Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Cheap Arse Gaming Rules OK

My working art for Bezerka con.


Gamer debate on cost of games and the fair cost of games rage is on again. Im not a fan of editions which are cash cows because rule books out sell supplements. Im not a fan of over designed books that have lots of coffee table gloss, thick margins, huge fonts and other design bloat trickniques. Design that reduces readability or usability. Excessive verbiage like everyone paid per word instead of plain English, mostly resulting in little content for amount of reading you have to do. Hard cover for a module or with under a hundred pages? These are some of the things i reject about half all game books not price. Art on pathfinder books I find attractive but it is not how I imagine things so to me is mostly wasted and I dont want to pay for it.  Seems to funnel everything into a certain aesthetic. I like gurps 3 sourcebook and older chaosium books because they had a almost text book layout, density of information and I never felt the B&W spot illustrations railroaded my imagination.

Now with recent Chaosium changes I am not playing any modern version of any game. So CONs declared my games are noncommercial. Despite my club doubling in size since 5th ed I have had no new players (I am off to get some G+ gaming lessons this morning). The big bucks end of gaming does not make product for me. This happened in comics and SF/Fantasy/Horror fiction too. Possibly Im just getting middle aged and my brain plasticity has gone (but I was a Teen Classicist who read mostly pre 20th C books and a few Pre ww2 writers). If it aint broke don't fix it. Comics have got me back a bit last few years but the big reprints are more appealing than ongoing series (axing all the 500pg B&W stuff sad though).

I dont want to read another 500 pg all inclusive system and learn another game mechanic sorry. Changing some basic maths isnt worthy of a new edition. Making your new edition incompatible with old products is just anoying to me (and I dont mind changing on the fly). Making new eds less deadly with mechanics when the GM can adjust deadliness with skill is sad. Im more interested in gaming as a vehicle for creativity not shopping. Oldschool gamers on FB used to be about sharing ideas and crowdsourcing ideas. As numbers grew it became about collectors boasting about products the got. So I follow what other self creators do on blogger and G+ (any recommendations). I am willing to support self creators small publishing projects. Many of them follow older aesthetic moulds, are simpler and more imaginative. Also often more adult. I feel gaming as a vehicle for personal creativity is being killed. Personal settings and rule hacks get shunned by new players and by some CONS. Forgotten Realms started as a quaint personal setting and got turned into a disneyesque corporate monster.

Ive worked in comics and publishing enough gimics and cashed up fanboy and greedy corp antics don't do it for me anymore. Licensed universes with updates and trademarks that they publishers lose and another company picks up just make me unwilling to commit.

One of the best comments on the cost crisis is that the over glut of new games competing for your dollar also are competing with every product ever printed. You can stick to an older ed forever or even a free online RPG. If I was a kid now I would love the awesome free and cheap stuff available online. No waiting for A magazine full of ads and content I could never use.

DnD 4th ed the tactical increadibly slow skirmish non roleplaying game probably helped the story  game genre. Simpler oldschool games were the other option.

If your bitter at your audience your doing it wrong. Do it for yourself and love and like minded will gravitate to you. Earning a living from creativity is for 999 out of 1000 a huge heroic gamble.

Im running some Intro to RPG gaming sessions (given up gonzo for cons) and providing lists of free and cheap resources for young people to play for years for free. Any tips or recommendations shoot my way.

Peter on my G+ thread on this sent me these:

I will do a blog on my favorite non gamer reference books for gaming soon.

I will be restarting SOGG (Southern oldschool gamers group) up again and will use to promote older games and cheapskate gaming. The fact I meet younger gamers into oldschool games I find heartwarming.

Added after: Book collecting and gaming separate hobbies. Many buy books to read or just to keep up with hobby but no longer play. Players that buy more setting books than me why I dont like settings. Except Cthulhu where lots GMs read or like the fiction. I would buy setting neutral no mechanic setting books. "Non-fiction" style fantasy books should be a thing as I like worlds better than characters mostly (why im a better DM than a player). Im liking the A5 revolution. Blood and Bronze cool and James Raggi stuff always satisfies.

Comments welcome.


  1. saw bit on art where no colour fill by axe doh

  2. I wonder if I'm cheap, broke, or discrimmminating. Also how many 500 page game books do you need after you have bought a number of them over the past 30 years?

  3. thats why you need art - because you dont have time to read it

    seriously non system setting books might do better with public


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