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Author Topic: How many Editions to get it right??  (Read 2473 times)

Jaeger

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How many Editions to get it right??
« on: July 16, 2009, 04:26:18 PM »
After seeing RPG's with multiple editions I am beginning to start to wonder how many it takes to get a system "right".


 In my opinion I can only see 2 or 3 editions at the most. But this naturally assumes effort was made to have a solid, well thought out system to begin with...

I think that every game will go two editions. There are things that come up when many people are playing a game that playtesting could never catch. And for a lot of small press games the 1st edition is basically a playtesting release anyway.

The only reasons I can see for going beyond 2 or 3 editions would be:

1 - Fundamentally changing the system of the game. i.e. a "redesign". This can be done for the hell of it, or for any of the following reasons:

2 - Core, or highly used parts of the 1st edition were broken, or gave wonky results, which lead to reason #1.

3 - Great setting idea, but the system is made of ass. Which also leads to reason #1.

  So how many editions do you think a game would take before it is declared well and truly finished...


.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2009, 04:37:29 PM by Jaeger »
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ggroy

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How many Editions to get it right??
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2009, 04:34:02 PM »
Ideally two editions.

Gygax actually did outline a vision for his own 2nd ed AD&D, in several Dragon magazine articles back in those days.  This was before he was ousted from the company.

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How many Editions to get it right??
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2009, 05:04:21 PM »
Really? And what was Gary's 2e like?

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How many Editions to get it right??
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2009, 05:06:52 PM »
The very idea that it takes a certain quantity of editions to get a system right is so wrong I've got no words to express it. New editions are not published to improve the game (sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, it's pure casuality), but to reboot it, that is, everybody and your mother knows that corebooks are the best sellers in a game line. What do you do when your customers have bought all the corebooks they intend to buy? Easy, you release a new edition they don't have, and voilà, you start selling again. And that's it.
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ggroy

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How many Editions to get it right??
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2009, 05:11:26 PM »
Quote from: RPGPundit;314458
Really? And what was Gary's 2e like?


Page 8 in Dragon Magazine issue #103.

ggroy

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How many Editions to get it right??
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2009, 05:21:47 PM »
From the article, Gygax mentions:

- the bard being made into a class that one can start off at level 1
- new classes:  mystic (sub-cleric), savant (sub-magic user), jester (sub-bard)
- removing psionics completely
- elemental planes added to the DMG
- packing all the 1E stuff at the time (1985) into four books only:  PHB, DMG, Monster Manual, and Legends & Lore

Jaeger

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How many Editions to get it right??
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2009, 05:40:04 PM »
Quote from: Claudius;314460
The very idea that it takes a certain quantity of editions to get a system right is so wrong I've got no words to express it. New editions are not published to improve the game (sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, it's pure casuality), but to reboot it, that is, everybody and your mother knows that corebooks are the best sellers in a game line. What do you do when your customers have bought all the corebooks they intend to buy? Easy, you release a new edition they don't have, and voilà, you start selling again. And that's it.


 Maybe I should revise my original post and add another reason:

4 - To make more money! (Which usually leads us back to reason #1).

 But that still doesn't invalidate my first post. Yes, someone could write a system that required no revisions from the get go, but that is highly unlikely.

  So purely from a system perspective it does take a few editions to get things "right".

  The whole reboot for $$$$ aspect of our hobby is a totally different discussion.

And just for the record: No, my mother does not know.
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islan

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How many Editions to get it right??
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2009, 06:10:52 PM »
Quote from: Jaeger;314472

  The whole reboot for $$$$ aspect of our hobby is a totally different discussion.



Except that's the reason for new editions; your complaint about games taking too long to get it "right" is invalid because the new editions aren't trying to get it right, often they are just trying to make it different.


Of course, Chaosium games usually seem to get slightly improved with each new edition (but only slightly).

Also, if a new Savage Worlds edition doesn't come out, then that game would fit perfectly into your three-edition-tops-for-improvement model.

Jaeger

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How many Editions to get it right??
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2009, 06:27:25 PM »
Quote from: islan;314475
Except that's the reason for new editions; your complaint about games taking too long to get it "right" is invalid because the new editions aren't trying to get it right, often they are just trying to make it different.
.



  In what way was my post a complaint? Maybe you are not understanding what I was 'Thinking out loud' about. All you and Claudius arguments against what I posted are for reasons I have basically already laid out as causes for a game going beyond 2-3 editions...

Both your posts are: "But, but, they aren't trying to make it right...."

When my post is: "If you were to try and make it right, what would it take???"

 Your saying I'm wrong to a question I never asked.

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Scaredy Squirrel

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How many Editions to get it right??
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2009, 06:43:30 PM »
I think it's perfectly OK for a game to 2 or maybe 3 editions to refine the system and such. By releasing the game to hordes of avid gamers and reading your forums, you have the best playtest ever. After that, I would begin to wonder... Of course everyone wants something different, so... But at some point, it's just : "Let's make something else out of this game! Let's rebuild the system to see what happens!". To me, D&D goes like this :

OD&D : New rules and then, some refinements with different versions...
AD&D : Refine
AD&D 2nd : Refine and stabilize (AD&D is, to me, a very good system that expands and learns from its predecessors)
D&D 3rd : Rebuild and then refine with 3.5 (Easy to recognize, but too much changes)
D&D 4th : Rebuild

I'm aware that AD&D 2nd is probably not the most popular version of D&D, but I think of it as the peak of the "old" D&D. Same system but simplified and polished.

This is, of course, highly subjective, as someone could consider 3rd Ed. the peak of the D&D evolution, but I think the introduced to much changes. The play experience isn't just the same. Characters made from 3rd are not compatible with older editions, but 2nd is, to some extent, easy to mesh with older incarnations of D&D.

This rambling got me thinking : Does a new version of a system have to be compatible (to some extent) with its predecessor in order to be a "valid" new version and not a complete rebuild?

Also, do you prefer changes brought inside the same edition (like a sourcebook that would uptade some table and say : "this is the new official way to do things") or a new edition altogether?

Jaeger

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How many Editions to get it right??
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2009, 07:00:35 PM »
Quote from: Scaredy Squirrel;314480
I think it's perfectly OK for a game to 2 or maybe 3 editions to refine the system and such. By releasing the game to hordes of avid gamers and reading your forums, you have the best playtest ever.


Exactly.

Quote from: Scaredy Squirrel;314480

This rambling got me thinking : Does a new version of a system have to be compatible (to some extent) with its predecessor in order to be a "valid" new version and not a complete rebuild?


I think it should compatible if what you are going for is system refinement. A rebulid throws those things out of the window.

Quote from: Scaredy Squirrel;314480

Also, do you prefer changes brought inside the same edition (like a sourcebook that would uptade some table and say : "this is the new official way to do things") or a new edition altogether?


 I would prefer to wait and have all the refinements incorperated into a new edition. Eratta & print runs take care of small issues.

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Benoist

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How many Editions to get it right??
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2009, 07:13:27 PM »
Assuming you didn't get it right the first time, two editions is enough. Afterwards, you either aren't that good a designer or you're pushing it for the cash.

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How many Editions to get it right??
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2009, 07:22:18 PM »
Quote from: Benoist;314485
Assuming you didn't get it right the first time, two editions is enough. Afterwards, you either aren't that good a designer or you're pushing it for the cash.

Are you assuming there is only one designer working on all the editions?

This whole discussion also seems to centre on there being some optimal endpoint for the design of a game. That doesn't make sense to me.
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How many Editions to get it right??
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2009, 07:31:50 PM »
Quote from: Benoist;314485
Assuming you didn't get it right the first time, two editions is enough. Afterwards, you either aren't that good a designer or you're pushing it for the cash.


This, pretty much. It's the only tendency I think has any regularity. Though first editions are frequently halting, after that whether subsequent editions are better or worse is often a crap-shoot.

And some games never get it "right". Or perfect, or bestest, or whatever. Very often, I find myself hybridizining things from different edition of a game because the some of the designers' supposed "improvements", aren't.
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Tamelorn

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How many Editions to get it right??
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2009, 08:31:29 PM »
2nd ed?  Ickpoo.  They broke stuff that didn't need fixing and didn't fix anything that needed it.


Quote from: Scaredy Squirrel;314480
I think it's perfectly OK for a game to 2 or maybe 3 editions to refine the system and such. By releasing the game to hordes of avid gamers and reading your forums, you have the best playtest ever. After that, I would begin to wonder... Of course everyone wants something different, so... But at some point, it's just : "Let's make something else out of this game! Let's rebuild the system to see what happens!". To me, D&D goes like this :

OD&D : New rules and then, some refinements with different versions...
AD&D : Refine
AD&D 2nd : Refine and stabilize (AD&D is, to me, a very good system that expands and learns from its predecessors)
D&D 3rd : Rebuild and then refine with 3.5 (Easy to recognize, but too much changes)
D&D 4th : Rebuild

I'm aware that AD&D 2nd is probably not the most popular version of D&D, but I think of it as the peak of the "old" D&D. Same system but simplified and polished.

This is, of course, highly subjective, as someone could consider 3rd Ed. the peak of the D&D evolution, but I think the introduced to much changes. The play experience isn't just the same. Characters made from 3rd are not compatible with older editions, but 2nd is, to some extent, easy to mesh with older incarnations of D&D.

This rambling got me thinking : Does a new version of a system have to be compatible (to some extent) with its predecessor in order to be a "valid" new version and not a complete rebuild?

Also, do you prefer changes brought inside the same edition (like a sourcebook that would uptade some table and say : "this is the new official way to do things") or a new edition altogether?