Did the concept of Attacks of Opportunity destroy the game? Has a game mechanic that allows you to be punished (attacked) for wanting to move your character made the average gamer change the way he thinks about ALL games?
Even back in 2004, the Attack of Opportunity was causing problems. Look at WOTC’s own article on the subject. The first sentence is “If there’s one question players and DMs dread, it’s this one: Does that provoke an attack of opportunity?” That was almost a decade ago.
Now, Attacks of Opportunity have invaded gaming in every way. People who have never played D and D know of the concept and ask about it. I was playing Zombicide with my game group a few weeks ago. A player had his character near a couple of zombies, when deciding whether to move or fight, he asked if moving away from the zombie would provoke an Attack of Opportunity This is a player who has NEVER played 3.0/3.5. Yet, he still knows about Attacks of Opportunity, questions his actions in game worrying about them, and would have changed tactics if the game supported the rule.
This got me thinking, “Has the Attack of Opportunity become such a confusing/worrisome notion that even a gamer who has never played in a game that utilizes them considers them in his gaming decisions?”
We are currently playing Savage Worlds and since I run all of our games, I have so many rules rattling around in my brain pan that I get confused sometimes when thinking about the rules of the game I’m currently running, We have played Deadlands Classic, HackMaster, DCC RPG, Hollow Earth Expedition, Call of Cthulhu, Shadowrun, Tunnels and Trolls, Hero System 6th Ed., along with various board and card games. Having run all of these games, sometimes my mind blanks for a second and I have to find a rule in the book. While we were playing Deadlands Noir the other week, a player asked if he would provoke an Attack of Opportunity moving out of melee. I had to pause and think, then look in the book.
Why did one game mechanic change our entire way of thinking about games? Not in a good way mind you. The pervasive worry that comes from that rule has put many a game on hold right in the middle of the action. As a GM, if a player asks about Attacks of Opportunity, I have to know the answer. One of the problems with that, is that other games that don’t use the same verbiage may in fact have a rule just like an Attack of Opportunity. So, unless you have memorized all of your various games’ rules, you have to check. That disrupts the game, it’s flow and it’s effectiveness as a storytelling medium. When I played 3.0/3.5 as a GM I just removed the rule (OSR FTW) but that didn’t stop the players from asking if they provoked one during most encounters. But during Zombicide? A board game? And we still had to look in the rulebook?
I will say this definitively, I wish the Attack of Opportunity had never been invented, I have spent more time pausing games and checking rulebooks for rules that operate in the same way as that accursed D and D mechanic that I now have to write on the inside cover of my campaign notes where and how it exists in each game I’m running.
Has there ever been an RPG game rule that has caused more confusion and anger than the Attack of Opportunity? I think not.
Part 2 of my GenCon Recap. New information is written in a Swamp color. Photos have been added as well.
Welcome to Episode Deux of my three-part Pre-GenCon babbling, wherein I continue to talk about the booths I want to see.
Eagle & Gryphon Games: Booth: 1603
–Pirate Dice: Here we go again, folks. Pirates. Ships. Dice. But, this looks good, I love dice and I helped this one via Kickstarter as well. Verdict: Want to Demo/Kickstarter. Conclusion: I did not get to see the game, I heard that people did, I just happened to not. Still a backer and still looking forward to getting the game.
Exile Game Studio: Booth: 419
–Hollow Earth Expedition: Love these guys. It’s a tradition each year to make sure this is one of the first booths I visit. The first year Exile was at GenCon, I met Jeff Combos and Sechin Tower and fell in love with HEX. It’s a great game, I urge you to check it out. I just read they are working on a Kickstarter soon, I’m sure I will be following that one. Hopefully I’ll see some more of the Mars stuff they have been working on. Verdict: Have to See. Conclusion: Always good to see Jeff and Sechin. I got in early to the Dealer’s Hall on Thursday because of my Trade Day Badge. It was nice to avoid the crowds and just say hi. I picked up Deadfellas and got in their Kickstarter for Perils of the Surface World.
–Mad Science Institute with author Sechin Tower: Mr. Tower wrote this nifty little novel Mad Science Institute. Check it out. You can get a Kindle version right now for 99 cents on Amazon. Anyway, I’m playing in a Hollow Earth Expedition game based on Mad Science Institute run by Sechin Tower. How cool is that? Verdict: Can’t Wait! Conclusion: Excellent game! Run by Sechin, it was my first RPG played at GenCon this year and was a great way to kick off my gaming for the weekend. I picked up a hard copy of his novel, Kindles are cool and all, but I love to read BOOKS.
Fantasy Flight Games: Booth: 813, 819, 911, 919, 1107, 1113, 1119
–Android: Netrunner: I think this is going to be one of the shows sell-outs. I was thinking about running and getting it when the Hall Doors open, but my Con brain is telling me not to rush. I remember the original version fondly, but I’m not sure about this one. Verdict: Want to Demo. Conclusion: Sold out in ten minutes from what I heard. My FLGS just got some copies, I may pick it up still. I’ve been waiting to hear anything about it, but no one I know has grabbed it up yet.
–Sky Traders: I’d like to take a look at this one. looks interesting and it has…Airships! Verdict: Want to Demo. Conclusion: Avoided the cramped booth. Sometimes the Con-Corpses make it so I want to run out of the Dealer’s Hall screaming. Walk like you are going somewhere!
–So Many Others: Mansions of Madness, Elder Sign and wayyyyy too many others. FFG has a ton of great games. I could spend a couple hours at their booth. Verdict: Want to See. Conclusion: The FFG Booth was a madhouse this year, as it is every year, but since Netrunner sold out early, I had less motivation to fight the crowd.
Flying Buffalo: Booth: 509
–Tunnels and Trolls: I’ll have to stop by the booth and see if there is any news about the new edition, or maybe an Eagle Continent poster. I’m a member of Trollhalla, I go by the name Sharauk-Ru, if you happen to frequent the site. Verdict: Want to See. Conclusion: I said hi to the TrollGod and shook his hand. I was really making the rounds this year.
Gamescience / FRED Distribution: Booth: 1603
–Blue Jasper: I have been bugging this company about this color dice since they were announced. I want them. Yes, Gamescience, I’m the pain in the butt who keeps asking about them, now Take My Money! Verdict: Must Buy. Conclusion: I got my Blue Jasper’s and nobody asked if I was the guy who was a pain in the butt. Score! Something I was wondering about this year…I thought Lou Zocchi had sold off Gamescience as he has not been at GenCon for the past couple of years. Now, this year, he and Gamescience EACH had a booth. Is there a story there I wonder? Gamescience Games vs. Gamescience? I’ll have to look it up.
–d30: Gotta grab a few for the gaming group, plus, the only one I have is one I bought when I was about 26 years younger than I am now. Time for a new one, especially since I like DCC RPG so much. Verdict: Must Buy. Conclusion: Snagged.
Geek & Sundry: Booth: 633
I gotta say, I missed the boat on this one. There has been a flood of new gaming things happening in the world. This is one of them. Quality gaming entertainment. I never thought I would see the day. This is a corner of the gaming world I haven’t poked around in much (much like my recent foray into Google+). I also just starting watching The Nerdist. I’m a little behind the times. But, I’m happy to see there is a whole aspect of gaming that is new to me. This is the new Golden Age of Gaming. I think I’ll be taking some time to learn and watch, more. Verdict: Want to See. Conclusion: I’m now watching, and enjoying.
Goodman Games: Booth: No Booth
–DCC RPG: There may be no booth, but I’m playing in a couple of games of this GM’d by Harley Stroh. I really like the game, looking forward to this. It’s also one of the games I run, so it’ll be nice to learn from one of the creators. Verdict: Can’t Wait! Conclusion: Seeing Doug Kovacs’ new DCC cover in the flesh and playing in two of Harley Stroh’s games were some more highlights of this year’s GenCon. I’m gonna head out to GaryCon just so I can play with him again, a damn good GM. The two groups I played with were spectacular as well. Three Thumbs Represent! R.I.P. and Long Live Nicos Knicknevin. BTW, Harley flipped me off for saving my character, the mark of a true OSR GM.
Kenzer & Co: Booth: 519
–HackMaster: I love HackMaster. I do, I do. It’s one of my favorite games to run, and it holds a special place in my heart. The new Player’s Handbook should be there, buy it, it’s a glorious book. I already have my copy. Verdict: Have to See. Conclusion: The Booth looked busy and it was nice to say hi to Jolly Blackburn.
-Loughmiller’s Pub Saturday 7 p.m.: Looks like there will be a meetup for KenzerCo and HackMaster fans, I’ll probably stop by. I’m HMGMA #300 by the way. Verdict: Maybe. I didn’t go.
Koplow Games Inc: Booth: 1219
–d24, d30: Need to get some for the gaming group for our DCC RPG game. It’s funny, when I owned my game-store, Haunted Chapel Comics and Games, I sold Chessex and Crystal Caste dice. I find I prefer Koplow or Gamescience for my own needs. I just think the pips and numbers look better on Koplow dice, so I buy them. Verdict: Must Buy. Conclusion: I got a handful of D30’s and D24’s for the Home Group.
Looney Labs: Booth: No Booth
–Cthulhu Fluxx: No booth. It’s really bummed me out that Looney Labs no longer goes to GenCon. I’m an Icehouse/Treehouse fanatic, but no-one will play with me. I’ll bring a copy of Ice Dice for pick-up games. The first games I played with my (at the time) soon-to-be wife, were all Looney Labs games. I used to run demos as well. I’m sure I’ll find a copy somewhere. Verdict: Must Buy. Conclusion: I bought a copy of Cthulhu Fluxx at the Steve Jackson Booth along with another game called Cthulhu 5000.
I’ll be back with more!
Next: Volume C.
Other Kickstarter projects of note:
Hollow Earth Expedition: Perils of the Surface World: Jeff Combos, Sechin Tower and the rest of the gang over at Exile Game Studio are my first stop at every GenCon. I was there the first year they brought Hollow Earth Expedition with them and from the moment I punched a T-Rex in the foot, I was hooked on the system, concept and world. (I’d like to also note that the Hollow Earth books have some of the best editing I’ve ever seen in gaming books.) This one is funded already, but we’d all love to see new cover art, wouldn’t we? If you love pulp-era gaming and Jules Verne, check out this project.
Visionary Comics’ Deadlands: Raven Graphic Novel is a project that I’d love to see get funded. Charles Edward Sellner and crew have published some Deadlands comics previously, which were just collected into TPB form. They had set up a pre-order so you could pick up your copy at GenCon and I did just that. It was a pleasure to meet Mr. Sellner and look at some of the art from this Kickstarter. Gaming material for Savage Worlds is included with the trade on sale at GenCon, and the Kickstarter has goals that include the same. Back this one. The Deadlands story is one of the best out there, and Visionary Comics is doing it right. Below we have their booth at Gen Con and the exterior and interior of an amazing French edition of Deadlands: Reloaded that had me in awe.
Apparently, people have been doing this but I, being an old grognard, just happened to discover this little gaming niche. And I think I like it. Some Legos have now been purchased for the gaming group with group dollars, and we will try them out next Wednesday.
In the meantime, my beautiful wife has decided to create some Characters out of the pieces we have. I present to you: Lego Minis that will be used as Horrible Messengers of Death! (my nomenclature) They are: The Blacksmith. The Most Winningest Female Professional Football Player of All Time! The Tavern Wench with a hotdog, and she’s not afraid to use it. The Zombie Fairy of the Apocalypse! Tyrion Lanister (my favorite)! And…frankly, I don’t know what the heck that is! But it’s gonna kill players!
Re-blogged from: http://www.sechintower.com/?p=1078
I played in this game! Can’t wait to read what I missed!
Been a great day so far. Mad Science Institute with Sechin Tower, DCC RPG with Harley Stroh and in a few minutes I’ll be on my way to the Deadlands Noir Kickstarter game. And it’s only Friday!