Thursday, December 13, 2018

Why dancing bears matter

I was in the mood for something different but the holidays have fried my brain enough that I also really wasn’t up for thinking. So I dusted off Not Another One, a roll and write that didn’t impress me much back in February.

And it impressed me even less this second time. While there are some decisions, the dice will trump careful choices every time. At the same time, i know that it’s something I will occasionally pull out. Because it is kind of different and it is quick and easy and my brain doesn’t have to participate that hard.

There’s an old expression that we don’t watch a dancing bear because it dances well but because it dances at all. And there are definitely some games out there that are dancing bears. When I’ve paid money for a dancing bear, that’s aggravating. 

But when a dancing bear is a free PnP, that’s another thing. I’m cool with being a play tester for someone’s wacky experiment. Heck, that’s part of the process for how better games get made. 

I am under the string impression that, over the last three or four years, that more and more PnP games that are more dancing bears. This might be because I am much more interested and paying more attention. I think it might also be because of Sturgeon’s Law. More stuff is getting designed so the ten percent of good stuff is a larger number.

My primary goal with PnP is to find that ten percent, to find and play those games that really are good. However, I don’t want to overlook dancing bears. They can be fun and amusing. More importantly, they don’t represent a finished product but a step on the way. 

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