Friday, June 17, 2011

My love has changed, should I take her back? / Giving Ars Magica another chance

The first game I ever played was _cyberpunk_. It was pretty cool and introduced me to the world of RPGs.
The second game I played was _Ars Magica_. I was terrible at it. I didn't get it. Not really. I treated it in much the same way people treat D&D when they start.
But, God, I loved it.
I loved it so much that I refused to even look at Mage: the Ascension for years, and dismissed the Tremere in Vampire: the Masquerade until Revised Edition.

I played 3rd Ed to begin with, and when I went to University I found that a 4th Edition was out, and began collecting that in earnest.
One of my best friends in the Gaming Society also loved ArM, and amazingly gave me some of his 2nd Edition books.
Mythic Places.
More Mythic Places.
The Order of Hermes.
The Pact of Pasaquine.

I tried running it several times, to varied success. Again, I didn't get it, and failed to explain it properly to the players.

I hope I get it now.
I think its about the Covenant.

When ArM5 came out, I made the (stupid) decision to ditch everything that had gone before and focus entirely upon this new Edition.
It was supposed to be better.
I had faith in David Chart.

Faith I had misplaced.
David Chart is a serious academic, and, in my opinion, has trouble producing 'light' material.
I found ArM5 hard going.
I found it focussed on some elements of the game to the exclusion of others.
The Combat section is dispensed with as rapidly as possible so the book can move onto the 'more important' sections of the game.
There are mathematical formulae at every turn.
It's very dense and in no way welcoming to the casual or new Gamer.
It is a for people who already play Ars Magica.

Recently, though, I have been reading Dark Horse Game Design's blog. He's recently discovered ArM, managed to get past the text and discover the game at its heart.

I am now wondering if I have been too harsh. Have I pushed away a game I love because I don't like its current edition.

God, am I having an Edition Wars moment?