Friday, March 13, 2020

Discussion: How Much Crunch Do You Like? How Much Crunch Do You Need?

When it comes to crunch in their RPGs people have all sorts of different preferences. There are diceless games where everything is decided by GM Arbitration based on stats like Amber. There are games like GURPS that seem to have a rule for everything, and combat is broken down into 1 second increments. Then there are the middle ground games with more narrative games like FATE and Powered by the Apocalypse on one side, and more crunchy games like Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder on the other.

The question I have is how much crunch do you like to have in games? And how much do you need?

I'm not sure I need any crunch beyond some way to represent a character that is not me. Ideally I'd like numbers or stats somewhere to make a case for character ability beyond just how well I can argue or present a point - something to make it a game - but beyond that I'm good.

However, when it comes to my group of players I find that games go better if we are around the Roll and Keep L5R, or the D&D 5e range for crunch in mechanics. The guidance and direction those mechanics give help our old school selves stay grounded in what we're trying to do.

Overall I think I'd rather a game have more crunch that I can waive away if needed than less crunch and leave me wondering just how the heck I am supposed to resolve a conflict that doesn't feel arbitrary or forced. However, I've definitely seen cases of too much crunch.

I also prefer that crunch to be more present in character creation than actual play. A solid character creator can smooth out a lot of confusion from crunch in building, but I don't want to need a graphing calculator and an accounting degree to figure out how many attacks a character can do even if I am in a high level game.

How about you?

1 comment:

  1. I like a mid ground, I lean towards the narrative side of the midground in play, but the mechanical side of the midground in terms of systems I like to use most. For me that comes down to the "comfort" of knowing there can be a clear rule to fall back on if I get stumped, or am uninspired. I think some of that comes from having started off in hyper mechanical systems (RIFTS, GURPS, Shadowrun 1e).