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Microlite74 is "better" than Swords & Wizardry?

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I needed to test some optional Microlite74 rules and talked my S&W group in playtesting them this weekend in place of our regular game. Several of my new rules need more work, which was not unexpected. What was unexpected was two-thirds of the players said they strongly prefer Microlite74 to Swords & Wizardry. They thought the game played more smoothly and the rules got in the way less. I really can't figure out why they feel that way. To me, M74 and S&W are such close cousins that it would be illegal for them to marry in many US states. The differences are so minor to my (jaded by years of house rules) eyes that I just can't see enough difference between them to say one is smoother and more rules-lite than the other.

However, now I'm curious. Have any others who have played both Microlite74 and Swords & Wizardry (or OD&D, for that matter) found they strongly prefer M74 over S&W or OD&D? If so, could you explain why you have that preference in a comment?

7 comments:
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Tom said...
April 6, 2009 at 1:48 PM  

Uh oh, now its old school vs old school! When will the madness end?!

;-)

Personally, I feel ALL versions of DnD are FAR more alike then they are different! Blasphemy, I know...

game on

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M.gunnerQuist said...
April 6, 2009 at 2:06 PM  

I had never heard of this set of rules. Thanks for pointing it out.

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Andrew Modro said...
April 6, 2009 at 3:34 PM  

Haven't had a chance to play either, unfortunately. Still looking for the opportunity! I will tell you that M74 is easier for me to read, since it comes off M20, which plays into my experiences and bias.

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Spike Page said...
April 6, 2009 at 5:07 PM  

Which S&W was your group playing? Core Rules or White Box? From my experience with both S&W rules sets, Core is a wee bit more complex than WB. I've not tried MicroLite yet though.

And LOL @ Tom! Now we argue over whose school is the oldest, and how we had to walk to the old school uphill both ways in the snow in shoes made of cardboard. :D

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Chgowiz said...
April 6, 2009 at 6:01 PM  

I have to ask, do you think it's because you ran m74 a lot smoother/better because you built m74, you know m74 and it comes across?

I ask because I know I run m74 and S/W a helluva lot smoother than I run OSRIC/1E - part of that is familiarity, part of that is just experience and preference for rules-light.

I switched my family campaign from m74 to S/W about 3 games ago. I just asked my wife which was simpler and I got a complex answer! *laugh*

My wife just told me that she doesn't really know the rules - she says she wants to do stuff and I tell her how she has to make it happen (either dice roll or something of that nature) - she doesn't really know the rule mechanics. That was an eye opener.

She also said that it seems like the m74 period of our campaign was "simpler" but I also wonder if that's because I hadn't made a lot of options available. She has deal with varying economics, she has a few more options for how to deal with combat and the like. I think I've 'opened the floodgates' so the world has become more complex at the same time I switched from m74 to S/W. She said she really couldn't put her finger on why the m74 period of the campaign seemed simpler.

So I'm not sure I'm an accurate reading on why/which is simpler.

I don't strongly prefer one over the other as a DM or player. I would easily run either - I'd probably run m74 for people who were more comfortable/familiar with d20 mechanics and S/W for the rest.

Now I'm going to have to consider the fact that my wife has been playing for 3 months and doesn't know the rules and yet has enjoyed the game. That's... crazy.

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Randall said...
April 6, 2009 at 9:27 PM  

Tom said "Uh oh, now its old school vs old school! When will the madness end?!"

::Cue Billy Joel's We didn't Start the Fire.:: Old Schoolers didn't agree on everything back in the 70s so why should we now? LOL.

Spike Page said "Which S&W was your group playing? Core Rules or White Box?"

Core Rules.

Chgowiz said "I have to ask, do you think it's because you ran m74 a lot smoother/better because you built m74, you know m74 and it comes across?"

It's possible, but I run S&W just like it was OD&D and I've ran that for more years than M20 (let alone M74) has been in existence.

I also wondered if it was player suck up since I wrote M74. However, I'm not sure the players know this as I don't think I've ever mentioned it. They knew I was working on some supplemental rules, of course.

What's really weird is this was a playtest session -- to the point I was rewriting some rules on the fly to try to get obviously not working rules to work better. How this could be seen as "more simple" than our S&W sessions is beyond me.

"My wife just told me that she doesn't really know the rules - she says she wants to do stuff and I tell her how she has to make it happen (either dice roll or something of that nature) - she doesn't really know the rule mechanics. That was an eye opener."

I had a lot of players like that back in the 1970s and early 1980s. They never bought, let alone learned, the rules. They just said what their character was doing and I told them what happened, what they needed to roll, etc. Rules expertise really wasn't needed.

These folks generally enjoyed the game -- sometimes more than players who obsessed over the learning the rules.

I've emailed folks and asked if they can be a bit more articulate as to why M74 seemed better now that they've had a day or so to think about it.

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Chgowiz said...
April 6, 2009 at 9:40 PM  

I'm pretty damn curious myself now too.

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