I haven’t mentioned it here, but elsewhere I’ve made no secret that I hate 4th Edition. My complaints echo those that can be found all over the internet, so there’s no need to rehash my loathing for many of the specifics of the new edition. But, I’ve come across something that makes me think I might have to revisit it.

Over on Story Games, I came across this gem of a thread. Not only is it one of the best actual play posts that I’ve ever read, but I think it shines a rather bright light on one of the hidden truths of my own gaming: I’ve gotten so wrapped up in trying to game the math behind the game that I might have forgotten to just enjoy the fun of the game itself.

James Nostack sums it all up perfectly:

… [4e] is pretty much nothing but a combat system, and you might naively think that’s all there is to the game. But the real game…is to be so clever that you always fight on your terms, or never have to fight at all. There aren’t any rules for this; you’ve just got to imagine better. From our comparative experiences, it sounds like this aspect of Dungeons & Dragons is still alive and kicking in 4e. That’s wonderful and really brings a smile to my face. For all the fancy moves of the new combat system, you shouldn’t get so complacent that you stop thinking.

I’ve been reading a bunch of message boards where all these die-hard 3e people are harshing on 4e, and are saying things like, “This encounter is too hard! This monster has too many hit points! Mike Mearls is a lazy idiot who can’t do math! Waaaahh waaaaah waaaaaahh!” Buddy, maybe your fancy Excel spreadsheet is a liability; maybe you’ve got to think like a 7 year old goin’ hogwild in a fantasy world made out of Lego’s.


The whole thread made me want to go back to drawing board and add 200% more fun and awesome into my own games. And to start playing with minifigs.

Also, as a quick aside, a lot of the action in Tony’s post on SG reminded me of the actual play examples I’ve read from Storming the Wizard’s Tower. Maybe there’s something there…