Monday, January 20, 2020

Can a gamer live on PnP alone?

I think one of the questions that you have to ask about PnP games is ‘Can you have a fulfilling game closet with nothing but PnP games?’ I have no intention of getting rid of my actually published games but if I washed up on a desert island with nothing but an internet connection, a laser printer and a ton of crafting supplies, could I be happy?

Wow, I have just come up with the least marketable sequel to Castaway. Particularly since a gaming group apparently washed up on the other side of the island for me to play with. The analogy might be getting a little carried away.

There are three questions I feel like you have to ask in order to determine if a game collection can be nothing but PnP games. Is there enough variety out there? How much trouble is it going to take to make them? Can you get other people to play them?

The answer to the first questions is a blatant yes. There are hundreds of PnP games out there in every genre imaginable. If all you want to play is train games and war games and you don’t mind paying for the files, you will die happy and contented. (Yeah, I should have included food and water in my desert island scenario)

Building them... that’s tougher. Here’s the thing. There’s games where you just print the board and add pawns. There are Roll and Writes that you just need to print out the playing sheets. There are some nine card games that are worth playing. There are easy builds that are still good games. If you really want to, you will work your way your up. If you want to, you will build.

Question number three... I think that’s the really big one. It’s not for nothing that a lot of my PnP builds are either straight solitaire games or can be played solitaire. And I have read that designers will intentionally include solitaire options even if a game isn’t a pure solitaire because that greatly increases the chances of getting play testers.

Let’s be honest. The quality of components can make a real difference in whether or not folks are willing to play a game or not. I have made games by printing them on copy paper with a scissors. (Admittedly, the last one was a game where you rip pieces off of the game) But I don’t think I could get anyone interested in a game that looks like that.

And, no, I’m not unique in my interest in prototypes and experimental games and chrome not being a deal breaker. But I feel a game collection should be accommodating. So you have to up your crafting game.

Yeah, you can have a PnP-alone collection but it will take some elbow grease.

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