Friday, August 02, 2013

Perfection is the enemy of usefulness

So Numenera is out and from what I'm reading it's a really good yet imperfect product, with typos and other observations about setting and rules being made. But it is here and now and it is useful. Meanwhile Monte's old employer is still questing for the perfect RPG balance while trying to push something out the door and someone with a very active Facebook account is still figuring out how to start writing the rules for the perfect dwarven game.

What's happening to the others? Feature creep? Baggage from the past? Trying to please everyone while pleasing no one? Inexperienced publisher? Why is Monte out with his game and the others not? Now from what I've been reading about the rules( I don't have the book so I'm going by word of mouth) the game has its caveats depending on who you read. It is d20 based with a whole set of new terms. Some easy mechanics and some different goals, like no XP for killing creatures. It seems a bit like a step in some odd direction coupled with some "bad strategies" like new terms players don't know that may lead up to steeper learning curves and slower acceptance. There are some things that seem incomplete, not fully tested or maybe unbalanced, or maybe it's just misinformation from my lack of the full document. Either way, in spite of its imperfections,  it's a wonderful piece of work which is creating a whole new phenomenon from what was originally meant to be just one book, and it's here now.

This reminds me of Pablo Picasso's words "Every act of creation is first and act of destruction". I see in Monte's work a big step from what was being done, a destruction of the old and the creation of the foundations for the new. Is it perfect?  I doubt it, but it is here now, on time and scarcely a year after work started on it. It promises to get the job done beautifully, it is useful and practical and opens up the door to an exciting new setting. I honestly prefer to have an useful item today than a perfect one tomorrow. I'm  excited to see where this project goes from here. What will all the things that were left undone, unpolished and unfinished transform themselves? I'm sure Monte left lots of stuff out to finish on time and he will treat us to some surprises from that. I'm also excited about having a live product that will evolve and provide newer things. The true downside for me is I'll have to wait two weeks to get my copy. Patience.

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