp> but WoD is not PvP!" and then gleefully stab the other player in the back.  

 

YMMV, but I came the conclusion that not playing was better than playing and spoiling the fun for the GM and other players.  

 

My own WOD games were definitely more "World of Shadow" but I played with a tight group of friends so we didn't care if others told us we were 'doing it wrong'

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    My question is, are the other players enjoying the game?   If so then you may have to just smile and get through it. (If he’s a real friend he’s probably put up with some stuff of yours over the years.)

   If not and they’re having the same problems you are, then you may be better off talking to him before the whole game implodes.

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1 hour ago, Tjack said:

    My question is, are the other players enjoying the game?   If so then you may have to just smile and get through it.

 
Oh no, this is not only a recipe for disaster, why should anyone put themselves thru having a bad time to please someone else (unless its your significant other or your child, for those its ok)? Don't get me wrong every once in a while, sure, but every game nite?! heck no, life is too short. I was a part of a group for a long time that constantly wanted to play games that were fun to them and not me, and neither they or me had any problems w/ me finding something else to do meanwhile. I even recently had to walk away from a game being run by a friend because it just had a very disruptive player that made things very boring and annoying to me (and later on the rest of the group) and I just couldn't keep wasting my free time on something that made me miserable. I explained to my friend and he was ok w/ it as he understood why I was not having fun and had to walk from the table, no problems, no drama, and I was able to use the time for more entertaining/productive things.

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If you don't articulate that you aren't enjoying yourself, and why, your resentment is only going to build. Sooner or later that's going to come out, probably in a way that will be more harmful to your friendship than if you were straight with him early on. I'm sure there are other things each of you enjoys that the other doesn't. If you're reasonable about it, and he's that good a friend, he should understand. If he doesn't he couldn't have been that good a friend, and it's better to know that now.

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If you're getting nothing out of the experience except boredom and frustration, tell him and quit playing that game. Give him the full explanation that it's the system rather than the group.

 

It's part of the GM's job to run a game that interests the players on some level. It isn't the responsibility of the players to hang in there, over the long term, even if they're bored to tears.

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It'll help if you have one or more concrete suggestions for alternatives to play, especially if the contrast highlights the features you'd rather play with.  I know, that sounds like working up something you'll run, but it doesn't necessarily  have to work that way.

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This sounds a lot more like a "let's pretend" group storytelling game than an RPG (liberally, it emphasizes the "RP" aspect and de-emphasizes the "G" aspect to about the maximum extent possible), where you want considerably more "G" in your RPG.

 

The opposite extreme is a board game which limits or removes "RP", leaving only "G".

 

On 8/16/2019 at 2:03 PM, CrosshairCollie said:

I'll put the TL;DR first: Friend of mine is running a game he loves, but I don't like.  Torn between 'he's a friend, I'm obligated' and 'I'm not having fun, I should stay home'.

 

Essentially, at this point, I'm only along for the socialization aspect.

 

Not sure if I'm after advice, or just needed to get this off my chest.  Either way, if you've read all this, thank you.

 

The only question to me would be whether the socialization aspect (emphasis above) makes it worth your time.  If not, I'd be inclined to have a private discussion with the GM that this isn't your thing, you're going to bow out, but everyone else seems to be having fun, so he should not change the game on your account.

 

You also mention you have a tough time, as a group, getting an RPG rolling (but this one seems to work).  Maybe that indicates a fundamental difference in game preferences.  That could even extend to one or more other players previously accommodating your preference for high "G" RPG's when they would prefer limited mechanics, group storytelling-type games.

 

Is there any potential for alternating between different games (whether "MOTW' and "Board Game Night" or MOTW and some other RPG you enjoy more?

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On 8/16/2019 at 1:03 PM, CrosshairCollie said:

To perform a 'Move' (as the game calls actions)...

Oh, poor you.  You poor unfortunate soul.  You're playing a Story Game that is Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA).  Several years ago Vincent Baker (developer of kill puppies for satan: the rpg) released an utterly garbage post-apocalyptic game called Apocalypse World with a "game engine" called "Powered by the Apocalypse"  It has been since adapted to every genre you can imagine.  It's extremely easy to convert to other genres because, as you've noticed, the mechanics are an absolute joke and have zero substance.  The use of "Moves" and the "2d6+Modifiers to resolve everything" mechanics are the hallmarks of PbtA.  Monster of the Week is one of the more terrible versions of the PtbA system, but they get even worse -- just be glad you aren't playing Monsterhearts, which is basically Monster of the Week but one of your primary "Moves" is to have sex with the villain.

 

There's a popular superhero Story Game called City of Mist that is supposed to be like a Dark Champions, noirish superhero game.  One of the moves is Investigate.  The way the rules are written, you can literally just ask any random person about the case and if you roll high, they tell you the answer to any question you ask.  Arrive at a murder scene, turn to another PC, ask "Who killed them?" and, RAW, if you roll an 11+ the other PC tells you who the murderer is.  There's no Streetwise skill, no Interrogate skill, no Forensic Medicine, no Contacts.  The player doesn't have to put any work into an investigation, doesn't have to think about how they can apply their skills to the solution.  All characters can just roll 2d6, add their Power Modifier, and investigation is over.  The sick thing about Masks is that you can complete an entire adventure with three dice rolls:  Investigate to learn the identity of the villain, Investigate to learn the location of the villain, Kick Some Ass (it's called something else but works exactly the same) to defeat the villain, adventure over.  Three good roles and you win!

 

Story Games are based around the premise that having to learn rules is hard and that all combats are "slogs," and that only old, fat, socially maladjusted grognards could ever enjoy something as arcane and complicated as a "hit location chart."  Story Gamers operate under the assumption that the only part of roleplaying games that is enjoyable (to normal people, like them, as anyone who disagrees with them is mentally damaged in some way) is the collaborative creation of a narrative.  Like they don't want to game out a fight, they want to resolve the fight with one roll and then just described what happens based on the three broad possible outcomes.  Mostly all Story Games accomplish is highlighting how most people aren't really that great of storytellers. 

 

My experience of story gamers is that they really, really hate HERO gamers.  We are their absolute enemy for two reasons, the first of which is fairly obvious.  HERO, with it's rulebooks thick enough to stop bullets,  is basically the antithesis of what they consider a good game.  They can't comprehend why a GM might want a game system that models physics and answers questions like "What happens to Character X if Character Y throws Charter X into Object Z?"  They don't understand why GMs and players want clearly defined powers that are balanced.

 

The second reason they hate us, and us in particular, is more subtle.  Story Gamers love to believe that they invented whole new innovative concepts that rocked the gaming world and completely revolutionized gaming.  They've "introduced" concepts like "Stunts," where players get bonuses to their rolls for creatively describing attacks and actions, and "Metagame Control" or "Director Stance" where players can force add story elements to the GM's game world.  The problem is that Champions introduced all of these ideas 40 years ago.  Hunteds and DNPC?  Metagame Control.  They allow players to create Villains and NPCs and insert them into the campaign.  Stunts?  Yeah, HERO literally invented that, it's called "Surprise Move."  HERO's whole core concept of a combat system that discourages player morality and makes it more likely players will be captured than killed is narrative supporting game mechanics.  Hell, HERO introduced the whole idea of narrative supporting mechanics to gaming.

 

And that's why they hate HERO gamers and HERO System.  Because they can lay all these complaints about how D&D doesn't support narrative focus and encourages hack'n'slash murderhoboing with its arcane rules, but HERO doesn't fit their patterns.  HERO has always cared about story and supporting story, and has always had built in mechanics to support an ongoing narrative.  Which means the only real criticism they can level against HERO is that "reading is hard" and "math is hard," which, uh, doesn't really support their whole "we're the smartest guys in the room" mentality.

 

Tell your friend that you like him and find his setting interesting, but that Powered by the Apocalypse lacks depth and that the game is repetitive and boring, and you're not enjoying yourself.  Make it clear that it's not him or his setting you dislike, but the game system itself.  Then teach him how to play HERO.

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5 hours ago, Thumper said:

Oh, poor you.  You poor unfortunate soul.  You're playing a Story Game that is Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA)...

 

Story Gamers operate under the assumption that the only part of roleplaying games that is enjoyable (to normal people, like them, as anyone who disagrees with them is mentally damaged in some way) is the collaborative creation of a narrative... .

 

Tell your friend that you like him and find his setting interesting, but that Powered by the Apocalypse lacks depth and that the game is repetitive and boring, and you're not enjoying yourself.  Make it clear that it's not him or his setting you dislike, but the game system itself.  Then teach him how to play HERO.

 

Yes.  Because normal people like crunch-heavy, mechanically detailed systems.  Anyone who prefers the collaborative creation of a narrative, especially to the exclusion of combats that take hours to resolve and fine-tuned builds with at least half a dozen power modifiers on each one, is clearly mentally damaged in some way, right?

 

Still a great description of the preferences of the story gamer versus more tactical and/or crunch mechanics gamers, but I will suggest that they are no more "wrong" for enjoying the type of game they enjoy than we are for enjoying the type of game we enjoy, or people who would rather watch TV, read comic books, play sports, play card games (CCGs or bridge), knit, post on internet discussion boards or social media, build model train dioramas or any of thousands of different options are for enjoying their hobbies of choice.

 

Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.

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5 hours ago, Hugh Neilson said:

Still a great description of the preferences of the story gamer versus more tactical and/or crunch mechanics gamers, but I will suggest that they are no more "wrong" for enjoying the type of game they enjoy...

I'm not saying they are bad people for enjoying a different kind of game.  I'm saying that enjoying a different kind of game doesn't make them morally and intellectually superior to everyone else in the hobby.  There's a big difference between saying "You suck because you like [some thing]!" and saying "You are not superior to 99% of humanity because you like [some thing]."  Story Gamers don't suck because they like Story Games.  Story Gamers suck because collectively they act like if you don't like Story Games the only possible explanation is that you're a worthless subhuman who should be shunned  by society.

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1 hour ago, Thumper said:

I'm not saying they are bad people for enjoying a different kind of game.  I'm saying that enjoying a different kind of game doesn't make them morally and intellectually superior to everyone else in the hobby.  There's a big difference between saying "You suck because you like [some thing]!" and saying "You are not superior to 99% of humanity because you like [some thing]."  Story Gamers don't suck because they like Story Games.  Story Gamers suck because collectively they act like if you don't like Story Games the only possible explanation is that you're a worthless subhuman who should be shunned  by society.

 

I would say that the majority of people who prefer Story Games have seriously backed away from this stance. I also find these days that people are more likely to play both traditional and story games. I believe the worst of this superiority complex is behind us. I suggest forgiving the overly-enthusiast and focusing on what you like.

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On 8/17/2019 at 8:28 AM, Lord Liaden said:

If you don't articulate that you aren't enjoying yourself, and why, your resentment is only going to build. Sooner or later that's going to come out, probably in a way that will be more harmful to your friendship than if you were straight with him early on. I'm sure there are other things each of you enjoys that the other doesn't. If you're reasonable about it, and he's that good a friend, he should understand. If he doesn't he couldn't have been that good a friend, and it's better to know that now.

 

Solid advice here.

 

The sooner you get this out diplomatically the faster the group can deal with the issue.  Sacrificing your ability to have fun so that others enjoy themselves is very unhealthy for long-term relationships.

 

Negotiate something that is fun for everyone.

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1 hour ago, Trechriron10 said:

I would say that the majority of people who prefer Story Games have seriously backed away from this stance. I also find these days that people are more likely to play both traditional and story games. I believe the worst of this superiority complex is behind us. I suggest forgiving the overly-enthusiast and focusing on what you like.

 

Ya, I play both heavy system games and light / story based games...and things in between...but only if I like the game itself. For instance, while I like Fate a lot I do not like PbtA (or Blades in the Dark) but accept that others do.

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