Thursday, July 29, 2010

Game Breakers

One of the guys that hangs out at my FLGS is pretty well known for finding ways to legally "break" any game he is playing.

A recent case in point involved the following: During a planned, published adventure, buying an ox from the supply table, killing/sacrificing it, and then re-animating it so as to have a Zombie Ox for use in combat. (And rendered the fighter of the party useless in the works.)

His alignment and diety situations were such that this was all totally legal and in no way affected his moral standing nor his ability to gain XP for the adventure.

He liked the idea so much that he did it again in another adventure in the same system (because you don't keep equipment from session to session in the organized play league).

He also formerly ran a droid in one of the Star Wars games where he bought skill chips for any possible scenario, and left all the other PCs twiddling their thumbs.

Sometimes this type of behavior is funny- and the group loves it. Other times it is truly annoying and makes playing NO FUN. Most of the time, it's the response of the GM that bothers me.

The mentality of "well, it's legal so I must allow it" really aggravates me. I like games where GMs and players work together to make things fun, and I don't mind an occasional "here's why I think this might be appropriate" kind of good natured arguement. But when it comes to rules, whether something is allowed, or making the game a sham of what it should be, I'm firmly in the "I'm the GM and I say NO" camp.

Some folks are not good at saying no to other people. Others are so intent on "let's have a good time" that refusing something that is legal (but potentially game breaking) is out of their mindset.

I played with a guy recently who was unintentionally coming close to breaking the game we were in. He kept trying to use OOC knowledge in character and kept justifying it off through very shaky reasoning. The GM in question called him on it several times in very subtle (but effective) ways. The player continued in some of this behavior by asking questions that he really should not have been asking to another player in the game. The other player was doing a pretty good job of avoiding the questions, but my character found the whole thing creepy and told off the offending character.

I knew this player would be a little problematic. He's young and just learning the social aspects of gaming, and still hasn't outgrown the "look what I can do" mentality. He really has not had a lot of opportunity to roleplay (most of his experience has been in miniatures) and so many of the lines between personal knowledge and character knowledge have yet to be drawn. Despite all this, he's a good and willing kid, and I don't mind helping him learn - other people helped me learn when I was in his position.

The difference between these examples, I think, is intent. The first guy INTENDS to to find ways to break the system- and in many cases, takes pleasure in it. The second guy doesn't know better.

There's also a difference in response- the first guy has gotten away with quite a bit because of GMs who don't want to say no, or feel they can't. The second guy has a GM who is not afraid to tell him "stop doing that; it's annoying".

I actively look for GMs that will say no, and avoid the known game breakers as often as possible.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Uh-oh It's; Every Little Thing She Does; A Kind of;

Yes, I got sucked back into the world of Magic: the Gathering.

I don't play seriously or competitively. I play with a couple people I like and enjoy, and I play to pass time or have a fun evening. I actually kind of like putting decks together (even though I am truly bad at it) and I don't mind learning new ways to be defeated. (It happens a LOT.)

One of the guys I enjoy playing against most is a guy that a lot of people have a hard time dealing with. He's high functioning autistic and his 'special area of focused interest' is mathmatics. He understands the combinations, stacks, interworkings and otherwise fairly intricate nature of the "high end" of the game excessively well. His decks are usually well built around a single premise or card and he KILLS with them.

He's also completely fair and very patient. He never gives me difficulty for not knowing or understanding some of the more complicated rules or card combinations. He's a good opponent for me to learn from, because he explains EVERYTHING. I often learn more about a single card or combination through him than just by reading them or asking questions.

Another guy I play agains whenever I can is our local MtG Guru. He's forgotten more about Magic than I'll ever know- card names, colors, casting cost, effect, best ways to use them, etc. He's also one of the nicest, coolest guys ever. He loves the game and wants everyone else to like it too. He doesn't do jerk plays or in your face stuff. He saves competitive play for competitions; and even then he's a good-natured guy.

I have a small collection of cards, and I'm slowly learning how to use them. I'm having fun and enjoying myself.

"I can quit any time I want, Honest!"