Anyone had players judge DW to have “vague” rules?

Anyone had players judge DW to have “vague” rules?

Anyone had players judge DW to have “vague” rules? We played 3 sessions (monthly or so) and it was fun, but the rules did not click for 2 out of 4 players. One of them is very fond of elaborate mechanics (he’s a power gamer, but in a good way), and the other told me that “as weird as it sounds, I like rules telling me what I can’t do” and so that DW was too “wild” for his taste. Since I love DW, I’m a bit disappointed, but I’m not trying to convince him otherwise. We’ll go back to our D&D game (a 3.5 edition game we’ll convert to 5th), where I am a PC, not the DM.

Anyone want to share experiences or thoughts about this?

18 thoughts on “Anyone had players judge DW to have “vague” rules?”

  1. Yeah, in DW the complexity comes in fictional situations that limit and provide possibilities, less so in mechanical complexity. If players are used to and want to be challenged by the rules rather than the fiction, DW is less robust on that front.

  2. For the most part, I wouldn’t call Dungeon World’s rules vague, just triggered by the fiction. I think people are so used for having rules for every little detail Dungeon World just seems squishy by comparison.

  3. Doctor Starky I think that by vague, he means that there are no strict way to interpret a situation : sometimes you’re going to be hit by an Ogre and fly away, sometimes you’re going to lose your shield, sometimes you’re going to break your sword, sometimes… But yeah, I don’t think that the rules are vague : they are, by design, encouraging rulings instead of defining precise effects.

  4. I think the example you just gave, Jordan Raymond , is more realistic example of what happens in a chaotic melee than what happens in games where the heavy rule set is designed to make it more realistic. I got tired of Pathfinder adventures because there were literally a half an hour to 45 minutes of roleplaying and problem solving and 4 hours of tedious turn based combat that I found more like Warhammer 40K tactical combat than anything resembling a character or story driven RPG that I wanted to be involved in.

    But that’s just my experience and why I love DW. Not all games are for all people. I really wish I did enjoy PF more since I spent a lot on it 🙁 and also met a ton of cool people through it.

  5. A group of my gaming friends played DW for a few weeks last fall. I have to admit, at 50 and despite playing many different kinds of RPGs, I found DW was not an easy fit for me or most of our group. Dave the GM was struggling with the right tone, for me as a player, I had a hard time shifting gears from more rigid RPGs like Pathfinder to ones like DW and Fate. It felt… clunky and uncomfortable.

    It’s more my problem than anything else, I just need to spend more time with it at some point and give that style a chance.

  6. There’s a sort of mental/emotional burden that comes with the wide-open possibility of DW that isn’t there for more rigid games like 3/4e. Some folks are perfectly able to play DW but find it exhausting, or that find that it doesn’t scratch their particular gaming itch.  It’s not for everyone.

  7. Jeremy Strandberg

    DW is exhausting in a good way because you have to be creative the whole time. In PF I switch off when it is not my turn and when it is my turn I count a few squares and roll a die. Done.

  8. Even after running many many sessions, I still find that I get mentally exhausted GMing games in the Apocalypse Engine much more easily, because I have to be creatively engaged all the time. Sometimes even the small details in the fiction matter! Thus, I tend to run them in 2.5-3 hour sessions rather than the 4+ hours for other games. Otherwise, I find the fiction can get a little loose, weird, and/or toothless at the end, even when I want to wrap things up in a strong way. And the times where I’ve GMed despite being tired or feeling out of it have typically not been my best work.

  9. Well, there is the rub I suppose. Most of our sessions are on weeknights, people are coming from work in varying degrees of tiredness. There are many nights where players and GMs just aren’t going to be at their best. If it is really bad we either knock off and go home or play something like a boardgame. Point being, unless you can devote an inordinate amount of time to role playing vs. pay-the-bills activities, I find most people are flat out tired if it isn’t a weekend. It is hard to be ON every time you play. Not a problem for experienced groups I imagine, but just one more hurdle to overcome for groups new to DW and Fate derivatives.

  10. Yeah, I don’t have much XP with Fate, but from what Rob Donoghue says, you kinda parse the fiction for tags the same way you parse it for move triggers in AW. I think that stuff gets easier and less exhausting over time, but it does take a while to get used to if you haven’t done it before (and I definitely hadn’t, when I first started playing these games). Thankfully, the “onion” layered setup of AW-based games means that they work okay when you’re off your game or forget to do certain things, they just aren’t quite as compelling as they might otherwise be.

  11. I adjusted to powered by the apocalypse games as a GM right away. The principles were what I was trying to do with other games and not always succeeding.

    I did have one player not adjust to the more story/situation focus. He liked to play RPGs as escape, and enjoyed having the rules guide his choices more, and a more predicable out come. He approached the game as a puzzle to solve.

    I enjoy playing different systems, since they often scratch different itches, or ways of enjoying the hobby.

  12. I just hope that my friends “got” something out from DW (especially our DM) : this is going to improve all of our games, regardless of the system! 

    Thanks everyone for sharing!

  13. I think so Jordan. After all, I bought DW before anyone other than our GM Dave because I was really intrigued by the system and what it brings to the genre. I may sound critical in my earlier posts, but DW and Fate are most definitely systems I like a lot and want to play (I own both). They just require a lot of mental adjustment for those of us coming from early wargaming/rpg backgrounds.

    Our little group will try again at some point.

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