Game Designers... Give Up! You've been outdone

edited March 2009 in Story Games
Here's a game that does MORE THAN JUST ONE OR TWO OF THE THINGS IT PROMISES TO DO! (According to the description on the website.)

And, amazingly, most of it is available for free. Most. Like, they hold back a few pages here and there, I think.

I was sold when I saw the advertising:

"It would take a typical gamer weeks to fumble through the rules and attempt to play."


Check it out, yo:

Web Archive Link (original page down)

Who's brave enough to play?
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Comments

  • That's an off-putting writeup for sure, and rich with irony. But to look for the good, ignoring the fact that they are probably wrong, it's cool that they are very specific about their target audience.
  • It took me a while to figure out that it wasn't a joke!
  • Hi!
    This site makes me question everything.
    I have always prided myself on not being a dirty-hippy gamer. But, every time he wrote "master gamer," it made my skin crawl. I don't think there are levels of mastery in RPG gaming. Is that wrong? Does that mean I am a dirty hippy in denial?
    Oh god, wait til my parents find out...
    Dave M
  • Posted By: DInDenverDoes that mean I am a dirty hippy in denial?
    Indeed.
  • edited March 2009
    Metascape, emphasis mine As mentioned above, this game was designed by master role players for themselves. And by master role players, I mean: role players who have ran the final round of the Open in England, were nominated for best adventure design of the year, have published RPG products on the market, have worked for the largest RPG company in the world, have ran events at the largest CONs, have previously owned their own game company, and invented and hold a joint patent on the 16-sided die, etc. . .
    Apparently I'm a master role player... unless you're supposed to have done all of these things, rather than one or more. After all, Metascape does all it claims, not just one or two...
  • edited March 2009
    Posted By: Josh RobyApparently I'm a master role player... unless you're supposed to have done all of these things, rather than one or more. After all, Metascape does all it claims, not just one or two...
    And since only they claim to have invented and patented the d16, only they can ever get to be master role players...
  • Deviously clever!
  • Phew, good thing I'm not qualified to buy that thing, I have enough to worry about with my novice roleplaying games.
  • Posted By: Paul T.Who's brave enough to play?
    Not it!
  • Posted By: Josh Robyunless you're supposed to have done all of these things, rather than one or more.
    The list ends with an "and" which means that, yes, you're supposed to have done them all. Of course, as I read over this web page, I realize that the author seems not particularly skilled with English, so it's possible it was a mistake.
  • The game is free but every player needs a custom 16 sided die that they sell for 5 bucks each... Fascinating.
  • With respects to the idea of "master role players," the interview with Monte Cook done by The Walking Eye podcast that was posted on this board the other day includes a bit where Monte talks about how the design of D&D 3e explicitly incorporated the idea of master players. As is by now well known, D&D 3e rewards a player who takes the time to gain a deep knowledge of the options presented in the leveling/feats system. The right mix of race, classes and feats rewards a player who masters the system with extra effectiveness in combat, etc.

    You may or may not like this aspect of D&D, but it's still an acceptable design goal.

    Also, I remember reading a psychology-of-play study that showed how play among young boys often naturally incorporates themes of mastery and dominance. Even when boys are asked to play cooperatively, they will watch each other for signs of confusion or poor strategy, and show their partner how to play "correctly," giving proof of their own mastery of the system. If you're selling a game to males, building an reward for mastery into your system isn't such a bad idea.

    Not that I'm saying MetaScape II is any good. Ye gods, no.
  • Posted By: Ben Johnson
    Also, I remember reading a psychology-of-play study that showed how play among young boys often naturally incorporates themes of mastery and dominance. Even when boys are asked to play cooperatively, they will watch each other for signs of confusion or poor strategy, and show their partner how to play "correctly," giving proof of their own mastery of the system. If you're selling a game to males, building an reward for mastery into your system isn't such a bad idea.
    And, ironically enough, the MetaScape guys keep telling us that this is not a game for the mainstream, non-smart, non-mature people... One can only wonder.
  • edited March 2009
    Ah, I remember this writeup! I went and found the RPG.net thread on the topic from a while back:
    http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=354033
    Posted By: fnord3125The game is free but every player needs a custom 16 sided die that they sell for 5 bucks each... Fascinating.
    Not only that, they claim to hold a patent on it.

    Edit: Ooh, found this: Ultimate Power Roleplaying SuperSystem. That... can't be real?
  • It almost seems to me that this is some sort of slightly-less-ridiculous version of FATAL. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. :S
  • Oh, my god.
    MetascapeRoll results range from 1 to infinity, though the largest recorded was several million
    That line was funny, but this line...
    Metascapethe diceless Die system
    Cracked my shit up!
  • edited March 2009
    MetascapeMetaScape is kind of like a group of professional downhill skiers making the
    ultimate run for themselves then saying "Here try our triple black diamond slope of
    death" to the other skiers - hehe.
    I think their ingenious reverse psychology worked on me. I skimmed the whole description and I think they're just goading me to play. I feel like I don't have much choice in the matter. I thought they were crazy at first, but now I'm thinking they've found a masterful way to market the shitty game we all made when we were 13.

    Did you catch that the game uses a proprietary d16? Every player needs one as does the GM, $4 a piece from their site. Incredible!
  • I was amused by the line that said the game has been played by 8 friends, as well as about a dozen "typical" gamers, when throughout the whole thing before that point the writer had been continually saying that "typical" gamers shouldn't even attempt to play it.
  • I wonder how many of those dice they had to have made.
  • Posted By: Matt WilsonI wonder how many of those dice they had to have made.
    Not, umm... very many?
  • edited March 2009
    See also the "Can this sort of posturing be taken seriously?" thread about the same game/site, which in turn inspired the "Master Role Players" thread.
  • I'll beat the system: Roll 5d4-4!

    Bet they didn't count on an Elite Gamer (one rank beyond Master) coming along and breaking their revenue model!
  • Alright, say what you want about the game, but this shit is Hard Core Indie, with a capital "Fuck you, it's free, and it will overpower you".

    So like one could say something like, "I'm glad the character sheet has room for 12 weapon slots. Because most games I play pussy out and only have like 3-5. Which doesn't let me bring my character 'Saberblade McGunDuffle' into its system." Sure. That's some low hanging fruit.

    But, I challenge you to find the good stuff in the game. Frex, I honestly do like the concept of the set GM Rewards to the players (the Cards Ver 2.0.2 file).
  • Oh Dear God.. I thought this monstrosity was Dead, Gone, and Buried so deep it would never see the light of day again.

    For a while, I thought that this was another RPG that was suffering from a case of testostrone poisoning. Then I recognized it. Metascape 1 came out in 1993. The company that made it must have had more money than sense, because they had taken out an ad in an issue of Dragon Magazine that they had out on not one, but several pages. The whole thing just totally turned me off.
  • Posted By: Dave YounceSee also the "Can this sort of posturing be taken seriously?" thread about the same game/site, which in turn inspired the "Master Role Players" thread.
    Thanks. I'd even posted in that Master Role Players thread and had forgotten about it.
  • Posted By: Jarvis
    Did you catch that the game uses a proprietary d16? Every player needs one as does the GM, $4 a piece from their site. Incredible!
    Have no fear, there's a table on the back of the second page of the character sheet that shows how to do this with a D20.

    Which doesn't nullify the oxymoron of a 4-page character sheet. If I can ever get the time to read the rules and get them down I will DEFINITELY play this game IN A HEARTBEAT. And then, if I have fun, I'll play it agin. Anyone for a Metascape part at Gen Con this year?
  • Posted By: mentalwinds.com To successfully grasp this system and wield its power, you need to be mature and intelligent. Seriously, if you're not at least in upper high school or college with above average intelligence and maturity level, this system is NOT for you.
    (emphasis mine)
  • Personally, I'm a huge fan of 4-page character sheets - they print nicely on ledger paper and once folded they also hold any campaign or game notes you have.
  • Posted By: fnord3125The game is free but every player needs a custom 16 sided die that they sell for 5 bucks each... Fascinating.
    Um, could you use a d10 and a d6 together with the magical power of addition? (I tried it. Just now. It works).
  • Your d10+d6 (and the earlier 5d4-4) are inferior creatures made of fail and bell curves! d10+d6 can't even roll a 1!

    Bow before the Master Gamers!
  • Pfft. All I have to do is work out the percentages and roll d10000 and it'll be plenty accurate.
  • edited March 2009

    No, it doesn't. The probability curve is different, as is 5d4-4.

    Here's what I'd do: use a d20. If a result comes up 17+, punish the roller.

    I've actually got a d16, as well as a d24. We "should" play this at Camp Nerdly!

    I'm really charmed by the indieness of it, as well, though I'm "charmed" at least as much by the use of the wrong tense throughout the copy. "Has ran" is not something we say in English.

    (Cross-posted back a few)

  • edited March 2009
    1d8+(8*(1d2-1)) FTW. (Easy way to do this: roll a d8 and flip a coin. Add 8 on heads.)

    Edit to give credit where credit is due: Earthdawn. That is all.
  • Posted By: AndyAlright, say what you want about the game, but this shit is Hard Core Indie, with a capital "Fuck you, it's free, and it will overpower you".
    The game is "F*ck you, you don't deserve to play our game," not "F*ck you, corporate roleplaying games."
  • Posted By: Joshua A.C. Newman. "Has ran" is not something we say in English.
    Does anyone have any good kurosawa films? I was talking to Joshua about it but he only has ran - I was hoping for yojimbo. Anyone?

    OOOOH I BET THAT BURNS!
  • edited March 2009
    I wanna use those dice for a Fist of the North Star rpg, where damage keeps doubling into the stratosphere.

    Can't... CONTAIN...
  • edited March 2009
    You guys talking about their d16 need to take note that the damn thing isn't numbered 1-16. It is, in fact, marked "c, t, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 4, 4, 8, 16"
    So, yeah. Tell me how to do THAT with other dice! (well, apparently, they say how to do it in the rules, which i'm not willing to look through. that's cool. also, now that i look at it again, i note that it actually says every player and the GM should have one "to more easily" play the game. Not that they're actually required.)

    Also, Andy, yes: it's hardcore indie. Sure. I guess. I mean... part of me wonders, given that a good chunk of the blather about what it means to be a "master" is centered on whether you've designed an award winning module or worked for one of the, oh wait, sorry THE biggest RPG company in the world. but... even so... ugh. i just... i just can't take it seriously. because it takes itself SOOO seriously, and yet the website has absolutely atrocious editing. I mean, I really don't think anyone has ever looked over the thing for basic readability and typos. My favorite one is right at the beginning after the "warning" that it's for "master RPGers" and the author then says "At least we can now present the rules with a clear conscious." A. Clear. Conscious.
    I believe that there is good stuff in it. I really do. I mean, assuming it's true that 20 or so people have been playing it for 15 years, I really hope it's a great game. But I'm also pretty darn sure it's not the game for me, and if the text they've written specifically to sell people on it hasn't sold me, I'm not going to look at a 600 page document to be sure I'm not wrong.
  • "Hundreds, no thousands of rules tweaks have occurred and continue to occur."

    I think I'll avoid a game currently undergoing thousands of rules tweaks. Besides no one can beat D02. It know no limit!
  • Posted By: C. EdwardsBesides no one can beat D02. It know no limit!
    QFT.
  • Posted By: AndyAlright, say what you want about the game, but this shit is Hard Core Indie, with a capital "Fuck you, it's free, and it will overpower you"

    But, I challenge you to find the good stuff in the game.
    Andy, you and I need to do a podcast game review show. You can be the happy-go-lucky-find-the-gem-in-anything one and I'll be the hard-mean-cynical-no-sense-of-humor one.

    Seriously, you are WAY too forgiving.

    Jesse
  • Posted By: fnord3125You guys talking about their d16 need to take note that the damn thing isn't numbered 1-16.
    *sigh* I was afraid of that.

    Hey! I just thought of something: if it was supposed to be 1-16, you could use a graphing calculator with a random number generator on it to "roll." Hell, you guys are pretty sharp: you could probably figure out how to do the whackadoodle custom d16 thing on a graphing calculator too if you worked at it.

    Not me though. I thought my d10 + d6 would work, so that shows what I know, hehe!
  • edited March 2009
    I downloaded the free PDFs.

    I didn't know it was possible to layout the SEQUEL edition of your game worse than the first one, but they pulled it off.

    Awesome.

    Looks like something you'd find on a senior center bulletin board (Ice Cream Social on Tuesday. Dentures optional.)

    Here's some sample text from the free cards (yes, GMs get cards to play)

    What a NISH?

    GM Award
    Award:
    Next Round, you get to tie the best Nish rolled by
    the players.

    GM Award
    Award:
    You regain 1 luck box now. If you have all, then
    your first luck roll is free.

    GM Award
    Award:
    Your next Atk hits.

    GM Award
    Award:
    Your next Defense is at +100 to the roll.
  • edited March 2009
    I haven't read the PDF, but just on its own I don't think that GM cards are a bad idea. Hell, done correctly I think it could be great.
  • Posted By: whiteknifeI haven't read the PDF, but just on its own I don't think that GM cards are a bad idea. Hell, done correctly I think it could be great.
    these clearly are not, and could easily just be a d16 chart that you roll on

    :)
  • "Hey! I just thought of something: if it was supposed to be 1-16, you could use a graphing calculator with a random number generator on it to "roll." Hell, you guys are pretty sharp: you could probably figure out how to do the whackadoodle custom d16 thing on a graphing calculator too if you worked at it. "

    WE used to do this in high school. I'm sure a lot of people here have tried it as well. Actually, we even wrote a game where you had to use your calculator as random number generator. We thought that this thing with discreet numbers gives far too little resolution, so we just used the calculator to make a number between 0 and 1 with a ridiculous amount of digits.

    Oh, it was such a great game. (No, not at all.)
  • I want a copy of this game so I can put it on the shelf between Synnibar and BattleLords of the 23rd Century and watch them do unspeakable things to each other.
  • d16... or roll 1d4 and 1d8. If the d4 is a 1 or 2 then read the d8 as normal. If the d4 is 3 or 4, then add 8 to the d8 result. There. Now I don't need their $4 16 sided die.

    :-)
  • Posted By: GaerikNow I don't need their $4 16 sided die.
    see my first paragraph here.
  • Those d8 adjusted by a d2 (coin flip) solutions have a different curve, just like my 5d4-4 did. Oh, well. guess I can't play it, then. :'(
  • edited March 2009
    Posted By: David ArtmanThose d8 adjusted by a d2 (coin flip) solutions have a different curve, just like my 5d4-4 did. Oh, well. guess I can't play it, then. :'(
    Actually d8 + 8*(d2-1) has exactly the same curve (that is, a straight line) as a d16.

    Edit: That is, the same curve as a normal d16 labeled 1-16. Their d16 is some crazy layout, which is probably impossible/impractical to emulate with another set of dice.
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