Regras ruins

Em seu post mais recente no blog da WotC, Mike Mearls falou pouco da 4ª edição, mas por outro lado levantou questões muito interessantes de game design, como por exemplo como as regras ruins geralmente surgem, e o que ele considera como um sistema de regras elegante:

The days are really starting to blur by, as each week brings a new micro-deadline. We’re doing a development pass on the Player’s Handbook for the next month or so, cleaning up bits that didn’t work in the last playtest and making sure everything fits together. It’s a little daunting.

The best comment I think we can get over a change is something like, “But that’s how I’ve always been doing it.” That’s a good sign that we’re on the right track. I think people have a natural tendency to use games in the most fun and interesting way possible. Games that push back, that drive the player away from fun or interesting possibilties, either get a dose of house rules or end up gathering dust in the back of the ole game closet.

There’s nothing more frustrating than reading a game that is so close to being fun, but in the end shoots itself in the foot with a bad rule or some other misstep. We’ve been developing feats this week, and there’s a lot of that going on. Few people like the Dodge feat in 3e, and it’s development’s goal to avoid creating feats that fall into the category in 4e.

No one ever sets out to design bad rules. Most of the time, mistakes happen for a few different reasons:

1. The designers fail to see the full impact of the rules they’ve made. A rule in isolation might look fine, but combine it with other aspects of the game and it falls apart [grifo meu]. It sounds fine that a PC who tries to stand up provokes, but it falls apart when you add in Improved Trip and spiked chains. D&D falls victim to this all the time.

2. Fun loses out to some other concern. This one is hard to design, but it’s pretty common in all sorts of games. For instance, I hate games where it’s common for one player to lose a turn. It’s a clumsy, un-fun penalty. At least with a negative modifier or restriction the player still gets to do something.

The trickiest factor here is challenge vs. fun. The best games make losing fun. The last time I played Car Wars, my vehicle was the first one shredded, but I didn’t mind because it gave me an excuse to floor it and ram one of the other cars head on.

3. Consistency trumps common sense. People like to throw around the word elegant to describe rules, but elegance doesn’t necessarily equate with good or fun rules. Is chess inelegant because all the pieces move different ways? Too often, we equate elegance with consistency. To me, elegance is using the minimum amount of effort to achieve the maximum amount of fun.

A razão número 1 é a rainha de grande parte dos problemas mecânicos do Dungeons & Dragons atualmente. Com zilhares de livros e suas classes de prestígio, talentos e classes básicas, era só uma questão de tempo até que coisas como o Pun-Pun surgissem – afinal é totalmente irreal esperar que algum escritor tenha conhecimento de todas as opções mecânicas que o jogo tem atualmente. Mas como o próprio Mearls colocou, às vezes dentro de apenas um livro isso pode acontecer, como no caso do Improved Trip (nunca me lembro se a tradução é imobilizar aprimorado ou agarrar aprimorado, duh!) dentro do Player’s Handbook em conjunto com a regra para se levantar e as armas de haste. Por outro lado essa é uma armadilha difícil de se contornar e exige um trabalho não só muito mais atento dos escritores como infinitas horas de playtest.


Um post simples e com ótimas questões, até já salvei nos meus favoritos e vou tentar me lembrar de ler sempre que sentar para escrever alguma mecânica. Mike Mearls é o cara!

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