Well it was always going to happen. Say I’m doing something and it’s (allegedly) simply a clone of Mordheim, BattleFleet Gothic, Epic, etc. I’m talking, of course, about the comments on TGN about me self-publishing. It’s a shame, really, that people don’t think further than copying GW because it shows up their lack of knowledge of the plethora of games available and the creative process in general. If I was going to copy a game (which would be dull and boring anyway, but if…) it wouldn’t be one of GWs. Most of GW’s designs are old and clunky – why would I copy that? Whilst you can still have fun playing them, they are hardly slick and well-honed. On the contrary, every time I talk to a 40K or Warhammer player they launch into a diatribe about how broken the whole thing is. Personally, I couldn’t say. All I can do is repeat what I’ve heard. I do know that I had lots of fun playing the games for many years in older editions, but the more I broadened my knowledge of what was out there the more I saw them as the old fashioned and somewhat inelegant and cumbersome beasts they are. I still like the backgrounds, I just think that the games bear little or no resemblance to them and do them a disservice.
Perhaps it’s just getting older, but I’ve got very little tolerance for slow and clunky games any more. I want things to be slick, clean and elegant. When I play a game I’d like to be thinking about my tactics and what the other players are up to, not trying to work out what the rules are actually trying to say. This, of course, is also what I aim for in my own games too.
As I have said before, copying other people’s work is just boring, so I don’t do it. However, looking at a genre and deciding that there isn’t something that really suits me in it is entirely different. In that case you’re intentionally NOT copying people as you think they’ve made mistakes. If you didn’t why not play their game? It’s already there. It would be so much easier. I’ve got way more ideas I want to work on than time to do them in, as does pretty much every creative person I know whether that be musicians, modellers, writers or whatever. Some people do copy other’s work, but within the industries I’ve worked in this is always seen as a demeaning and rubbish job, done simply for the cash (and generally because the people putting up the funding don’t want to take a risk).
Do I have a point today? Maybe.
I think what I’m talking around is that creative people would rather be creative than not. Expecting them to want to copy something is illogical and out of character. What creative people are generally trying to do is something better than what they’ve seen. They mostly look at a genre and think “nobody has really aced it here. I can do better”.
I’m also on (again) about the vast wealth of options that are out there. BGG lists 61,587 games today. Yes, you read that right, sixty thousand plus games. How many have you played or even heard of? What’s the odds that (a) GW did not do the first (or best) version of <insert whatever you like here>, and (b) there are games you would really enjoy that are just lurking out there waiting to be discovered?
Saying that a new game from me or anyone else is just a copy of X from GW is a tired and lazy comment and I really wish people would move on because frankly I’m a bit bored of it. Am I being naive? Probably. That’s what I always get told when I want things to be better – when I want people to think a bit more before they say silly things. Hey ho.
All of which actually reminds me of another thought I had about GW. I’ve kept you long enough though. I’ll write that up for tomorrow.
PS: apologies for being grumpy this morning. I’m having a series of very annoying real world issues to deal with and you all know how that goes. I’ve now got to waste an hour writing another email explaining in words on one syllable (for the fifth time) a concept that a 6 year old could grasp. Compared to those cretins, the above complaint is trivial.