D6-ing Battlestar Galactica: Why Do We Make Games?

(After last week, I'm taking a break from talking about D&D. I appear to have attracted undesirable riffraff to ruleofthedice.com.)


I want to play a Battlestar Galactica RPG. I've been on a BSG kick as of late, and I'm going to try to convince my PBEM group to play a one-shot (or two) once our current D&D game runs its course. I want to use the D6 rule set from the old Star Wars RPG, and I've already started playing around statting out Vipers and Cylon Raiders and such. It helps using the X-Wing and TIE Fighter stats as a base, actually. It's appropriate since BSG was originally ripped off Star Wars, anyway.

I love making up games, though most of them never actually see the light of day. I've made video games through RPG Maker, whole sets and expansions for Magic: The Gathering through Magic Set Editor, and more pen-and-paper RPGs than I count. I didn't think anything of it at first when I opened up a file and started hammering out rules and stats for a BSG game. Then I had to stop and think about it for a second: Why am I making this game?

Just because you can make an RPG from scratch (or clone/copy as the case may be), I wonder if you really need to. It's like when McDonald's has a sale, where if you buy a Big Mac you can get a second one free. Just because you CAN get two Big Macs for the price of one, doesn't mean you SHOULD.

The pitfalls of sales at McDonald's.

For instance, I can easily think of a number of reasons against creating a D6 version of Battlestar Galactica.

1. There's a perfectly good version of the game already published by Margaret Weis Productions. I haven't even played it, so I can't claim I don't like the rules.

2. It will never go anywhere besides my small group of friends. It's not like I could ever sell it or market it. The D6 rules might be open content, but the BSG licence certainly isn't.

Say hello to Richard Hatch's lawyer.

3. My group may never even play it. There's no guarantee that everyone won't want to just keep playing D&D. Even if I (the DM) get bored or burnt out and refuse to play anymore, I can't force them to play something else if they're not interested.

4. It's potentially a big wasted investment of time and energy if nothing ever comes out of it (see points 2 and 3).

So why, then, would I just start making stuff up for no good reason? I've got a few ideas about that, to:

1. Compulsion? Why do smokers smoke? Writers write? Pedophiles... yeah, I'm not going there. You get my point. Sometimes you just can't help it. You get an idea and you just have to put it down, even if you know it will never go anywhere.

2. For fun? I like making games. Most of them never come to fruition (though I made a really spiffy RISK variant for my in-laws a few years ago, with a full-size glossy game board and all), but most of the fun is in the process.

No, seriously, it was pretty cool.

3. I know the D6 system. I love the D6 system. Nothing against the Cortex system the Margaret Weis version of the game uses (again, I've never actually played it), but D6 reminds me of my misspent youth, and makes me nostalgic.

So: Do the pros outweigh the cons? Do most folks agonize like this before making up some half-assed rules that will probably only be used a couple of times, if at all? I've seen a lot of crap in this world that if its creator only stopped and asked themselves, "Does the world really need this?" then it probably wouldn't exist. (How many RIFTS source books are there???) Do I want to add to that pile of uselessness?

Fuck. Who gave the separatists giant robots?

I suspect there's a much longer post and discussion involved here; I'm hardly scratching the surface. The Internet Gaming Community, especially the OSR folks, love creating games. But why? What drives them? Why am I making up my own game, basically stealing two ideas mostly intact from two other intellectual properties? Is it the same reason people write pornographic Harry Potter fan fiction?

God, I hope not.
It's too many questions. And before people start bitching at me, I am not mocking anyone or telling them that shouldn't make games (except maybe Kevin Siembieda). If people want to ride the DIY revolution, more power to them. I'm just curious why. I'm doing it myself and I have no fucking clue what my motivations are.

No, seriously. Any insight would be appreciated.

If you know anyone else who may be of help, click below...

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