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General Rules Discussion Guidelines and Game Philosophy
In everything we do with Spite, there is a balance between realism, gameplay, and simplicity that we've got to deal with. In medieval games, a lot of stuff gets explained away with "It's magic!" or "that doesn't exist in this world!" Spite has "It's the future!" going for it, but we all have a reasonable idea of what may or may not exist in the future, especially when it exists already. There's some stuff that we can make rules for, and there's some stuff that we would like to be able to do but is impractical, and finally there's stuff that we'd just like to do without.

One of our primary goals is, and always will be, to make the game as simple as possible while still being able to support the story that we want to tell and create the kinds of interactions we would like to see. There are some really interesting games with a lot of rules and a lot of really interesting games with very few (or almost no) rules. In the Pacific Northwest, rules-heavy games tend to be the norm, but that's not true world-wide. There are so many games and so many styles around us that we've been able to spend our combined decades (just Ron and I, over a century if you count our whole staff) learning the types of things we like to see in LARPs. We're trying to distill those experiences into a game that we'd enjoy, and we hope that you'll enjoy it too.

One of the things I like about games is simplicity. Combat goes more smoothly when it is easy to know what is going on. It adds to the immersion when you can yell orders over a battlefield and not have to shout over damage calls. It limits the need to pause the game when you don't have to worry about effects ping-ponging around the field. It reduces player frustration when someone uses a big skill and it takes affect on the first try. We've limited our calls to make the game not only easy to learn but easy to play. We're printing a single sheet of every rule you need to know in order to play and posting it in every cabin on site, because that's all we think you should have to know. We can have skill variety, character variety, and tell complex stories without having complex rules, and that's the way we like it.

We want your feedback about the rules because we want them to be clear and we want the game to be fun. The fun won't be created by the rules, but we know that bad rules can hurt a game. We don't want to limit your creativity but we do want a cohesive world. We want to spend our effort building awesome props, telling awesome stories, and creating an awesome environment, and that will necessarily mean that we can't do everything. We don't have unlimited time, unlimited money, unlimited space, or unlimited energy. That means that we want to get as much as we can out of every minute, every dollar, every square foot, and every inspired moment we have.

This all means, to one extent or another, that we're not going to make a rule for every situation. We're not going to spend our time arguing over nuance and shoring up every possible loophole in our rules. We want the rules to pertain to actual situations that will come up, and not need to make rules for a single prop that someone might build, a single item that someone might bring to game, an interaction that is unlikely to occur, or any number of "what if" edge cases. That's not what we want to spend our time doing.

We want to write stories. We want to build props. We want you to help us. We want you to share our vision. We want you to make the scene cool when the rules aren't completely clear instead of breaking character to find a rules clarification. We want you to tell us later what happened, and if we need to clarify something, we will. We want to clearly establish the world, the history, the setting, the stakes, because that's what makes the game real. We want to answer questions about the "fluff." We want the world to make sense and the game to be balanced, so we want to answer rules questions too; we know the rules aren't perfect but we also know that they never will be. We don't want you to rules-lawyer, we don't want you to play to win, we don't want you to chat out-of-game in in-game areas, we don't want you to show up to do nothing but shoot bugs and talk about Call of Duty, and we don't want you to sleep soundly, because we're going to kick in your door at 3 am and fill your cabin with horrific bugs so fast that you'll forget you're playing a game. We want you to hope, in that moment of panic when your gun jams, that the Hands for the Future surgeon you were just giving shit to didn't take it too personally, because that means we've won. We want you to help us create that game, because you're the only ones that can.

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