Enemy Number One
I’ve been there. I wrote Neuroshima RPG, put my heart and soul into it, made the game successful in Poland and then I became the main enemy of the fans of the game.
I couldn’t understand this. I was really shocked when I was reading mean comments on the Internet about me ruining the game. Fans were disappointed with the game’s expansions, or with the lack of expansions, or with the price of expansions, or with the artwork, or whatever. There was always–always!–a reason to complain about the Neuroshima series.
I was their main enemy. That jerk. That fucker. That Trzewiczek-the-asshole. The guy who ruined their beloved game.
I was sitting in front of my computer and I wanted to scream. Hey, guys! I am the one who created the game. I am the one who wrote the book you love. I am the one who gave you hundreds of hours of great RPG sessions. Why do you hate me?
That was tough. I learned the lesson. This year I’ll turn 40. A wise man, this Trzewiczek, has now become.
We are afraid of change. Change is always something unknown and we don’t like the unknown. We like the stuff we know. We feel safe with the stuff we know. There is this famous quote from a Polish movie that goes: ‘The songs I like the most are the songs I already know’. Pretty accurate, huh?
Announcing a new edition of the game is announcing a change. A publisher is telling you that the game you know, the game you love, the game you spent hundreds of hours with is going to change.
Let’s face it. These changes cannot be good. It’s obvious that they will ruin the game. Why would they change it in the first place?! Leave the game alone, you [redacted]!
A couple of days ago we announced a new edition of 51st State. The famous Master Set. The BGG threads went hot.
“F**k, this is the one thing I wished they kept”
“Horrible changes, the hype for me is dead.”
“It just sounds like they gutted all the things I found most interesting”
and so on and so forth.
First of all: it’s not ‘they’. It’s me. There is no Smoking Man who stays in the shadow and is ruining your game. It’s me. The guy who created the game in the first place in 2010.
I spent the last few months polishing the game and making it better. I removed a ton of rules that were not necessary. I rebalanced the cards. I made it quicker and more riveting. It’s either me or you now, there is no time for a ‘we have five rounds’ stroll as in Imperial Settlers. Just this weekend Merry crushed me at the end of the third round. That was something I did not see coming. You feel the pressure from the very first turn. Either you make your engine going or you are out. It’s a gamer’s game for real.
But even though I know the game is better, I know I will disappoint many fans of the game. I have no doubts about that. Because…
I’ve been there. I designed 51st State, put my heart and soul into it, made it the game successful worldwide and then I became the main…
edited by Piotr, thank you!
I saw this so many times. Also you have to bare in mind that those loudest on forums represent really small number of players. 90% of players are simply enjoying games, playing them and using forums only to clarify some rules.
It’s same for videogames where small number of players are bombarding forums with demands, threats, and cries about what is wrong and what should be implemented. Unfortunately this seems to be a part of creating something.
Ignore BGG and do what you love. Focus on fans, not BGG haters.
“I spent the last few months polishing the game and making it better.”
Translation: “making it easier, more similar to IS and thus more likely to sell well.”
You had been a great game designer until you started to sell out. No insult intended, you gotta make a living. But you gotta deal with the criticism.