The WARP Rants


From Jack Reda

Subpar Homegrown Powers

One of the great things about CE (in my opinion, and the entire Warp site is a testament to this fact) is how easy it is to expand upon its greatness. There have been many clever add ons and conversions that fans of the game have developed, and the infinte enjoyability becomes even more infinite (if that's possible).

Part of this is the ease with which people can invent their own powers. God knows I have devoted much of life to this endeavor, as have almost any other person who has played a good number of games.

However, it seems that plenty of powers surface that haven't really been well thought out, tested, or even properly formatted.

Yes, I am going to get a bit nitpicky here, but it's my site, so nyah. In the many years I have been playing CE, I have had the mixed pleasure of reading many homegrown powers. And one thing that irks me more than anything is when the power creators don't put much thought into their powers. This manifests itself in many ways...

Sometimes the power name is the first problem. Some folks don't seem to think it matters if the name has anything to do with the power. "I'll make up a power called Supernova, and it will be the power to collect tokens." I once read about powers that were named after Smurf characters. That in and of itself wasn't that bad, but the names had absolutely nothing to do with the power effects. Nada. The name should probably come after the power has been figured out.

That first line of the power description is important too. I'm a bit of a stickler with this, and prefer to follow the precedent set by the original makers of CE. Basically, it should be 'You have the power of, to, etc', and one word (two at most) sums up the power's ability, and has something to do with the name.

Things to avoid are "you have the power of arranging tokens on anyone's planet." This is just dumb. It doesn't take a lot of effort to find a word that describes "arranging tokens on anyone's planet". The thesaurus is a wonderful tool.

The powers themselves need to also be examined a tad bit, before you unleash them upon us. It's okay to present powers that haven't been tested yet, but do try and consider how the power works. A power like "once per challenge you may force all players to give you their hands" may seem pretty cool. But what if you don't draw this power? Then it may seem a little unbalanced. Of course, there may be ways to provide balance- if say this is a power that belongs in a specific set, and the other powers are as overblown... then maybe it isn't so bad. But probably it is.

Histories are another matter. Many people don't ever bother to read them, and few people like writing them. I have mixed feelings about them myself, so I won't bother commenting on some of the histories I have read.

I encourage people to submit their homegrown powers to The Warp. We already have hundreds of them in the database, and many people enjoy reading new and interesting ones. Just take a small amount of time putting them together and properly naming them before you do. That's all I ask.

What do you think?

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