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Why is math so underrated?
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saithorthepyro
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:34 pm    Post subject: Why is math so underrated? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Reading through OSSR's, Anatomies of Failed Designs, Drunk Reviews, or even discussions of RPG's in general on this forum, I've noticed a recurring trend among games, even ones not universally despised, and it is that the math behind the game is usually screwed up in some fashion or another. Ranging from SR 5 screwing up it's system goals with limits, to numbers going beyond the entire RNG like in Ars Magica, to the entire system being crazy like with Storyteller, it looks like the entire industry cannot do math at all. Things like critting on a max roll while having the player use different sized dice, or maings 20's auto-hit meaning swarms of enemies can take down supposedly untouchable opponents. And refuse to correct it in later editions of the games or even make it worse.

Can someone give a reason for this, why the designers of games cannot seem to master or fix what looks like pretty simple to recognize and even correct math problems?
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

RPGs are a fundamentally amateurish and nepotistic industry. People aren't hired because of their skills, they're hired because they ran a pretty cool game one time that the hiring manager happened to be in. Nobody has formal training in game theory; they have a heartbreaker they wrote in middle school that they had fun with their friends with (before any of them had critical thinking abilities), so the mechanics 'work.' Also they have an irrational emotional attachment to it and will defend it with special pleading to the death against any criticism.

Right now all the big and medium players in the industry (that I'm aware of) are based on quarter-assing out some bullshit product and using huckster-level buzzword marketing to sell it and deflect dissatisfaction. Until quality demonstrates it can compete with laziness and lies for profit margins, that's unlikely to change.
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Stubbazubba
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Products in this industry stay afloat by brand recognition, and brand recognition comes from endorsements from the industry gatekeepers who already have market share. The audience is so small and so idiosyncratic that "quality," however defined, simply has very little independent effect.

IOW, bad math doesn't make much of a difference in sales because the market is so small and insular, so getting the math 'right' is not worth the investment.
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deaddmwalking
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Innumeracy is common. Rolling different sized dice is fun and when exploding d4s are better than d8s (even though they shouldn't be) it can create some dissatisfaction but it usually doesn't come up for an individual player a lot. It's only in comparing against others that it becomes apparent. System mastery is generally uncommon (and often worthless because of rule 0 and house rules) and usually is maintained by a single player.

Even then, if they know what's wrong, fixing it is crackerjack hard. Writing a complete game that works is difficult and time-consuming. It's easier to just take a game and adjust it to taste than make a new one. While game companies could [/i ] make more of an effort, it would be more effort so why bother if it doesn't make much difference to the consumer.

Even if you could make the 'perfect game' a lot of people would rather stick with what they know than learn a new system.
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hyzmarca
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It's also wroth remembering that creating a system that holds up in all cases is pretty much impossible, or absurdly complex.

I mean, you could possibly make a physics system that perfectly models real word physics, in which PC stats include things like lung volume, muscle mass, and red blood cell count, but that quickly becomes impossible to calculate at the table, even with the aid of a supercomputer.

Even the most comprehensive human-playable system you can come up with requires that all cows be frictionless spheres in a vacuum for simplicity's sake, and even this will take too long to actually play.

So you basically have to accept that there will be places where your simulation breaks down, many such places. And you will need to have a gentlemen's agreement with your customers that they won't go to those places.
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CapnTthePirateG
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

In addition to this, it's not a big enough industry to attract quality people and there are enough members of the fanbase who are more interested as identifying as D&D players rather than using critical thinking skills.
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OgreBattle
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Familiarity/Sacred cows attracts current gamers so that's a factor

Also people tend to focus on a narrow band of play and don't really bother with how the math works at the levels they don't play at (cat deaths at lvl1, lvl15 wackiness)
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:00 am    Post subject: Re: Why is math so underrated? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

saithorthepyro wrote:
Can someone give a reason for this, why the designers of games cannot seem to master or fix what looks like pretty simple to recognize and even correct math problems?


Because math doesn't sell games that are premised on story-telling. Themes and ideas are what makes an RPG sell, not the math itself.

Mathy games do exist - the emergence of the "Euro" genre should be ample evidence of how it can actually be popular - but the key thing to realize is that these "mathy" games are closer to puzzles rather than as a medium for storytelling or interaction. Indeed, Euros tend to be rather unconcerned about story or theme, and instead ask players to create systems where cubes are converted into more cubes which are then converted into points.

Moreover, such a "Focus on solving a puzzle" game mode tends to be highly incompatible with how RPGs are played, because you want the players interacting instead of staring at their sheets for 2 hours (a Euro game phenomenon now termed as "multiplayer solitaire").

Only RPGs or games focused on mystery-solving can really get away with this - as you end up having the players looking at the mystery from different angles and discussing it - but to be blunt crafting excellent mysteries is hard which is why the best game of the genre (Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective) is over 35 years old already yet is still being reprinted with its original set of 10 mysteries.

In short, you can advertise a game as being the most mathematically sound and balanced one ever made and gamers will ignore it in favor of an RPG book with a cool dragon on the cover.


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Cervantes
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

hyzmarca wrote:
It's also wroth remembering that creating a system that holds up in all cases is pretty much impossible, or absurdly complex.

I mean, you could possibly make a physics system that perfectly models real word physics, in which PC stats include things like lung volume, muscle mass, and red blood cell count, but that quickly becomes impossible to calculate at the table, even with the aid of a supercomputer.

Even the most comprehensive human-playable system you can come up with requires that all cows be frictionless spheres in a vacuum for simplicity's sake, and even this will take too long to actually play.

So you basically have to accept that there will be places where your simulation breaks down, many such places. And you will need to have a gentlemen's agreement with your customers that they won't go to those places.
This is bullshit and you're a goddamned fool. Eh. I'm going to scale back my claim to "you're misunderstanding what's going wrong".

We all know that RPG systems can never succeed in perfect "simulationism". We should even, furthermore, know that "simulationism" is never supposed to be a primary goal of RPG system design. "Simulationism" is vague so I'm going to define it as "the attempt to create a model of the actual world that takes inputs and gives us correct outputs".

If you've been paying attention you can see where this falls apart - the "actual" part. Because RPG systems aren't trying to model real world physics as their primary objective. They're trying to model narratives, and narratives just happen to include some real world physics. "Making a physics system with perfect modelling" is just physics.

So, here's the issue. RPG systems fail on mathematical terms because they produce outputs which aren't expected for the given inputs and the genre we're dealing with. We see this as a common theme in Den reviews. They fail to simulate the genre, not the world. And sometimes they fail, not because of some big picture thing (e.g. Dexterity governing both hand-eye coordination and Acrobatics) but because of the way that the math filters down (e.g. professions in D&D, percentile roll-under). The math stuff is easy to see if you just think sensibly about numbers. Hence the topic: why don't designers think sensibly about their numbers?


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kzt
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Because creative types that produce games rarely have passed a statistics course and just don't understand how to model the results that the mechanics they propose will produce? Or even why that is important.
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Cervantes
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

To answer my own question: designers don't think sensibly about numbers because most people do not think sensibly about numbers. And there isn't much pressure from the gaming community to deal with that because most people do not think sensibly about numbers and instead interact with a system based on their anecdotal evidence.

Not only that, there's even an aspect to the community which actively resists interaction with a system that isn't "experiencing a particular instantiation of the system".

So you don't even get people saying, "I want level 5 characters to be able to do task X well 50% of the time, and task Y well 95% of the time." You get it with d20 because it's insanely easy to do the math but what about some shit like the One-Roll System which is a dicepool that cares about matching your dice? That's fucking annoying to stat out. Or, jesus, the fucking oWoD thing where you fumble if you have a 1 but no successes so high dicepool characters fumble a bunch if they ever miss.
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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Not really. There's a great deal of bad design among RPG designers but many of the most successful Euro games are designed by people with actual math degrees.

The problem instead is a bit harsher: Euro Games strive to model a fair system whereas reality and narratives tend to be fundamentally unfair. A "trading to make money" game for instance will have built-in catch up mechanics to prevent a runaway leader, but IRL or in a narrative the rich often just get richer.

Moreover, there's also the issue of group perception. An RPG designer who has never hiked might think walking X miles is exhausting and requires a check, but a playgroup made up of several seasoned hikers might draw the conclusion that adventurers in this world are wimps who get tired easily. And that's for things that might have actually have real-life reference; when you start talking about magic then there's going to be a pretty good chance that the playgroup will not necessarily agree with how the designer thinks magic should work.
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Cervantes
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:
Not really. There's a great deal of bad design among RPG designers but many of the most successful Euro games are designed by people with actual math degrees.

I think you're reversing the burden. I'm arguing that RPG designers suck at math because most people do and, in response, you're citing Euro Game designers. But instead I'd see Euro Game design being mathematically elegant as something exceptional about Euro Games that's in need of explanation, not something that counts as a genuine counterexample to my claim.

Zinegata wrote:
The problem instead is a bit harsher: Euro Games strive to model a fair system whereas reality and narratives tend to be fundamentally unfair. A "trading to make money" game for instance will have built-in catch up mechanics to prevent a runaway leader, but IRL or in a narrative the rich often just get richer.

I'd disagree with "narratives are fundamentally unfair" because narratives aren't fundamentally anything. Nothing stops us from creating a system that lets us tell narratives that are "fair".

Zinegata wrote:
Moreover, there's also the issue of group perception. An RPG designer who has never hiked might think walking X miles is exhausting and requires a check, but a playgroup made up of several seasoned hikers might draw the conclusion that adventurers in this world are wimps who get tired easily. And that's for things that might have actually have real-life reference; when you start talking about magic then there's going to be a pretty good chance that the playgroup will not necessarily agree with how the designer thinks magic should work.

These are, indeed, design problems. But they're not mathematical design issues beyond the surface appearance of "there are numbers and they're wrong" - they're wrong, not because the designer didn't understand math, but because the designer didn't understand hiking.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

This conversation is all over the place.

First of all, the idea that people don't want better math is absurd. 4e D&D sold itself with the idea that "The Math Just Works" and it got the highest pre-orders of any D&D book of any edition period. People obviously wanted what they were selling. The crashing and burning of 4e had to do with the failure to live up to that promise, not that people didn't want better underlying math.

Now, as to why the math in RPGs is so fucking awful. That's a complicated problem without a single cause, so I'm going to tell a couple of stories to illustrate my positions before getting into it in much detail.

    When I was 12, the fact that failure and success rates on a d20 couldn't change by less than 5% really bothered me. It seemed like a clear failure of the simulation. I could think of countless events that had a less than 5% chance of occurring but which nonetheless could occur. And this seemed like a clear and massive math fail of D&D to me. When 1st edition Shadowrun came out and the Rule of 1 allowed for a 1:46,656 chance, I considered it a big advance in RPGs because the granularity problem had been "solved."

    In the runup to 4th edition D&D, Rob Heinsoo produced numbers that were really big. I don't know how big, but much bigger than what ended up getting published. Early draft releases showed getting your level-bonus to damage and extra [W]s multiplying static damage bonuses like 3.5 lance charges. In early interviews, Andy Collins and friends gave each other high fives for having managed to restrain "Heinsoo craziness" like "rolling 6d12 for spell damage." The game as released factually had the worst padded sumo problem of any edition of D&D ever, but some of the designers openly bragged about having shrunk damage outputs because they felt too big.


Now both Andy Collins and I were wrong. My excuse is that I was fucking twelve.

But in either case the problem was in looking at only a portion of the math and getting hung up about arbitrary details of it rather than looking at the entirety of the game. And it's going to be really hard to avoid doing that, especially when you're actually writing the game, because the entire thing doesn't even exist until all the parts are done.

A typical RPG is a two hundred thousand word novel. These days they are bigger than that. And actually very few people are able to conceptualize the whole system when advocating for any particular change. And let's be honest, during the design stages lots of ideas will be floated while there is no "whole thing" to discuss.

-Frank
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Cervantes
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
First of all, the idea that people don't want better math is absurd. 4e D&D sold itself with the idea that "The Math Just Works" and it got the highest pre-orders of any D&D book of any edition period. People obviously wanted what they were selling. The crashing and burning of 4e had to do with the failure to live up to that promise, not that people didn't want better underlying math.

Yes, I do think that people don't want better math. What sold isn't "The Math", it was the "Just Working". Because math is some mysterious force in the universe that does esoteric things and is somehow synonymous with and an aspect of the RPG system. What people want is a better system and they don't really know how the math would play into that.

You are right that it's a complicated issue and I'm certainly not going to say the entire question is answered by general innumeracy.
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saithorthepyro
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

To be clear, when I say doing the math right, I don't mean making some soulless number-driven game. Because if anything have good baseline math behind your system should not really affect the fun of your game unless you over complicate it. If anything it improves the fun by making less things for people to have long arguments for and several different interpretations. And obviously you can't fix everything, there will always be corner-cases you can't anticipate. What I mean by them refusing to do the math or not doing it correctly is well-known issues over multiple editions that refuse to be fixed like the Storyteller system, or new mechanics that can be demonstrated through simple playtesting to not work as intended like SR 5th edition's limits.
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Chamomile
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

saithorthepyro wrote:
To be clear, when I say doing the math right, I don't mean making some soulless number-driven game.


What do you think an RPG is? It's not a sapient entity that can get up and talk to you, it's a pile of equations tied to a theme. All of the actual storytelling comes from the people at the table (or a published adventure, but systems rarely sell themselves on the strength of the adventure that comes in the back of the core rules, if they even have one). We're all on the same page as you, it's just that there is no evidence that having a mathematically tight and well-balanced game that's good at genre emulation will lead to any actual increase in sales.

From looking at 5e, it appears as though the three biggest selling points D&D can have are (in no particular order) 1) sharing a name with something a semi-large demographic has fond memories of playing in middle school, 2) sharing a name that thing the celebrities played on that one podcast, and 3) being simple to run. Note that #3 does not require that the game run well, just that it require relatively little effort to make it run. Mind caulk (apparently) requires less effort than remembering lots of rules, so light games with few rules that require lots of mind caulk to function trump heavy games with lots of rules that can actually be played as-is.
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Voss
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Not sure I agree with your #3. Rules light games exist, but they're shit, and they don't seem to generate meaningful numbers of players or sales. The kings of the market are largely the same as ever, though with different names or publishers behind them.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

5e is pretty light on rules. It might not quite reach the threshold where you'd call it an actual rules-lite game like the kind that have 30 page pamphlets for core rules (for example: Its spell chapter is not two pages of half-assed rules tacked onto the Wizard class, but rather an entire chapter of half-assed rules), but it's still got a skill section that exists only in outline form, a handful of feats that players are largely expected to ignore in favor of stat boosts, and most of its classes could fit in two pages if you cut the fluff down to one paragraph (which is what games aiming for minimalism do). It's not tiny enough to sell itself as a rules-lite game, but going by the actual number of rules (even non-functional ones), it's at the very least flirting with the border. And it's worth noting that 5e beat the piss out of 4e, so something must have changed to make that happen. It might've just been pure dumb luck that D&D podcasts hit the zeitgeist at exactly that moment, but I don't think it's a coincidence that you can fit all the relevant rules of play for one character into far less space in 5e as opposed to 4e.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Sure- it isn't a coincidence. It's a consequence of 4e being a horrible fucking game and being not at all like D&D. 5e not only shares a name, but is pretty much nostalgia given corporeal form. 4e was objectively a pile of shit, whose shitty math couldn't be hidden from any but the most idiotic 4rries. 5e's math is poor to bad, but fake-able.

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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Cervantes wrote:
I think you're reversing the burden. I'm arguing that RPG designers suck at math because most people do and, in response, you're citing Euro Game designers. But instead I'd see Euro Game design being mathematically elegant as something exceptional about Euro Games that's in need of explanation, not something that counts as a genuine counterexample to my claim.


It's not reversing the burden. It's pointing out that even trained math experts find tying the math to a compelling narrative experience to be an incredibly hard thing to achieve in the first place.

In short, I'm not saying that it's bad for RPG designers to know math. I'm saying they will still have problems in their designs even if they know the math.

Quote:
I'd disagree with "narratives are fundamentally unfair" because narratives aren't fundamentally anything. Nothing stops us from creating a system that lets us tell narratives that are "fair".


On the contrary, RPGs are premised on each individual encounter being fair and "level appropriate", because otherwise your level 1 party meets a level 20 dragon on Day One and the campaign is quickly over.

By contrast in a free form narrative anything can happen. A dragon can totally attack in the first two pages of the novel and leave most of the "main characters" dead. At which point the author can reveal this was actually a story about the level 20 dragon right to begin with.

Quote:
These are, indeed, design problems. But they're not mathematical design issues beyond the surface appearance of "there are numbers and they're wrong" - they're wrong, not because the designer didn't understand math, but because the designer didn't understand hiking.


Yes, they are indeed not mathematical problems; which again points to how having the right math is not the be-all-end-all requirement to good design. Modern boardgame designers in fact would argue that having a good testing system is more important than math - because the truest validation of any game system is actual play.

Indeed, SUSD - one of the tabletop's most popular review groups - is seriously thinking of awarding their Game of the Year to a game called Fog of Love, which was designed by a behavioral psychologist and whose "test group" was his non-gamer wife. That's a game that's about as far away from having "good math" as possible.


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Zinegata
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
First of all, the idea that people don't want better math is absurd. 4e D&D sold itself with the idea that "The Math Just Works" and it got the highest pre-orders of any D&D book of any edition period. People obviously wanted what they were selling. The crashing and burning of 4e had to do with the failure to live up to that promise, not that people didn't want better underlying math.


And yet games still sell based purely on their cover art, and there is even a genre of games that specifically reject "better math" games like Euros in the form of the "Ameritrash" genre. Indeed the Ameritrash genre prides itself on theme over balance, and they're selling very well.

Math is instead merely a means to an end, and that end is having a good play experience (often with other human beings). Even Euros - which are the epitome of good math games - try to slap on a theme hence all the Generic European Trading People on their covers. Indeed, anyone who tries to put "This Game has Good Math" on the cover in the present era is almost certainly going to be laughed at; because it's taken for granted that your game's math already works or else it would be a bad play experience.

Also, I would argue that the failure of "Math Just Works" is not a clear line of cause and effect as you or much of the Den thinks it is.

For one thing I just tried Googling ""Math Just Works" D&D 4th Edition" and it didn't lead to any search results aside from a handful of forums - including the Den. It doesn't seem to be a particularly big talking point except to some entrenched 4vengers or Den people.

More importantly, while the Den correctly pointed out a couple of key math issues - like say the Padded Sumo - the problems of 4th Edition are frankly more readily apparent from simple observation of actual playgroups.

Specifically, 4E failed because its encounters were too drawn out and were not compelling. This was due to a combination of limited move sets (you keep hitting them with the same thing over and over) and high HP counts. So the players tended to get bored and wishing they could avoid combat. This is disastrous for a game where the vast majority of the content could only be used for combat; thus allowing Pathfinder to fill the void where the combat - no matter how imbalanced and looked down upon by the Den - still at least moved at a reasonable pace.

While I can certainly understand how people can be critical of RPG designers for poorly designed output, the Den's over-focus on "Good Math" has in itself become a stumbling block to good design.

Modern designers instead understand that "play" is ultimately a human experience, and that the most important feedback is actually seeing how playtest groups react while playing a game. Unfortunately, this playtest step is almost completely ignored by most RPG publishers and those who do it treat it as a publicity stunt where they get sanitized feedback rather than as a serious effort to gauge human reactions to their creation; and it's really in this aspect that RPGs have completely fallen behind its competitors and has contributed the most to its decline.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:
Also, I would argue that the failure of "Math Just Works" is not a clear line of cause and effect as you or much of the Den thinks it is.

For one thing I just tried Googling ""Math Just Works" D&D 4th Edition" and it didn't lead to any search results aside from a handful of forums - including the Den. It doesn't seem to be a particularly big talking point.


Good luck googling wotc forums. They have repeatedly nuked their forum archives.

I do recall that "It just works" meme being repeated jokingly among some gamers who were transitioning to 4e after wotc shitcanned Living Greyhawk, so we were trying out the new thing. These are people who had never heard of the gaming den, they got this meme from WotC marketing.
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angelfromanotherpin
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

As a guy who worked at a gaming store for the entirety of 4e's run, I can confirm that 'the math just works' was an official marketing phrase, parroted both by the reps running D&D encounters and the players who came to buy it.
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Cervantes
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Zinegata wrote:
It's not reversing the burden. It's pointing out that even trained math experts find tying the math to a compelling narrative experience to be an incredibly hard thing to achieve in the first place.

In short, I'm not saying that it's bad for RPG designers to know math. I'm saying they will still have problems in their designs even if they know the math.

Oh, I wouldn't disagree with anything here. Knowing the math only prevents dumbass errors like "hey, to model an extended challenge I'll force players to succeed in consecutive skill checks".

"Tying the math to a compelling narrative experience" is basically the problem of designing RPGs in the first place.

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On the contrary, RPGs are premised on each individual encounter being fair and "level appropriate", because otherwise your level 1 party meets a level 20 dragon on Day One and the campaign is quickly over.

By contrast in a free form narrative anything can happen. A dragon can totally attack in the first two pages of the novel and leave most of the "main characters" dead. At which point the author can reveal this was actually a story about the level 20 dragon right to begin with.

I'm not really understanding how you're disagreeing with me here. We do want our RPGs to be fair so we design them that way. And we're obviously not in the world of freeform narrative because we're doing collaborative narrative so we need some sort of social contract to prevent it from turning into "yelling contest" or "most socially skilled person wins".

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Yes, they are indeed not mathematical problems; which again points to how having the right math is not the be-all-end-all requirement to good design. Modern boardgame designers in fact would argue that having a good testing system is more important than math - because the truest validation of any game system is actual play.

Indeed, SUSD - one of the tabletop's most popular review groups - is seriously thinking of awarding their Game of the Year to a game called Fog of Love, which was designed by a behavioral psychologist and whose "test group" was his non-gamer wife. That's a game that's about as far away from having "good math" as possible.

Again, I don't disagree with anything here. I'm just going to insist that having the right math is a necessary condition of a good design. But it's not sufficient.

A good testing system is definitely more important because it catches broader issues than just math issues. And, as a bonus, if you test with a mathy person they can find the math errors you miss. So designers don't even need to know math, they just need to know someone who knows math and who can test their system.
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