Where have all the crunchy games gone?


  • Coder

    Everything is very rules light anymore it seems, which is fine, but I want a little more meat and potatoes in my game system than Faraday's system or FATE or (god forbid) pure consent could possibly give.

    I get that a lot of people want to tell stories, but, a crunchy system doesn't stop you from telling stories, it /helps/ you tell stories because you have the rules for whatever situation might be at hand (in theory) where as rules light systems are so much GM fiat you don't have a common ground to stand on.

    Maybe it's just a sign of the times, but we need new games with crunchy systems. We can't rely on these ancient games with all their drama and dinosaurs to really supply a fair and unbiased game for new people.

    This is why ARX and Rogue One interest me so much I think, they have a system I can learn and make what I want to make with a system that isn't pretty much playing rock paper scissors and the effect being completely derived by the GM.


  • Pitcrew

    I find WoD to be very crunchy, but you have to be careful that the staff and player STs are invested in using them. Most of the time I hear bitching that CoD/WoD is too rules and dice intensive, as well as too much differentiation (because of many powers/merits putting modifiers in play, ect). Is that what you mean by crunchy? I can't really think of any pure consent games that I'm aware of at the moment (though I don't play superheros, is that where most of the consent stuff is? It doesn't sound like it to me, but I'm not sure).


  • Coder

    Aren't there games out there using M&M3? That's crunchy. Tenebrae (D&D), crunchy. WoD, crunchy. What do you consider "crunchy", @Lithium?


  • Pitcrew

    I tend to think of WoD as a medium crunch game, about as crunchy as I would use on a mush but not crunchy for a table top system.
    Though the general trend in the industry is less crunch. Compare D+D 3.5 to D+D 5th ed for example. One of the stated goals was to make it simpler and that has definitely happened.
    My personal preferences is on the crunchier side but really I can enjoy any mechanics that are engaging. Take Feng Shui the mechanics are definitely not crunchy, but they are engaging to me. Where Traveler is almost the utmost in high crunch and I have always thought the mechanics we not engaging despite me liking the setting and loving c-gen.
    For me it also depends on the genre as well, for example I would expect a lot more crunch in a Mecha game then I would in an urban fantasy setting.
    And I implied in my first setting the medium matters a lot as well, online mechanical interactions tend to take longer then those in table top so I would seek sleeker systems online for that reason.


  • Coder

    @Thenomain Tenebrae is Pathfinder and is so nervous about optimization that they literally bitch if you have optimized stats (And god forbid an optimized sorcerer), M&M is broken (Feats break the PL scale for tanky characters and Affliction is rather badly done imho), WoD is fairly crunchy but the subject matter is so overdone. I'd love to see WoD rules used for like a sci-fi game instead of supernatural.

    Crunch is things like Hero System, Anima, Eclipse Phase, Mutant Chronicles, ShadowRun and Earthdawn.

    There are games that use crunchy systems, but, they are almost all using easily abusable systems (M&M, Pathfinder) or are suffering entropy to a massive scale (Like ATS, ChampionsMUSH, Etc)



  • I think the last crunchy game I was on was Knights of the Old Republic MUSH. The SAGA edition was good, and rolls and stuff mattered quite a bit, but I agree with @Lithium that there's definitely been a decline of what is referred to as crunchy games.

    I've kind of wondered if it has anything to do with our aging community? (Ugh, that felt so wrong typing it, but it has been ~16 years since I started MUSHing, so I feel old...) And by that, I mean that we kind of just want to RP without the crunch? Or is that just a smaller group of us?



  • @Lithium said in Where have all the crunchy games gone?:

    ShadowRun

    Also, I would love a ShadowRun 3ed game. Just saying.



  • Heard about a Shadowrun MU* from a friend a while back, haven't gotten around to trying it myself since I'm not too familiar with the system. http://www.awakenedworlds.net/


  • Coder

    @Lithium

    So your question isn't "where have all the crunchy games gone", but "I'm looking for a crunchy game to play, help me find one". It's never fun trying to give someone an honest answer to their question and their reply is, "No, not good enough."


  • Pitcrew

    Not sure if but I am wondering if crunch both preference and definition of what is crunchy varies based on how we came to MUSHing for example i came from a table top background and was introduced to mushing by other members of a college RPG club. So when the topic is crunch I compare the systems on games to those in the various table top options as a frame of reference.
    Now I can definitely see someone who came in from forum play by post or other forms of non-systemic RP thinking WoD is rules heavy because it is far out of the realm of what they are used to. Video game RPG would fall into this too because while they have complex systems besides the character building parts of it the games tend to keep things under the hood so to speak.
    This may be completely off base but I am curious to see if there would be any correlation between RP origins and preferred crunchiness.


  • Pitcrew

    I was introduced the same way TGT. I still find WoD to be rules intensive, or at least, no less so than SR, Twilight 2000, CP2020, Earthdawn (well okay, that one was a little nutty--one of my friends was a playtester/ran stuff for us, I loved it, but when I tried to figure it out on my own later, no dice, I hear in later editions it got a little better though), and GURPS.

    What I really enjoyed about MUSHing was getting to have more RP immersion than usual in tabletop MUSHing, while still getting to the rules. I found I didn't last long on do whatever you want consent places because it was nice to have both. I started MUSHing in the early mid-90s on Shadowrun Seattle, which at that time was very hardcore. I wonder if it's not MMOs that have siphoned stuff off a bit; if all you care about is PvP you can do it in a faster no drama (for the most part) than you're ever going to experience on a MU**. Though I know many people that do both. :)


  • Pitcrew

    @mietze
    Wow I have always considered GURPS one of the crunchiest systems, especially c-gen or anything with vehicles.
    I would put WoD right about the same level as Shadowrun and CP2020 though less the Twilight 2000 or any GDW product.


  • Pitcrew

    I mean GURPS has less CG restrictions and you can do some truly fantastupid things with it that every other system puts limits on (you can make a telekinetic who can in essence levitate themselves, if they take the midget flaw, ect. and no limits on things like WoD used to limit flaws/merits at CG, or SR limiting flaws too) but it's also a custom system, so most of the times I played it TT the GM would not let you do totally dumbass things with it, unless it was funny. (Like my buddy's low intelligence giant combat monster with a phobia of loud noises or the aformentioned flying little person who also had a delusion that he was a fairy and that's why he could fly. Sorry people, me and my friends were stupid as anyone else when we were 17-21).


  • Politics

    @mietze said in Where have all the crunchy games gone?:

    I was introduced the same way TGT. I still find WoD to be rules intensive, or at least, no less so than SR, Twilight 2000, CP2020, Earthdawn (well okay, that one was a little nutty--one of my friends was a playtester/ran stuff for us, I loved it, but when I tried to figure it out on my own later, no dice, I hear in later editions it got a little better though), and GURPS.

    What I really enjoyed about MUSHing was getting to have more RP immersion than usual in tabletop MUSHing, while still getting to the rules. I found I didn't last long on do whatever you want consent places because it was nice to have both. I started MUSHing in the early mid-90s on Shadowrun Seattle, which at that time was very hardcore. I wonder if it's not MMOs that have siphoned stuff off a bit; if all you care about is PvP you can do it in a faster no drama (for the most part) than you're ever going to experience on a MU**. Though I know many people that do both. :)

    MU did lose a lot of people to MMOs. And even those it didn't lose completely, it still lost in some capacity because both MMOs and MUing are hella time intensive.


  • Coder

    @Thenomain said in Where have all the crunchy games gone?:

    @Lithium

    So your question isn't "where have all the crunchy games gone", but "I'm looking for a crunchy game to play, help me find one". It's never fun trying to give someone an honest answer to their question and their reply is, "No, not good enough."

    Read the rest of the post. It's more than just crunchy. I also mentioned how aging games are a problem, and a broken system is a broken system.

    It's never fun when someone doesn't read the whole post or just picks and chooses what they respond to.


  • Pitcrew

    I'm perhaps an odd duck in that my first handful of years MU*ing were on wholly consent games. No rules system at all. Then I spent a while on rules-heavy games. Now I like something somewhere in the middle. It's why I'm a fan of FS3. I like a system that supplements my play, rather than dictates it.


  • Coder

    Alright, sure, let's play it your way.

    @Lithium said in Where have all the crunchy games gone?:

    Maybe it's just a sign of the times, but we need new games with crunchy systems. We can't rely on these ancient games with all their drama and dinosaurs to really supply a fair and unbiased game for new people.

    This is downright naive, connecting "new" to "fair". You might as well try to connect "crunchy" to "fair". I doubt even a Mud defaults to "unbiased", as it all depends upon how it's run.

    Hell, how old is a game before it's no longer "new", until it has "dinosaurs"? (Subjective answer: six months to a year, or until its first war plot. Exception: games about war.)

    So yeah, even analyzing it closer, there's a lot going wrong with this criteria.

    ... There, played your game. Enjoy.


  • Coder

    I'm curious what about Shadowrun makes it "Crunchy"? It never really struck me that way, but perhaps it was just a playstyle thing with our gaming group or being overly invested in the fiction (which often contradicted the game rules).


  • Pitcrew

    I dunno, @faraday . I guess the ability to min/max, and roll for combat and non-combat stuff? I don't understand why WoD is not perceived as crunchy as anything else, in that regard. Or what dinosaurs have anything to do with crunchiness. After continuing to read I'm thinking it's less about systems and more about "I want the chance to have high risk of dying/killing someone" which definitely was very much the case on SR Seattle when I played there, as well as early non-Changeling WoD games I played on. But in any game you're going to have numbers dinos unless there's no advancement allowed or new PCs automatically get large XP to match the average on the mush in CG. I'm fine with that, but I don't think it will solve the problem that most people who hate "dinos" really hate--which is more something of access/importance. Because for better or worse, that tends to be less invested in numbers and more in the players (social currency). It can be frustrating, but I don't know how you solve it, unless you only allow a player to play on a game for so long before they're banned. Even if two people have the same exact XP and access to +sheetstuff, the person who has more social currency is going to have greater access to stuff, more people willing to help them out, more people willing to group up with them, ect. I see a lot of times in discussions like these what's wanted is equal access/parity, and I don't know if that is possible. It's unfortunate, IMO. I as a player try to actively meet and welcome new folks, and not just stick to people I know, give people I don't know a chance in leadership positions and plot hooks, ect. I don't know the percentage of people willing to do that though, and unless it's high then that elusive feeling of "more than just the oldbies get to affect things" won't happen I don't think.


  • Coder

    @mietze said in Where have all the crunchy games gone?:

    I dunno, @faraday . I guess the ability to min/max, and roll for combat and non-combat stuff? I don't understand why WoD is not perceived as crunchy as anything else, in that regard.

    Yeah, can't you kinda do that in any game? I mean, I guess all the cyberware stats and stuff make it a little bit of a statistician's paradise, if that's the criteria. I suppose I was just wondering what defines crunchy? The dice system? The number of rules for specific situations?

    But to the actual topic at hand... I think there are a number of factors:

    • The trends in the RPG industry (where simpler, story-focused games like FATE have come to the fore).
    • The rise of MMOs (drawing away some of the more crunchy-inclined players).
    • The lack of coders (making a system like FS3 more likely for someone to grab and run with compared to trying to code a complex system like Rogue One).
    • The consent-oriented history that MUSHes are steeped in.
    • The competition with MUDs/RPIs for those who prefer more crunchy RP.

    Dunno, seems kinda natural that the MUSH community would shift towards the softer side.



  • I'd love a D&D game, though Tenebrae has been fun since I rolled up a monk. They've been pretty helpful helping me build my PC to where she is useful.

    I mean, stats and sheets are alright but I think after running sheets of numbers through R and stuff, I'm totally down for softer stuff.


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