18 January 2016

System Mastery: City of Violence

MC Hammer was wrong, you can touch it.
I want to give a shout out to a podcast I recently found due to a mention in a listener letter on Happy Jacks' RPG podcast. I decided to check it out and found that System Mastery is a great listen.

The hosts are Jeff and Jon, and every couple of weeks they read an old RPG and critique it. By critique I mean make fun of it mercilessly. They are not just cracking jokes though (and making some off-color humor... well.. lots of it at times so kids, be good and don't let your parents know you listen), they are making a lot of salient points about these games and about game design in general. They have a list of do's and don't's about game design that is on point, and emphasize a game being fun. For example, many of the games have a low chance of success for rolls due to the mechanic, causing the character to fail more than succeed and that is not fun for players.

They also cover the fluff of the game, and some are basically unplayable, like C°ntinuum, or insane like Immortal or Haven: (long pregnant pause) City of Violence. I also find it funny how some designers seem to hate the work they are doing (Furry Pirates which is not really that furry and surprisingly bad for a company like Atlas Games), or even the author talking about how much he hates RPGs (Fantasy Wargaming: The Highest Level of All). Although, to be fair, they have found some they would play like Gamma World (4th Edition D&D version) which, by accident, they actually like.

They also do episodes between reviews and talk about topics of interest, and have a movie review podcast as well. They don't do actual play, thankfully. Not a fan of that myself. I want to play and have fun, not watch others do it like I am some kind of peeping tom.

As for the guys, I know nothing about them: how old they are, education, nothing except that they are from SoCal. From what I gather though they are pretty well read. They drop surprising tidbits on media, science, gaming, and more. Also, it is from many eras, not just recent stuff. It is nice to hear some literate comments mixed in among the poop jokes.

Now guys, take on Traveller 5. There is plenty wrong with that one.

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