[Runequest] Game balance in different editions

Styopa styopa1 at gmail.com
Wed Sep 5 06:44:30 EST 2012


On Tue, Sep 4, 2012 at 10:37 AM, Gary Sturgess <gazza666 at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 4 September 2012 23:24, Styopa <styopa1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > I think it's also worth pointing out in re:simulationism (real or
> purported)
> > that real life isn't balanced whatsoever.  Any effort toward balance in a
> > system as a goal unto itself is inherently non-simulationist.
>
> Real life doesn't contain working sorcery and animism; does that mean
> that any system that does is inherently non-simulationist?
>
> I'm not being pedantic. I have never heard anyone use the phrase "real
> life" to describe "simulationism" before, and I'm honestly curious if
> that's a common definition. Normally simulationism is more a "is the
> system internally consistent?" and not "does it reflect reality?", at
> least as I've usually heard the term used.
>
>
I appreciate the clarification as your initial response did strike the
'pedant' bell for me. :)

'Simulationist' as I'm using it here, refers specifically to a person
pursuing a system in which the goal is to simulate reality as closely as
possible.  It didn't really even occur to me that it could have any other
meaning?  My meaning (and as far as I know, the only meaning) has nothing
to do with internal consistency of the rules - only really external
consistency of results to real-world results.

For example a system could be horribly internally INconsistent - it could
resolve gunshots with coinflips, magic with drawing tiles from a jar, sword
attacks in which you have to roll high on a d20, and fist attacks by
rolling low on a d6 - but if the RESULTS resolved closely to real-world
results for the various systems, it would be nevertheless a good simulation.

So for example, Hero Wars was a non-simulationist system - it rationalized
everything about combat into simple contests (Oscar Wilde's repartee vs
Angry Troll with maul).  At the other end of the spectrum (dare I date
myself) would be the Phoenix Command gunfire system that had what, perhaps
60+ hit locations on the human body, and resolved bullet damage using 30+
pages of charts of body density and vulnerability derived from actual
medical data about the density of tissue as you drilled into that precise
spot.  (I'm not kidding, it was crazy-detailed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_Command)

Thus my point - chess is balanced, and is only in the vaguest sense a
simulation.
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