Wednesday, 16 March 2016

ICONS Cease-Fire

  I was super harsh on ICONS in my last post. While I feel that my complaints about how hard it is to find the rules within the book cannot be denied, many comments that readers left me (some from Steve Kenson, the game's author) have made me realize that my players and I might not have been using the system to its full potential.

  I believe I should have waited one more game or two before announcing such a strong opinion, but if anything that post is still good as a 'first impression', or as a warning of what can happen if you go into the game without thoroughly knowing all of its tools. (I'd even go further and say that this is a game where the players better know the rules just as much as the GM!)

  To be honest, seeing the author reply also made me realize that it has to suck to work on something you're passionate about for many hours, only to see someone trash it online after a single game. Don't get me wrong, if I try a game and it just doesn't work I won't shy away from saying so, but this was really a case where I hadn't done my homework enough, so to speak. (Although even then I was very open to be proven wrong, because I love the general idea of how the narrative system works.)

  Does that mean all of my negative points are invalidated? I'll wait a bit before replying to that one. I was too quick in the first place to trash the game without giving it some time to see the whole picture, and the comments I read coming to its defense made a lot of sense to me, but I'll actually try them out first before jumping to more conclusions.

  In my defense regarding my initial impression, searching through the rules was a frustrating experience that didn't help matters. For the next print/rules revision, I beg the author and/or editor to include actual page numbers, not just whole chapters. If there's one thing that I still feel strongly about, is that the way it's organized now doesn't help new players enjoy the game when they have to spend many minutes looking for how one thing works and the book throws them around like a ping pong ball. Just adding page numbers would make it a much more newbie-friendly product. But that has nothing to do with the rules themselves. (And again, I want to specify that the rules are mostly easy to understand, they're just hard to find.)

  So I owe it to myself and to everyone who read and replied to my post to take my time, to get the rules right and run a few more games before I come up with a final opinion. (Or as final as opinions can be in social games!) I'll admit I'm now leaning towards a positive impression after reading the comments and then reading certain rules again, but I'd rather not go there just yet.

  Anyway, in the spirit of good fun, I made these: