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Monday, August 17, 2009

The Fantasy Trip

People have been talking about The Fantasy Trip on a couple blogs, Beyond the Black Gate and Grognardia. Mainly, they've been talking about a letter from Metagaming boss Howard Thompon, in which he says:
"I think the system is better than D&D, but not by a huge margin. All the material in Advanced Melee and Advanced Wizard didn't need to be added at all. More spells and weapons fine, more detail of combat, no."
And in the next paragraph:
"My feeling is that in the extra two years of work TFT got longer instead of better."
This, as well as his speculation about what the market wanted as far as complexity, has sparked some discussion about whether or not the market really wants simpler games. GURPS, the more complex descendant of TFT, sells better than TFT ever did. AD&D existed alongside BECM for a while, seems to have won out; D&D 3e is even more complex and did well, and despite the claims of being simpler than 3e, its combat system is definitely more involved than TFT: Advanced Melee.

My own thought is that "the market", for whatever reason, is dedicated gamers. Dedicated gamers like the more involved rules systems. Casual gamers form a much smaller market, so rules lite systems do poorly. There's more to it than that, but that's enough.

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