[Game Design]

Are Games Broken?

If the title seems a little inflammatory, I'm sorry this was something I was pondering this morning. Over at Zach's RPG Blog II, I made a comment on how all games were broken. Something that one commenter claimed was defeatism. I made a reply that I was just realist. Of course this did get me thinking, was I being truthful? Are all games broken?

I guess my thought process on this goes a little like this. What are game rules for anyway? In my mind they simply try to provide a mechanics to handle if and how things happen. I know that might be simplistic view, but I'd rather not get into if a game is simulation or not. My other thought is can a set of rules be so good that they are good for everything? Sort of lean towards the the "No" column on that. After all there are tons of so call universal systems out there; GURPS, Hero System, and even Savage Worlds. Are they perfect for everything? I don't think most gamers would say so. Each universal system usually has some weakness. I dare would think that some would call those weaknesses being broken in some regard.

Another thing about rules is that when someone makes a rule, they will not know how that rule might be used. Let's take something like Pathfinder which has feats. Feats usually break or modify a rule that's in play but only for those people that have that feat. Now, the person that wrote the feat doesn't really know how those feats will interact with all the other feats out there. In fact, I think someone would or could drive themselves to drink if they tried. The feat creator would do due diligence and check it against "core rule" feats but likely not much else. Still how many times have I seen players have a set of feats that together make a certain effect that seems overpowering or overarching. Would could argue that one or more of the feats are broken or the feat system itself is broken.

I guess what I'm saying is that no set of game rule are perfect in my opinion. If they are not perfect, couldn't one say that they are broken? Is admitting that being defeatism? I like to think not. Does admitting that ruin a game? I don't think so, it just means you accept that a game has limitations.

Now the above is clearly my opinion. I'm wondering what you the gentle reader is thinking?

One final thought has occurred to me, maybe I'm using the wrong word. Is there word besides broken that I should be using?

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