It’s midsummer party in Finland right now. I ate a half-raw onion for some reason and do not feel very well. That’s why I’ll just write about some little observations and thoughts and move on.
I replayed The Witcher since The Witcher 2 came out and I did not remember anything about it. I found out many annoying things about the game on my replay. Most of them were bugs, but there were some mechanical decisions and general balance issues (which probably aren’t that important since the game is a single-player roleplaying game without a class system). It reminded me of my Shadow of the Colossus replay. I was also annoyed by a slew of smaller problems I hadn’t noticed on my first play-through back then. This shows the importance of replaying in game testing.
The Champions of Ilea card roleplaying system is advancing at flank speed. The designing was accelerated by the presence of actual Dominion cards, Magic Set Editor and a friend to whom I explained the concept. Next I’ll add enough cards for a playtesting session. Explaining is a grand way to focus one’s thoughts and make preliminary decisions, I learned.
Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012 Steam edition does not have local cooperative multiplayer. Not the entire game, just the Steam edition, and thus the PC-port. The one feature that made Duels 2011 a good digital Magic game in my eyes was dropped from it’s sequel. The only explanation I can accept is that they sacrificed the feature on an eldritch altar to appease the Elder Gods and thus postpone ragnarök.
In Machinarium, there is a hint function. Every screen of the game has a page on a grand hint book, with an illustrated walkthrough to every puzzle in the screen. To access the hint book, the player must play a small minigame where you drive a key in a maze and shoot spiders. The controls are clunky, the levels are tedious and the death animation long. When I first used it (yes, I used it) I thought the feature cute. Then the second time it was arduous. The third time I was eating my table in fury. The fourth time I said: No. Screw this, I’d rather actually find the solution to the puzzle than open that god-awful clunky hint book!
I played D&D 4th edition in a friend’s game recently. A new player was introduced to the party, and to the Dungeons and Dragons game itself. In our quest to silence a ruined tower that threatened a nearby road we went through three encounters. In those encounters, about four of that new player’s attacks hit. He waited for many minutes to get to do something and then his contributions to the game were negated by bad dice rolls. After the game he preferred Twilight Imperium over another session of D&D, which is always a warning sign. I’m starting to think that the concept of hitting should belong to gaming history.
I finally admitted that my quest to use the 4th Edition D&D for a combat-light fantasy adventure that explored the concept of goodness in moral ambiguity was doomed to fail from the start. Pathfinder worked because the system is capable of running an internally consistent game world. A very stupid one, but consistent nonetheless. D&D assumes combat, with miniatures, on a grid. If you take those elements away, you might as well toss the whole system with it. That thought sent ripples throughout my view of roleplaying systems in general. How should you select a game system for your roleplaying game? By setting? By theme? Interesting questions.