Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

Recent Reading; Games in New Editions

Recent Reading

  • By the Light of the Moon, by Dean Koontz; Bantam, November 2003. Adequate as a time-waster.

Games in New Editions

Both GURPS and BESM have new editions underway.

I've read some of the discussion about the new edition of GURPS, the 4th edition, and I'm tenatively looking forward to the new edition. It sounds like they've really done some significant rework, tightening up the sprawl that the 3rd edition developed into and fixing some of the problems it had, without drastically changing the feel of the game. It's supposed to come out sometime in 2004, if things go as planned.

I have to admit that I never bothered to get either GURPS Compendium I or GURPS Compendium II; my last big GURPS campaign died away before they came out, and while I continued to buy other sourcebooks I didn't feel I needed the rules additions in the Compendiums. I like the division of the two new core rulebooks, and I like the increased size and better graphic design of the new version of the Basic Set, but those changes do have the downside of increased costs. It will be interesting to see how they turn out and what the reactions to the actual products are like. I'm not playing GURPS right now, so they're not on my “automatically buy” list, but I am interested.

I actually use BESM (2nd Edition, Revised) now for most of my crunchy gaming, since I find it makes a nice balance between simplicity (in character creation, actual play, and GMing) on the one hand and having enough detail and definition to create exactly the characters you want on the other hand. I think BESM is pratically perfect right now. However, Guardians of Order have explained some of their goals in revising BESM, and they look good to me. I will almost certainly buy the new version when it comes out.

Interestingly, much of the work on GURPS 4th edition was done by David Pulver, who is also doing much of the revision work on BESM 3rd edition, just as he did on BESM 2nd edition. It's interesting to see how the author of the incredibly complicated GURPS Vehicles also produced a much simpler mecha creation system for BESM 1st edition in Big Robots, Cool Starships and integrated that into BESM 2nd edition without losing the simplicity of the core game engine. Pulver is one of the reasons that I'm cautiously optimistic about both GURPS 4th edition and BESM 3rd edition; the quality of each companies work in general is another.

Guardians of Order have been busy in other areas too: they announced that they've signed a letter of intent to take over publishing the Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game from Phage Press and they're planning to publish Nobilis.

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