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Subject: Why is "old world" fantasy a much more popular theme than... rss

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Say a futuristic setting.
When you see RPG's and dungeon crawlers, the theme 9 times out of 10 seems to be old world fantasy, ie Descent, Myth, and so on.
Would a futuristic setting, even with fantasy elements be so much less popular?
Why does old world fantasy dominate a more futuristic theme?
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Rob Wrigley
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Cause of a little thing called Lord of the Rings.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Is this even true, looking at my RPG collection (maybe this is due to taste) I would say it is about half and half (ignoring real world and horror) fantasy and SF. Also where do things like Victoriana sit, SF or old world fantasy (or space 1889, and it's many board gamer derivatives)?
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TheDashi wrote:
Say a futuristic setting.
When you see RPG's and dungeon crawlers, the theme 9 times out of 10 seems to be old world fantasy, ie Descent, Myth, and so on.
Would a futuristic setting, even with fantasy elements be so much less popular?
Why does old world fantasy dominate a more futuristic theme?


Magic is fun, and magic often feels flat or out of place in a futuristic setting -- Shadowrun isn't as popular as D&D.

It's hard to come up w/ an interesting theme for a dungeon crawler that's futuristic, too -- it generally just doesn't quite fit. You might get a scenario here and there, but the theme is better suited to stuff like Specter Ops.
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slatersteven wrote:
Is this even true, looking at my RPG collection (maybe this is due to taste) I would say it is about half and half (ignoring real world and horror) fantasy and SF. Also where do things like Victoriana sit, SF or old world fantasy (or space 1889, and it's many board gamer derivatives)?


RPGs are definitely primarily fantasy as well. Don't you remember all the Vampire players whining about how people only play D&D?
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Thom0909
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Will people really crawl around dungeons in the future? They don't seem to do that in the present.

Of course, you could adapt the genre. But I suspect technology level has something to do with it.
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"et son bucher se change en trone dans les cieux."
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robwrigley wrote:
Cause of a little thing called Lord of the Rings.


    . . . with a Dungeons & Dragons chaser. The Fantasy Warfare genre has been a billion dollar industry since the 1970s. Films, novels, even television.

    I personally like science fiction better. But I'm fine with either.
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"et son bucher se change en trone dans les cieux."
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Prop Joe wrote:
Will people really crawl around dungeons in the future? They don't seem to do that in the present.


    They will when they come across a SPACE HULK. Who knows what waits inside??? My guess is unguarded treasure.
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It's easier to romanticize swords and magic as opposed to guns and computers. The latter is too close to our reality.
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Prop Joe wrote:
Will people really crawl around dungeons in the future? They don't seem to do that in the present.

Of course, you could adapt the genre. But I suspect technology level has something to do with it.
NO they will crawl around space hulks, totally different thing (not that we have any games like that, no sir).
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Terwox wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
Is this even true, looking at my RPG collection (maybe this is due to taste) I would say it is about half and half (ignoring real world and horror) fantasy and SF. Also where do things like Victoriana sit, SF or old world fantasy (or space 1889, and it's many board gamer derivatives)?


RPGs are definitely primarily fantasy as well. Don't you remember all the Vampire players whining about how people only play D&D? :p
PAh! I think the best one was in the old challenge when they had a dig about T2000 not having the right kind of Dragon for the fantasy wallahs (is that SF?).
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cromatoast wrote:
It's easier to romanticize swords and magic as opposed to guns and computers. The latter is too close to our reality.
That is why there are no games featuring light swords or Psionics.
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Is it just "easier" to come up with ideas for old world fantasy since you are dealing with bows and arrows instead of things that you have to come up with completely on your own.
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For the same reason a lot of war games are set in WWII. It's familiar and everyone knows about it.
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https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamecategory/1016/science-fic...

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgamecategory/1010/fantasy
602 to 756.

So not far of what my collection is (50/50).
 
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slatersteven wrote:
cromatoast wrote:
It's easier to romanticize swords and magic as opposed to guns and computers. The latter is too close to our reality.
That is why there are no games featuring light swords or Psionics.


Well, Star Wars et al mix the genres.

Nice straw man, though.
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TheDashi wrote:
Say a futuristic setting.
When you see RPG's and dungeon crawlers, the theme 9 times out of 10 seems to be old world fantasy, ie Descent, Myth, and so on.
Would a futuristic setting, even with fantasy elements be so much less popular?
Why does old world fantasy dominate a more futuristic theme?


How about this story:

"A young farmer has his house destroyed by an evil kingdom that took over the country.
He finds a wizard mentor that slowly teaches him to become a knight and wield a sword.
He goes on in adventures,
Meets and join with a thief,
Save a princess,
Fights against a black knight,
Ultimately stops the evil kingdom in their plans"

... this is the synopsis of Star Wars: A new hope.

So look no further as the plethora of Star Wars games as the answer to your problem...

Or take a look at the similar tons of games in the Warhammer 40K universe. Space elves, Space orks, Space critters and Space Magic gallore! Warhammer Conquest, Space Hulk, Assassinorum, Horus Heresy, etc.

I would also argue that Star Trek is also as much fantasy as sci-fi... (Q anyone? Not to mention the "space anomalies"). So many Star Trek games feature fantasy elements to reflect the source material.
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cromatoast wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
cromatoast wrote:
It's easier to romanticize swords and magic as opposed to guns and computers. The latter is too close to our reality.
That is why there are no games featuring light swords or Psionics.


Well, Star Wars et al mix the genres.

Nice straw man, though.
How is this a strawman, There is no evidence that traditional fantasy is more popular or easier to "romanticize" then far future (or in a galaxy long long ago) SF.

I disagree that SF is far less represented in gaming than fantasy, and my point was that there are a ton of games that feature blasters and psionics.

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Tony C
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I think mainly because of LotR and D&D.

Corollary to that is that pretty much everyone, including non-geeks, knows those archetypes, whereas in the 'scifi' genre, there are tons of different 'verses, so it's not as widely recognized (though of course there's lots of opportunity in those verses.)

Perhaps, also, the classic "fantasy" seems a little more positive? Save the world, fight dragons, rescue the princess. There's obviously a big bad threat as well, but our romanticized view of it tends toward the positive and optimistic; a little "brighter" if you will (sometimes literally in terms of color choices). Whereas a lot of sci fi is post apocalyptic, or at least contains an extreme extension of some of the negative characteristics of current human society.

And it can be simpler and more "epic". "Let's go fight the dragon, you cast spells and I'll shoot arrows!" or "We are protecting the land from a horde of invading undead!" versus "We have to hack into the mainframe!"

I prefer scifi (books, movies) to fantasy, but I think my game collection has a lot more fantasy than scifi (which could be due to the current gaming environment of course.)
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My guess would be that fantasy is and/or appears to be more common because there is one set of fairly generic fantasy tropes: LotR, D&D and GW's Old World all have unique elements but at their core they have a lot of things in common - if you see dwarfs, elves, dragons, wizards it's definitely fantasy. So it's easier to create generic fantasy settings and easier to recognise those settings and classify them together.

Sci-fi is far, far broader and includes incredibly diverse worlds. Designers/publishers of sci-fi games have to create a specific setting (unless using an existing IP) and decide on technology levels, diversity of sentient species, the reach of the known universe - a whole future/alternate timeline, which might account for there being fewer of these games (if there are). Furthermore, at a glance, you're less likely to see repetition in sci-fi games, which might account for the impression that there are fewer of these games (if, as the above numbers seem to suggest, the disparity isn't that great).

Edit: Succinctly ninjaed by Tony C
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You guys!

Star Wars is set "a long, long time ago" and features rogues, emperors and princesses fighting with swords, bows and mystical forces. Clearly "old world fantasy" rather than "more futuristic theme" OP was asking about. laugh
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TheDashi wrote:
Is it just "easier" to come up with ideas for old world fantasy since you are dealing with bows and arrows instead of things that you have to come up with completely on your own.


Nah -- there's more science fiction out there than you could read in a lifetime already -- I don't think it's a creativity barrier, there's plenty to steal as-is.
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slatersteven wrote:
cromatoast wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
cromatoast wrote:
It's easier to romanticize swords and magic as opposed to guns and computers. The latter is too close to our reality.
That is why there are no games featuring light swords or Psionics.


Well, Star Wars et al mix the genres.

Nice straw man, though.
How is this a strawman, There is no evidence that traditional fantasy is more popular or easier to "romanticize" then far future (or in a galaxy long long ago) SF.

I disagree that SF is far less represented in gaming than fantasy, and my point was that there are a ton of games that feature blasters and psionics.



The bold part above is the straw man. No one said there were ZERO games with light swords and psionics, only you did. You didn't really address what I said at all.

FWIW, I agree with you that this thread's premise is based on anecdotal evidence of a dearth of sci-fi games that is not supported by the numbers. However, when you take into account the popularity of the genres, the thread has merit.

So, in a way, we agree.
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Terwox wrote:
TheDashi wrote:
Is it just "easier" to come up with ideas for old world fantasy since you are dealing with bows and arrows instead of things that you have to come up with completely on your own.


Nah -- there's more science fiction out there than you could read in a lifetime already -- I don't think it's a creativity barrier, there's plenty to steal as-is.


Talking about boardgames.... Books you don't really have to quantify anything exactly. YOu don't need to figure out balance to anything. YOu can just say, "THis is how it happened."
 
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cromatoast wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
cromatoast wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
cromatoast wrote:
It's easier to romanticize swords and magic as opposed to guns and computers. The latter is too close to our reality.
That is why there are no games featuring light swords or Psionics.


Well, Star Wars et al mix the genres.

Nice straw man, though.
How is this a strawman, There is no evidence that traditional fantasy is more popular or easier to "romanticize" then far future (or in a galaxy long long ago) SF.

I disagree that SF is far less represented in gaming than fantasy, and my point was that there are a ton of games that feature blasters and psionics.



The bold part above is the straw man. No one said there were ZERO games with light swords and psionics, only you did. You didn't really address what I said at all.

FWIW, I agree with you that this thread's premise is based on anecdotal evidence of a dearth of sci-fi games that is not supported by the numbers. However, when you take into account the popularity of the genres, the thread has merit.

So, in a way, we agree. :D
The bolded part was sarcasm.

I was wondering about mentioning the fact that in popular entertainment SF far out numbers fantasy is terms of output. In that respect you have a valid point, there should be far more SF games then fantasy ones. But then Fantasy has far fewer issues with IP.

Also I would ask why there are so few space combat fantasy games, as opposed to sf ones?
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