Thursday, March 3, 2011

Why I chose D6

          I thought the reason I picked D6 as the rules engine to power The Black Desert was simply because I knew it backward and it was free.  That's still true- but there is more to it than that.

         The excellent Jeff's Gameblog, had a post that really struck home about this topic for me.  To steal sum-up, Jeff states that games like D&D will never have the generational following of some of the classic games of yore (like the 80-year-old) Monopoly, in part because we keep changing the rules every few years.

          This spoke to me.

          I didn't experience this kind of frustration until I started playing WotC products.  Before that, I played D6 Star Wars almost (with the exception of Vampire) exclusively and was happy.  If West End Games hadn't lost the license, I would never have switched systems.  Why should I?  I had zero interest in learning a whole new set of rules; I had mastered the D6 rules to the point that I didn't need to roll-up NPCs and I could improvise entire campaigns without cracking a book.

           Alas, it wasn't meant to be.  The result?  I got D20 Star Wars, then D&D 3rd, then D&D 3.5, Star Wars: Saga Edition, and finally D&D 4e.  That's literally dozens of books, thousands of dollars, and (count 'em) five core rules systems.  Five.  And if my math is correct, I haven't played or ran as many games in those five systems put together as I have in the single version of D6 I possess.

           My point is fundamental enough that I'll highlight it rules style:

           "Once again, Table Top games are NOT Video games.  They do not become obsolete with age."

         I assure you, I do not need a new core book every five years.  If I bought the game and I like, changing the rules will only depress and/or frustrate me.  I would rather have a steady stream of source material for the same system than a new system.  I know that most gaming companies feel that they must put out a new edition of the rules either to stay current, make more money, or both.  But I don't have to like it.

          And, I don't have to put up with it, either.  Now that D6 is free to the world, Several companies as well as myself are putting out content that may have rules variations, but still be cross-comparable thanks to the core mechanic of that most common of dice.  Now, if my kids want to play table-top, they can play classic Star Wars, The Black Desert, Azamar, Septimus, and any of the dozens of other products in development now that have pretty much only one thing in common: the D6 Mechanic.

         That's gonna be fun.

         On a meta-note, let me remind everyone that the new email address is  You can follow us via RSS feed  (above), email (to the right) and (also to the right) that collection of tiny heads that say, "Followers" Also, we have a Facebook group now, and we are in fact on Twitter @bluemaxstudios.  There is a gadget to the right that will allow you to share our posts via these sites if you'd like.  Also, if there is enough interest, there may be a Yahoo Group in the future.

          See you tomorrow, RocketFans!


  1. " make more money" Would seem to be it right there...If they cant sell you hundreds of dollars of new "core" rules every few years, then to the corporate mind they fail. Instead of engineered obsolescence its marketing obsolescence...but it adds up to the same thing..more money :)

    I collect game systems, rather than play games now...I am still looking for the "one" system that suits me best. I loved D6 with Star Wars and Ghostbusters when they came out...and with D6 now being open and free, I think I may just be going back to it :)

  2. I like to give the publishers (gamers, all) the benefit of the doubt and assume this is all wrapped up in the old corporate sponsor and print distribution models, like with comics. Doesn't make it any less frustrating...

  3. Perhaps I am getting a bit cynical :) But I do totally agree that ripping up a classic rule system every few years and inserting a new set of rules is silly.
    A stable, well matured and playtested rules system, that is expanded by NEW stuff...content, rules etc, and not rewritten for the sake of the rewrite, is going to be a winner for me everytime.
    D6 works for me. The reboot ofTtraveller seems to work for me too, and GURPS will be there too...Established proven systems...with tons of good content :)

  4. This will be cool. Star Wars D6 provided years of entertainment to me and my friends.

  5. To a certain extent, a game's mechanics can become unwieldy when overextended. As an edition progresses, rules are increasingly added that contradict each other. That said, revisions do not have to completely scrap the previous system.

    3rd edition led to 3.5 led to Pathfinder. Ghostbusters led to SW1e led to SW2e led to SWR&E and finally to D6 space (not counting the many co-existing variants). To extend it further, The Black Desert is built on D6 Space but includes many major revisions and conceptual changes (based on the content I have read).

    Revisions can be partially incompatible with a previous system, but still have enough similarity to foster easy movement between the systems. I can easily play any d6 variant with a minimal learning curve. Going through the various D&D editions is not always as smooth a transition.

    I don't see it as an issue of "rules change", but more of an issue of design style or philosophy change. Even with the variation, playing a D6 game feels the same to me. Playing the various editions of D&D leads me to very different experiences.

    To go back to the original conversation of monopoly, I would argue that there are actually a lot of various editions of it released, however, all the monopoly editions typically feel the same to play. People buy Star Wars monopoly (or Star Trek, Marvel, Dc, U-Build, Electronic, etc.)because the various editions of monopoly have the same concepts and are similar in style. There are some variant rules between systems and some Franchise slapped on the package, but I can buy just about any Monopoly variant and have a good idea what I am getting.

    I do agree that familiarity, predictability, and nostalgia have lead to Monopoly's success. I just think it is more about experience familiarity, predictability, and nostalgia that have fueled it and not an exact rules system.

    Interesting posts (both yours and the original).
    Keep releasing those ships and keep us updated on The Black Desert.



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