Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Not an actual review of Elfs

I just finished reading Elfs and look at their thinking about writing a review of it. However, I really just want to comment on one mechanic.

In Elfs, you play nasty little elves who engage in a lot of potty humor and depraved sexual behavior. Frankly, that sounds like regular dungeons and dragons in high school and freshman year in college. In other words, I am not sure that you need a system that describes the way a lot of people already play role playing games. Is it really satire if you're just describing regular behavior?

OK, to be fair, The point of the game is to do this intentionally and explore the meta game behind playing characters where you are is more important then success. Which isn't really a surprise. The designer, Ron Edwards, has kind of made a point of exploring meta game.

The most significant exploration of the meta game and by far the most interesting to me is the concept of Dumb Luck. It's a special stat that you use the _player_ and the _character_ have different goals. It's a fascinating idea that really mixes up the idea of getting in your character's skin.

In fact, it is actually the reverse of bleed. Bleed is when what happens to the characters emotionally affects the players. In Elfs, the rules make it perfectly clear that the characters are just there to dance for the players' amusement.

While this is interesting and I'm pretty sure I can find examples of games I've played where you could argue there is anti-bleed (Toon or the Parsely system might be examples of that), this isn't what draws me into role playing games. Elfs doesn't interest me as a game I want to play. I also am not sure how it works as satire when it basically has you play the way plenty of people legitimately play fantasy RPGs.

With all that said, if it had been a Three Stooges RPG, I might have been more interested. 

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