Well we've all been curious about exactly how much FFG have ruined WFRP with the so called 3rd edition and here's the answer: a five part seminar in which lead RPG ruiner .... I mean 'developer' Jay Little explains the mechanics of the new game.
Warning: if you're anything like me, you may find your self yelling at the screen after a few minutes.
The new game is not WFRP!
Yes it is a Role-play game (sort of) and yes dose make use of the Warhammer background but that's where the similarity's end. Mechanically everything is different, to the point where it would be nearly impossible to convert your campaign over from 2nd.
I will rant and go into more detail as I go, so please bear with me. The main point need to make here is that it doesn't even matter if this game is any good (which is debatable) this game is not a natural evolution of the WFRP rules, it's a whole new game with a whole new set of mechanics. The fact it proudly carries the title 3rd edition dose not make it a successor to 2nd edition.
Ok lets make on thing clear, this (despite what FFG say) is a board game. the box contains more card than 3rd edition SpaceHulk!
[pause for idiots to disagree with me]
Yes it is! It's all about moving counters along little tracks, it's about deck after deck of cards which tell you what to do. This is not role-playing!
“oh but Mortis, don't you see ... the counter and cards are aids to help with role-playing”
No they are not, they aren't aids to role-playing, they control the role-playing. Let me explain ...
In real role-playing game if something happens to my character that might make them angry, it's up to me to decide 'yes that would him angry' and then act accordingly. Like wise if my character is in a friendly situation it's up to me to act it out. This is what role-playing is about, thinking and acting like your character. It's not about moving a counter along a little track to see how aggressive my character is feeling about the situation or consulting a dice pool to see how they react. It should be up to the Players and GM to do the role-playing not the game mechanics. With all this consulting cards, tokens and markers to see what happening this game is more akin to fortune-telling than to role-playing.
Another thing that infuriates me about the Seminar is the guy constantly saying “earlier editions didn't do this”, “earlier editions didn't do that” and “earlier editions didn't explain this”. Quite apart from the fact there are no 'earlier editions' of this system because it is a whole new game, WFRP and WFRP 2 did cover all the things he claimed they didn't. This leads me to believe that either Jay Little hasn't played WFRP (or any other RPG) or that he just entirely missed the point of the whole Role-Play thing.
People of FFG, by all means make a new RPG game and if you like use revolutionary rules and mechanics the like of which we have never seen before. But don't try to pretend it is the spiritual successor to an existing system with a well established community of players by giving it the same name. If your going to make a radically different new game, give it it's own name, don't tag it to the WFRP name.
I don't have a problem with the game using the Warhammer background (it's one of the best settings in the f fantasy genre after all) but please give the game it's own name and identity instead of having it masquerade as a new version of WFRP. Yes fans of WFRP may buy the game, some of them might even like it, but I think we can safely say that all will agree that it is not WFRP.
Another stupid move on the part of FFG when looking at this as a Warhammer game is the lack of support for miniature-based combat. One of the great things about the Warhammer setting is that it is supported by vast ranged of miniatures and FFG don't even have to make an effort to produce the miniatures because they already exist.
Hmm actually come to think of it maybe this deliberate on FFG's part. Lets face FFG want to make an RPG that could compete with D&D. So they use the also very popular Warhammer setting and tell their art department to make all the cards and tokens and every page of the rulebooks look like a screen shot from an X-Box 360 game (compare the style of the game to the loading screens and menus from games like Oblivion, Fable II, Sacred and Dragon Age and you'll see what I mean). Then comes a critical meeting in the marketing design process: “Shall we have a rage of collectable miniatures to go with the game? WotC are selling a lot of them for D&D 4th” says someone.
“No we can't” says someone else “GW won't allow pre-painted miniatures ... something to do with their 'Hobby-Games' philosophy”
“so we aren't going to make any money from that then?”
“hmm ok, let make the combat rules deliberately vague and abstract so people won't need or be able to use miniatures!”
Which brings me nicely to another thing I don't like about the new game. The 'you need to buy more' aspect. So much stuff is left out of the boxed game and will have be bough in separate expansions. The basic game is what, around £60-£80 already. Your character needs the Rat-Catcher Carrier? you'll need to the 'Adventurer's Toolkit' which is another £20. Some one wants to play a Halfling? You'll need to buy another expansion pack. Got lots of people round the table? you'll to buy more of the Special Dice too and more counters and cards probably... and so on and so forth.
Suddenly the £19.99 (or whatever it was) I spent on the Rulebook for 2nd edition WFRP which contained all these rules and the extra £12-£15 I spent on the Old World Bestiary to make sure I had stats for all the monsters I wanted doesn't seem so bad. (and this only seemed bad because my Hogshead WFRP rulebook I bought way back in 2000 cost slightly less and contained a full Bestiary)
So the new game isn't real WFRP (or even a real RPG) and it's huge spending trap too. Anything else? Let me see ...
Those dice! Apart from the spending trap aspect of you having to get them from FFG and you can't just use the normal poly-dice you have from other games, they can't be easy to read in game... “hmm what dose 3 hammers and a skull mean again?”, “I have a comet and a crossed swords, is that good or bad?”, “how many eagles do I need to avoid being hit by the Minotaur?” thing like this must be heard all the time while playing and it's going to really ruin the flow of the game having to look up what the symbols mean all the time.
People have compared the Special Dice to the HeroQuest Combat Dice, but the similarity is only superficial, in HeroQuest Skulls = Damage and Shields = Blocking said Damage (I'm talking original HQ here members of my gaming group, I'm not going to explain our house rules here) it's pretty easy to pick up, I found most players will know how to read HQ combat dice pretty much strait away.
What the New Game's special dice remind me of more than anything is TSR's 'Dragon Dice' game (a game which is mostly spent looking up what the little symbols mean).
^ Dragon Dice, “What did I just roll?”
~The ravings of a single mad Goblin is bad enough, but such a power-hungry, malice-filled creature as Mortis can never hope to be understood~
Sorry to hear that a game you guys were into has been taken and changed so much for the worse. I can see how that guy would wind you up. I watched the first video and it became all too apparent that he is the tabletop gamers equivalent to a drug-pusher. He seemed quite sweaty and stressed, and reminded me of the type of guys who work for companies like Wizards and Blizzard etc.. Sometimes I think people can desire a game more than they actually enjoy playing it, and these guys know it.
A role-playing game should surely prioritise the use of imagination?
I would personally avoid getting embroiled with a game system that would be like being like dangled on the end of a fishing hook, no matter how fun it was!
I love how they introduce the 'heroes of the empire' and three of them are non-humans who'd be both rare and generally unwelcome in most of the empire.
"in the past the rules didn't differentiate between high elves and wood elves" That's because they're physically the same, have access to much of the same gear and magic. ITS A FUCKING ROLEPLAY DIFFERANCE!!!
He can't pronounce any of the warhammer place names.....
Hedge magic in the end times....fine......
End of vid 2 and the only thing I'm interested in is the promise to flesh out the background on Empire's religious systems.
All the critcal career info fits on one side of a 4"x5"?!? Wow bet there's tones of scope for advancement there. Not like dark heresy where you've got 6 pages of advancement tables.
"the front of the character sheet has all the info you need ingame and the back of the character sheet has all of the book-keeping info" What like the EQUIPMENT LIST??? I sure as hell need to know what I'm carrying sometimes. Oh and Encumberance and money, hell I never want to carry anything heavy or buy something ingame!
Party sheet?? Mechanics for player interactions?? WTF?? I want my parties to hate eachother if that's appropriate (and often is!) but why have a tension meter?? and why would the tension boil over then reset to zero? makes no sense! AGHHH!!!!!!!
Cards for effects is at least a sensible idea I guess. Knowing the rules is better. You're going to be able to find rules faster in a well indexed rulebook than a big stack of cards. The critical wound cards are kinda cool I guess, would probably allow you to end up with a 'black knight' situtation with tough enemies who can't do anything due to their wounds but are still very much alive.
The stance meter or having a GM that will respond to roleplaying
As he says, they're taking the GM from being in the game (as the adversary) to kinda just writing the scenario and not having any say on how it goes because the dice are telling you exactly what is going on. What's the GM got to do other than running NPC encounters if all the enemies are 'automated', surely that gives him less controll of the story!
I totally agree that miniatures support should be there, but isn't. I know I've already mentioned Dark Heresy once but I feel that could be converted to working with miniatures pretty simply converting the distances from 'meters' to work with miniatures (crudest way would be just make them equal a cm).
Ahhhh rant over
Ironicly Mortis they're making an RPG into a boardgame whereas you've taken a boardgame and made it into an RPG!
I find the seminar movies almost too painful to watch. Even the original promos were difficult to watch. I think the problem here is the fact that it's claiming to be similar game to WFRP of old.
It seems mechanic focused and despite the presence of character sheets, is there a dislike of pencils? Am I right? The whole thing looks like a collectable card game and over priced at that. The opportunities for talking as your character, i.e. role-playing, seem slim. Also, as Mortis points out, there's no miniatures support - wait a sec? I like to know where I am in the clearing or a room - I like dimensions to help me visualise (perhaps I've jumped the gun a little here). There is an irony here that when WFRP first came out players I knew felt it might be a cynical trick by Games Workshop to sell more figures - hence the variety of careers (each career equalled it's own figure, that's what we thought...) - but this was conjecture (this was way before GW dropped WFRP and then denied its existence). So to import all those careers into a clumsy symbols and cards game seems baffling, until of course you realise that those career description sheets. as Mortis points out, come in the expansion packs. Most curious.
Glossy - looks lovely, the presentation and art looks amazing - even down to boxes to contain various cards in.
Unrecognisable - purchase of a franchise, whilst slaying nostalgia.
Makes me feel that I've missed a generation in gaming and that I've returned to something unrecognisable. Intellectually, I feel that this is a good thing, that these guys are responding to a certain type of market (as I find myself looking for retro-RPG shops ...). I'm not quite convinced that you could win over WFRP players into believing that this is a progression, it does feel rather deceptive. It certainly resembles modern CCG +mat and campaign rules, so I'm sure it'll entertain a whole bunch of people, just not us, I guess.
Lets steal the dice and invent something else with them.
Again, who can afford these games? Do groups share?
(it depresses me - can you imagine the condition a 2nd hand copy would be in ...?)