The Grind DivideOctober 14, 2008
I was thinking the other day about how much the activity of a lot of folks’ roleplaying has been built around either grinding in dealing with heavy, long, crunchy mechanics or grinding in the Illusionist technique of delaying then revealing.
Interesting enough, the crunchy mechanic side is where we get the whole myth of “Story vs. System”, with the idea that rules get in the way of story happening, while the whole set of delaying techniques which get used even in “rules light” games don’t get considered for what is basically the same problem: grinding 4 hours of play for 20 minutes of fun.
It’s also interesting to see how folks accustomed to one (or both) in their play react to games or styles of play which don’t operate with either kind of grind tend to either:
a) Be amazed (“We accomplished more in one session than what we’d normally get in 3 months of play!”)
b) Be at a loss as to how to make play go- how to “fill up” time because there’s not a half hour devoted to a single fight scene or playing “Guess what we ought to do next” type play.
On the flip side, it also kind of highlights another hurdle to getting into the hobby- if your friends keep telling you all these awesome stories they’re creating for a few hours a week, and you find out that most of the few hours revolve around juggling crunch or playing the Illusionist guessing game, it’s probably going to turn you off really quickly.