Wednesday, April 06, 2011

E is for ...

En Garde. A couple people on the Facebook rebroadcast of these blogs guessed this one in advance, so I must remind everyone that the running order for these posts is already set (betting on them is, however, strongly encouraged).

 No, En Garde was three musketeers role-playing, and is one of those games that just almost gets to be a groundbreaker in its own rights. It was a small booklet. Dateline mid-seventies. It was NOT from TSR, but rather an early GDW game, the first RPG from an operation that had previously done wargames and would in the future publish Traveller.

The combat system took a good shot at simulating fencing, but it did so with a series of attack and rest beats that were pre-programmed (shades of the old SPI “Simoves” system) at the start of the turn. The end result is that you would spend a lot more time resting than attacking, slowing the combat down into eternal bullet time (AD&D went down that road of granulating the combat round with “segments”. Remember segments? No, me neither).

But its big problem was in that we didn’t know what to do with this game past a certain point. D&D had its own internal story drive – go into the dungeon, kill the monster, take their stuff. Rinse and repeat. Fighting for status was more nebulous than gold pieces, and we were all a bit fuzzy about what one DID with that status once one got it.

 I was involved with not one but two campaigns of En Garde over the in-office e-mail ‘net. And the first week we got into our regiments and the second week we got our clubs and mistresses, and the third week a few of us fought duels with each other and after that it just got quiet and then we debated about staying in Paris going on campaign and DYING and a few weeks after that someone started a Diplomacy game and that was that.

More later,