Monday, July 16, 2012

on G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T.: Another Objection - Too Generic

This was to be my last post where I wrapped this all up, but it seems I'm in a rambling mood and so that one will come later today or tomorrow. 

One common complaint leveled against G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. is that it's too generic. My first thought was perhaps they mean that there is no setting, no detailed vehicles already laid out, etc. But that didn't sit right with me. After all, the authors are more than clear that this is intended to be your vision of VSF, not theirs.

So what might "too generic" mean?

I have no trouble acknowledging that the rules are, minus the vehicle rules, generic. After all, if they were not, how are so many people using the rules for eras and genres never intended by the authors and doing so with so little modification?

I think when "generic" is bandied about as an ugly word, what it means is that people want more crunch. They want more accounted for than just a Shoot and Scuffle score. Maybe they want greater granularity in their weapon choices with more variety, and detailed hit locations. Maybe they mean that the only distinguishing thing about a figure is how it looks, not how it plays.

I can agree with that - how the figure is used in game is dependent on the players playing in the spirit of what's being represented. Is it WWII or 1889? No thing in the rules will make this obvious.

This particular complaint is , I think , easily rectified.

For the colonial era, for example, troop formations aren't accounted for - a group of extras for any era might appear on the board in the same "not too regular" mass, but the players can choose to arrange them in column, line or square if that fits their conception.
More importantly, using skills (of your own creation or those normally used for main characters) as well as you own bonuses and penalties, allows you to differentiate troops even within the same army.
Your light infantry might always count as in cover, while your guard might get a morale bonus. 

More than anything, my guess is, those who complain about the rules being generic, probably want a simulation and G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. is, in my opinion, unabashedly a set of rules for a game. It doesn't matter what an extra represents. It doesn't matter if an extra and a main character are not the same scale of figures to real people. It's a game, not a simulation even if you're playing out a historical encounter and even if it gives a historical result. The name says it all "Glorious Adventures in the Victorian Era Loosely Involving Generally Historical Times." 

I'm not denying that the rules are generic to a point, but I contest the claim that this should be a reason to dismiss this particular rules set.

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