Category Archives: Tired and Cranky

Tired and Cranky: Jervis Deserves Better

I’ve been meaning for a while now to write a little post sticking up for Jervis Johnson.  I am a big fan of generally treating other people with respect (something that more often than not finds me at odds with internet culture), and I’m pretty much totally disgusted with the online vitriol that is directed towards games designers, in particular Jervis and some of the other GW people.

In my opinion the sorts of things people say about him are not the sorts of things any decent person should say about another human being.  And that’s the problem – the internet can make certain people (by which I mean idiots) forget that game designers are people: actual human beings like you and me with feelings and families, who do what they do for reasons that they probably sincerely think are good ones.  No-one should have to suffer death-threats, curses and spite from cretinous moral infants because they tried to make a game for people to share and enjoy.

Well, Lexington over at GAME OVER has written a post sticking up for the Dark Angels codex, and more particularly has said some nice stuff about Jervis.  I’d just like to draw everyone’s attention to it if you haven’t seen it already.  The only thing I’d like to add is that Jervis is clearly not a brainless chimp throwing rules at the wall like so much monkey shit.  Read his Standard Bearer articles and you’ll see he has a clear vision honed over three decades of game design.  If you can’t see that, or you don’t like his vision, then don’t play his games.  He’s not a bad designer, he’s a good designer designing games that you don’t happen to like.  Have some fucking human empathy.

Anyone who’s been in an industry as volatile as game design for as long as he has deserves respect.  No matter what you think about his games, thinking about games is his job.  If it’s not yours (and for most of us it isn’t) then shut the fuck up.  Talk about him with respect if you’re going to talk about him at all.

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Tired and Cranky: Just Let D&D Die

. . . Also Stop Talking Gibberish and Ease Up on the Spy Lingo

So I’ve only had a few hours sleep and too much coffee and I’m in a bad mood.  I normally wouldn’t post something like this after writing it, but I thought you know what?  I’m going to be tired and cranky a fair bit over the next year, so why not make a regular series out of it?  This is how I feel and this my blog so . . . enjoy.  Everyone loves a good rant.  Let the badly-thought-out tirade commence!

The first thing that pissed me off today was Wizards of the Coast announcing another new Dungeons and Dragons.  They have this grand plan to involve the entire community, basically “tell us what you want the game to be like.”  On the face of it a pretty good approach, but I think it works better for rules tightening, not making a totally new game.  This just sounds like the biggest games company in the room realizing they killed D&D, and basically asking their players to tell them what they want so they can sell it to them.  Doesn’t inspire confidence in me, and to be honest it makes me imagine a hideous Frankenstein’s monster of a game made up of all the most memorable and beloved parts of the previous four editions sewn together.

Democracy is a fine thing, but it’s not the best suited form of organization for every purpose.  If armies were democratic they wouldn’t last long in war.  Likewise, democracy I think is the worst way to organize the production of a creative work.  This is because creators and consumers are unequal:  The consumers want the creators to give them something they don’t expect, and the creators need freedom to do that.

So . . . looks like now we’re helping massive companies design games so they can make them and sell them to us, is that it? That is some serious bullshit.  I refuse to tell Wizards of the Coast, the voodoo witch-doctor keeping the zombie of my childhood hobby shambling, how to exploit me for money.

Right.  Secondly, all the cute little nicknames and jargon people give to things in this hobby really give me the shits.  I was scanning BoLS the other day and the article about GW’s FAQs pissed me off.  Not the analysis (which I enjoyed) but the way it was written.

“This really puts an end to scarab conga-lines.”  What?  Guh? Are we seriously now making up poxy little shit-meme names for possible rules exploits in a book before it’s even released, and then talking about them as if they’re a thing barely a month after the book is in stores?  I don’t know what the fuck a scarab conga line is, I don’t care, and I’m ashamed for the community that someone who’s been playing this game for twenty-five fucking years and has his own gaming blog (me) can go on a large mainstream site and be confronted with a sea of fad-talk that I don’t understand.

Shorthand is one thing, but if I met someone socially and we started talking about 40k and they said “Well, if you want to delta-snipe some OMO throwing down three nibs of libby chunks you have to take poison-wing and deploy spanner-wise” I’d be all like “sorry, but I have to go over here now until you take your head from your arse and start talking like a normal human.”

*Sigh*

And while I’m on the subject, what’s with over-analyzing every rumour and rulebook before it’s even released?  It’s like the cold war up in here with “monkeyballs is a trusted source” and “that date-stamp could easily be forged.”  I mean come on.  If you guys applied the same tireless dedication and blowtorch criticism to things that mattered we’d have a cure for cancer by now.

Hey, I feel much better now.


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