Ran into this again on the forge, so I thought I’d address it here.
Where an RPG has an abscence in it that most normal board games do not have (like win conditions – and were talking about a gamist RPG in this particular case), you have to tell people on the cover or blurb. They are going to have the impression it comes with the game and your preserving that impression even though it’s false to do otherwise.
It’s like if you owned a island and on your island, on traffic lights red means go. You have to tell everyone that red means go. Yes, everyone on the island knows red means go – that doesn’t mean everyone else in the world aught to know as well. Yes, you could cry victim that the rest of the world just arbitrarily chose red and why should you have to keep explaining yourself for their arbitrary decision? But while your crying victim, are cars piling up?
Speaking of cars, it also reminds me of an episode of top gear where one of the guys is wearing a safety vest while driving in france. He goes on to explain france passed a law that if you don’t have a safety vest in your car, you can be fined…and basically they didn’t tell anyone about it. He gave the humourous counter example that england should pass a law about having an onion in your car, not tell anyone, and then fine all the french people as they come over.
Thousands of board games, card games and sports have win and losing conditions in them. You can buck that trend, but there is some moral obligation to your fellow human beings not to preserve an assumption on their part that isn’t true. I doubt anyone reading this blog would hand back $4.40 change when the change is $4.45. It’s only five cents…hardly anything! The guy might not even care! And yet I doubt anyone reading this would do it. And yet when it comes to an RPG, if someones got the assumption it comes with win condtions but that’s absent, something that’s atleast as big as five cents (I’d say bigger), do gamers think they need to say that at all? Oh hell no, RPG’s are different! So much so you don’t need to tell anyone, even!
Bull. Crap. You wouldn’t short change someone five cents – this is short changing them a game component they have good reason to assume comes with the game. Yet I’m sure many gamers would feel dishonest if they kept the five cents.