I’ve read a lot of reviews and posts from people who look at the systems for Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. and Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade and want to compare. The biggest thing that they remark upon is the how “streamlined” the “new” stamina system is. I just thought that i’d go into some of the thinking behind the change.
What do you play in API? You play an agent of a shadow corporation that goes out monster hunting or mystery solving for a living. Really fun stuff, right? What kind of game is it? Action Horror is the correct answer (you win a prize if that’s what you thought). Now, how to balance the Action with Horror… wait for it… that’s right: Stamina. It serves as the biggest divider to how much action you “want” your character to do, and how much they “can” do without getting themselves killed. The Horror of the game means that they are chasing or being chased by any number of unspeakable monsters and they have to take account of every action they make or will end up demon food. So, no matter how awesome an agent you are, if you are running for 30 minutes straight, jumping from rooftop to rooftop and trying to survive a fire fight, you’re going to be tired out pretty quickly. And then all it takes is a creepy monster to sneak up behind you and pick you off. Another reason why you travel with a team. A single agent is a walking target… brings your friends to the party and everyone will survive.
Now, what do you play in Wu Xing? Well, you play a one-man army, a ninja. Characters in this game command the universe with their will and can take on platoons of soldiers with their toothpick. They are nothing to be tangled with if you want to survive. Now, what kind of game is it? Yep, a game of Magic, Martial Arts and Rebellion! This game is all about how much you can throw at your opponents without destroying the very people you are trying to defend. Great fun, right? Right! The Stamina for that game is a pool of points that the characters can optionally use to boost their already existing powers. It makes sense for this type of game, because every character is supposed to be a power to themselves, and every ninja is heavily trained to not allow such things like involuntarily tiring out slow them down.
Two different games that use the same system with slight differences to the Stamina rules. Which is better? Neither! They serve the purpose that they are intended to, hoping to emulate the genre and mood of the game to their fullest. I am a fan of tailoring each set of rules to each game, which is why my next game is using a different set of rules as well. Whatever it takes to deliver the best game possible.
Just think about this post the next time someone says something about the Stamina systems and that one is better than the other.
Until next time.