... now with 35% more arrogance!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

You Break It, You Bought It

There's an argument I got embroiled in -- doesn't matter about what, or where -- during which I expressed a general principal I think we should all live by in our role-playing: You break it, You bought it.

What I mean is: if you decide you want something in your game, and you either add it to the rules, or get a supplement that adds it, or choose an edition of the game that adds those rules... well, if it doesn't work, don't complain. You have no one to blame but yourself.

If it doesn't work the way you want, you can change it.

If you decide you don't even like the idea, you can drop it.

If you liked a different edition, or the same edition without some supplement, then switch back.

But don't complain about how the game is broken.

I notice there's a certain kind of person, not very common, but very loud, who seems to think that if a house rule, supplement, or revised edition of a games exists somewhere, and it breaks the game in ways they don't appreciate, why then it's all ruined. You can't take that rule out of the game, because someone wrote it down! You can't play and enjoy the game you want, the way you want, because you will always know that somewhere out there, that one rule broke your game.

So these people whine and complain, and argue with people who say "it's not broken, because you don't have to do that."

Note that this has nothing to do with edition wars, because it goes beyond editions. It's about people who are offended by edge cases and hypotheticals. It's about people who won't take responsibility for their own fun.

In contrast, I saw a bit of news about some 4e fans who have started working on their own "retro"-clone -- actually I guess it's a "pre-retro" clone, since they are preparing to emulate a game that is still in print, but which they assume will no longer be supported. This is the kind of thing I admire: deciding what you want and making changes in game rules, or making your own system, to support what you want. Then, when someone comes along and says "you shouldn't be playing that game, it's broken," they can be all grognard-y and respond "It's not broken for us. The fact that we play it and enjoy it means it works for us."

And maybe, just maybe, when someone counters with "But if I take your rules and make Extreme Change X,  it stops working! And I want Extreme Change X!" the 4e fans can reply, "Hey, you break it, you bought it. Stop complaining and fix it."


  1. Life is too short to game with the people you describe.

  2. If my game is broken can I get my money back?

    Seriously, if some "official" rule "breaks" your game, don't use it. I felt this way about AD&D after having played the basic red box set, so I ignored most of the rules I didn't like. Which, I believe, is the way most of us played it anyway. So, for thirty years, TSR and later WOTC have been "breaking the game," but we play it anyway.

  3. @Restless: The jury's still out on whether those people game or not.

    @DaveL: Yep, and if the official rule works for somebody, but you don't use it, don't worry about it.

    I do think that some people who think a game is "broken" wind up "fixing" it in a way that is more broken, then "fixing" it again. But even these increasingly more "broken" games are only broken within a given context of needs and desires. Somebody out there loves those misfit games.