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RE: [icons-rpg] Why not?

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  • Soylent Green
    I don t think Icons is limited to one-shots but I can certainly see that s well suited for it. With its fast & loose style of play, quick, random character
    Message 1 of 21 , Aug 1, 2011
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      I don't think Icons is limited to one-shots but I can certainly see that's well suited for it.

       

      With its fast & loose style of play, quick, random character generation and merely implied setting, Icons is optimised for casual and pick-up games. And this is also reflected by game's support which consists mostly of drop in and play one-shot adventures.

       

      I'd say this view is also re-enforced by the game look and feel. The artwork is decidedly cartoony and the text does not shy away from cornball supervillains with puns in their names. I think this helps sell the image of the game being  easy and accessible but in gamer culture less than serious also tends to equate to beer and pretzel (which is funny because even the most serious and gritty games out there turn out to be profoundly silly under close scrutiny).

       

      Bearing in mind I have absolutely no inside understanding of the industry, but I kind of suspect that from a commercial point of view this reputation is actually a good thing for Icons. It gives Icons a clear, unique selling point in an already crowded market. It gives the Champions or M&M a reason to buy Icons. And if of course I imagine the big prize is the convention circuit - once a game  becomes a Con classic it lives on forever.

       

      But for your own game, there is no reason not to run an ongoing Icons campaign. I ran a very successful Icons campaign last year and prepping a new one now.  In between I've run and played in a whole bunch of shorter Icons games. It's all good!



      To: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
      From: fabfranco@...
      Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2011 01:22:31 +0000
      Subject: [icons-rpg] Why not?

       
      Hello all,

      I have read several reviews on Icons, and most of them (if not, ALL of them) praising the game. However, one statement almost always comes forth: "Icons is not really the game I would use if I were going to run a multi-year, multi-arc long game; that's what Mutants and Masterminds is for. But if I needed to run a supers game on a rainy afternoon or a convention or just something to have some fun with, then Icons is a great choice." Why so? Why can't Icons be a multi-arc long game? What doesn't it have to be so, in your opinion?

      Fabrício Franco


    • Soylent Green
      I think there is a split in the rules-light crowd between people who ideally would enjoy the depth that comes with more detailed rules but for practical reason
      Message 2 of 21 , Aug 1, 2011
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        I think there is a split in the rules-light crowd between people who ideally would enjoy the depth that comes with more detailed rules but for practical reason lean towards simpler systems and those for the added levels of detail does not add anything to the game but can be a distraction from what really matters to them.

        Which is interesting because it shows people coming to the same system from very different angles.  

        To: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
        From: fabfranco@...
        Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2011 23:29:00 -0300
        Subject: Re: [icons-rpg] Re: Why not?

         

        My group and I are older gamers, have jobs, families, etc. We meet every other week. They don't want to do any reading, learning of the rules, etc. past showing up and rolling the dice when I tell them to. They just like to have beer and have a good time. Great -- except that I have to do all the heaving lifting, like making characters, figuring out the rules, etc.
         
        That's exactly the situation of my group. And, as the GM, I'm like you, having to do the 'heavy lifting'. That's why Icons seems to be the ideal book, as I don't have to go through all the intrincacies of number crunching (which is, pardon the fans, mind boggling sometimes). 

      • Douglas Parks
        I would hazard a guess that the issue comes down to character advancement. Players like to see their characters advance, get better at stuff, and gain ...
        Message 3 of 21 , Aug 1, 2011
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          I would hazard a guess that the issue comes down to character advancement. Players like to see their characters advance, get better at stuff, and gain ... something; loot, skills, powers, etc. This is why class/level-based systems are so successful -- you have numbers on your character sheet that show you how well you're advancing (experience, character level, skill level, etc.)

          While some games (basically, Traveller) are successful without this component, it's a pretty standard expectation in tabletop RPGs as well as video and board games.

          Icons has methodology for this, but it's optional, and as are most of the rules, less crunchy than those in other games.

          In step with this is the 'tinkering' aspect. In more detailed games, players can tinker with their characters -- min-maxing points, exploring advancement options such as feats, advantages, detailed weapons and power construction, and the like -- which keeps interest in the game and investment in the character in between gaming sessions.

          Icons doesn't require this level of interaction or maintenance, and therefore may look to players as a 'pick-up' game. "If I don't have to do much, then I don't have to invest much," they may think.

          In the end, however, it all depends on you and your group. The ratio between narrativist and simulationist play style, the detail of the universe, and the growth of the characters as personalities (rather than gun platforms), and so on, will all influence the staying power of your Icons series.
           
          --
          Douglas Parks
          Freelance Human Being

          From: Fabricio <fabfranco@...>
          To: icons-rpg@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2011 9:22 PM
          Subject: [icons-rpg] Why not?

           
          Hello all,

          I have read several reviews on Icons, and most of them (if not, ALL of them) praising the game. However, one statement almost always comes forth: "Icons is not really the game I would use if I were going to run a multi-year, multi-arc long game; that's what Mutants and Masterminds is for. But if I needed to run a supers game on a rainy afternoon or a convention or just something to have some fun with, then Icons is a great choice." Why so? Why can't Icons be a multi-arc long game? What doesn't it have to be so, in your opinion?

          Fabrício Franco



        • Icosahedrophilia
          ... Hey, that is great news! As things now stand, pre-TEAM-UP, I think (this is mostly a guess!) one of the reasons players and GMs *might* shy away from
          Message 4 of 21 , Aug 1, 2011
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            On Jul 31, 2011, at 7:26 PM, Gareth-Michael Skarka wrote:
             

            Well, for what it's worth -- the rules that will be appearing in ICONS TEAM-UP are specifically designed for running long-term campaigns.

            Hey, that is great news!

            As things now stand, pre-TEAM-UP, I think (this is mostly a guess!) one of the reasons players and GMs *might* shy away from long-term ICONS games is that players might expect more out of character advancement. This is probably a holdover from fantasy games. Gamers and GMs familiar with D&D and other such games might expect characters to "get better" (dramatically so) over time, and ICONS defies this expectation (with good reason).

            Chris

            Chris Heard
            Icosahedrophilia Blog and Podcast

          • Jakub
            Icons simply doesn t have experience point rules - which is fine for many games (mostly old school), but of course comic book characters never change, which is
            Message 5 of 21 , Aug 1, 2011
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              Icons simply doesn't have experience point rules - which is fine for many games (mostly old school), but of course comic book characters never change, which is right on the spot.
            • Tommy Brownell
              Slight disagreement. Comic book characters DO change, and in noticeable ways, but - with a few exceptions - it is almost never a steady increase like in most
              Message 6 of 21 , Aug 1, 2011
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                Slight disagreement.
                 
                Comic book characters DO change, and in noticeable ways, but - with a few exceptions - it is almost never a steady increase like in most "Hero to Zero" RPGs...usually coming in big, plot relevant bursts.
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: Jakub
                Sent: Monday, August 01, 2011 2:52 PM
                Subject: [icons-rpg] Re: Why not?

                 


                Icons simply doesn't have experience point rules - which is fine for many games (mostly old school), but of course comic book characters never change, which is right on the spot.


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              • Fabrício César Franco
                Thank you, everyone, for your opinions and viewpoints. This group, from all the ones I ve taken part in, is one of the kindest and supportive. Glad to be here.
                Message 7 of 21 , Aug 1, 2011
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                  Thank you, everyone, for your opinions and viewpoints. This group, from all the ones I've taken part in, is one of the kindest and supportive. Glad to be here.

                  I just hope that you continue to put up with me in the consecutive questions about the game which come up to me.

                  Fabrício Franco
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