Sunday, June 14, 2009

What I like about The Simple Game System

For today's review, I'd like to select a somewhat unusual offering... The Simple Game System by Chris Gonnerman.

This little gem started off as a thread on the Dragonsfoot forums by Solomoriah (AKA Chris). It was an idea for a very rules-light system based on several "abilities" like Strength, Charming, and Agile. The idea was that you wouldn't have a number for the score... you just had the ability, or you didn't. It later expanded into a core mechanic (roll a number of dice equal to your ability (disability=0, nothing=1, ability=2, very ability three) and compare it to your opponent's (or a challenge, like opening a door) score), a skill system, and a combat system, which completed the game.

When I downloaded this for the first time, I was amazed by the clarity yet functionality of these rules. I quickly modified some magic rules written by Luigi Castellani and sent them in. A little while later, they appeared as the first supplement for the game. Now, another supplement has been written, this time on space rules.

Here are a few things I like about this system:
  • Simplicity yet functionality- There are 4 pages of rules for the entire system, and each of the supplements covers 2 pages. This is not a rules-heavy game, yet there's a way to adjunct nearly any situation quickly and easily.
  • Rules only for what needs rules- Unlike many other RPGs, this one does not include any rules covering alignment or money transactions. This information is going to vary from campaign to campaign, so for a system as broad as this, there's really no point in recording that information.
  • Abstractness- In some games, there are detailed rules for hit location, and a character's height and weight must be known. In this one, all weapons do the same amount of damage (there isn't even hit points) and any specific factor must be decided by the GM.
  • Universality- I recently ran a TSGS game where one player was a robot- and not even a human-like one. This game can handle practically anything.
Well, that's why TSGS is one of my games of choice. I encourage you to try it - you might like it!

1 comment:

  1. I'm excited to share even more activities and ideas with you! The first edition (happy dance!) comes out Sunday morning, December 11th! Here's a sneak peek of what's inside