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Old 12-10-2005, 04:01 PM   #11
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Why isn't GURPS as popular as the D20 system and games

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Originally Posted by trappedslider
thats part of the question the other part which not been addresed is why ppl like don't GURPS
Just because the market share is so much smaller doesn't mean people "don't like GURPS". IME most gamers have never even heard of GURPS. You might as well ask why people don't like any game system that's not D20 or WoD.
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Old 12-10-2005, 04:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: Why isn't GURPS as popular as the D20 system and games

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding
Just because the market share is so much smaller doesn't mean people "don't like GURPS". IME most gamers have never even heard of GURPS. You might as well ask why people don't like any game system that's not D20 or WoD.
exactly it not they don't like it, it normaly comes down to either the don't know it, or not enough of the group knows it, hense where the lowest common dinominater fo d20 comes in
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Old 12-10-2005, 04:20 PM   #13
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Default Re: Why isn't GURPS as popular as the D20 system and games

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Originally Posted by trappedslider
thats part of the question the other part which not been addresed is why ppl like don't GURPS
There are people who do not like [Insert any game name here]. GURPS has it's share. Reluctance to play/learn GURPS stems from a) the relative lack of GMs running games in the players area compared to D20/D&D DMs. b) Word count, or rather apparent word count. GURPS packs lots of info into it's pages. Scares off potential players. The high amount of white space in WoD's books probably was as much a marketing tool as an attempt to keep things rules lite. c) Negative propaganda spreads faster and more thoroughly than positive propaganda. A handful of active GURPS haters can more than negate the efforts of a hundred or so promoters. Among other things, the haters get to tell lies. If the person who hears them learns differently, he will likely assume the hater was just wrong. Conversely, the promoter who gives incorrect facts about the game comes across at best as an idiot fanboy and leaves the impression that GURPS 'success' is due to houseruling fixes.
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Old 12-10-2005, 06:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: Why isn't GURPS as popular as the D20 system and games

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Originally Posted by Professor Tanhauser
A name like "omnisystem" may have helped.
It hasn't really helped Omni System has it?

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Another thing that hurt gurps is that they don't go for the big name game tie ins that often, whioch is another reason trying to get the license for "Ghist in the shell' might help.
Big licenses cost big bucks. OTOH I wouldn't call Discworld, Hellboy or New Sun exactly small either.
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Old 12-10-2005, 08:03 PM   #15
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Default Re: Why isn't GURPS as popular as the D20 system and games

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding
It hasn't really helped Omni System has it?

Big licenses cost big bucks. OTOH I wouldn't call Discworld, Hellboy or New Sun exactly small either.
no GURPS Prime Directive
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Old 12-10-2005, 08:58 PM   #16
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Default Re: Why isn't GURPS as popular as the D20 system and games

  • Dungeons & Dragons is the progenitor of all roleplaying games.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has indomitable brandname recognition.
  • It is specifically focused on the ultra-popular fantasy genre.
  • Its rulebooks look really cute and fancy, and have cool names.
  • Many small-press folks publish for the d20 System under the OGL.
  • WotC is backed by Hasbro, a megacorp.
  • It offers lots of redundant sourcebooks, relieving the GM of many duties.
  • It's not a crunchy system, nor is it hard to learn the basic rules.
  • Enjoyable video games exist that carry the D&D brand name.
  • Most gamers now know the rules, perpetuating their popularity exponentially.

I could go on. More spending money, a cooler and ultra-recognizable name, simpler rules, books that look fancier, monopolization due to the OGL, you name it -- D&D has all the advantages.

Too bad its poor cousin, GURPS, is sexier and a lot more talented. ;) As GMs grow older and more experienced, they want something more than what D&D can offer, which in truth isn't all that much (in my opinion).
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Old 12-10-2005, 09:27 PM   #17
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Default Re: Why isn't GURPS as popular as the D20 system and games

Actually, his point was that most people are relatively ignorant of the topic, as it's not very mainstream. D&D (and later EQ and WOW mmorpgs) are the closest roleplaying has gotten to mainstream culture (also comic books, choose-yer own adventure type books, fantasy novels (some critically acclaimed) television cartoons, and a small number of name-brand and non-name brand genre-type movies). So the average person, makes the connection with what has already partially integrated into the mainstream. It's not exactly an A : A:: A logical arguement. It's the burden of advertising and finding customers.

D&D reached relative "massiveness" (probably not up there with rap music/50 cent, or even MTV in general) by reaching out to the mass market thru the bookstores (and thru the niche market: conventions) for ~30 years. GURPS started out as/is a mailorder game that lived by word of mouth at conventions/private games, and now also the internet.

D&D/TSR/WoTC was smart. Not only did they successfully reinvent the product as it was dying (2ed was losing popularity and profitability), they also took a profit hit (semi-releasing D&D to the public domain as D20), which paid off with all the D20 spin-offs with have to pay homage to D&D v.3x. All the D20 stuff is free advertising for the original D20 authors, and broadens the market for D20-based games. Figure that D&D was reinvented intelligently too, towards what people like: collectibility, comic book flash, competitive munchkinism. Stuff probably most GURPS people don't like to pay for in rpg's, or don't even like.

GURPS is still going/developing high quality, rather than go the quantity/spin-offs route (like Oscar movies vs. "hit" television sitcoms).

What if GURPS did a pseudo-D20 thing? They couldn't do it exactly since that would cripple the income. But they could for instance create a secondary label, such as GURPS-Lite, in which derivative works of it would be semi-public domain/shared copyright so it wouldn't have to be screened, controlled, and contracted with SJ Games. Probably wouldn't work, do to too much uncontrolled competition with GURPS and GURPS-lite; But main benefit would be to increase free-lancing (free talent-scouting), and maybe point out to SJ Games some working topics to develop GURPS around with out having to invest capital in the research itself.

Alternative route: Get Gurps name-brand recognition for use in other projects like computer RPGs/MMORPGS. Or get GURPS linked to popular cross-over projects---like maybe an Infinite Worlds/Transhuman space comic book, or a special Games Workshop---GURPS-approved miniatures (probably more liekly with a more down to earth company like Reaper or Old Glory), or published fiction based on GURPS concepts/worlds. Actually Games-Workshop partially rose to fame doing all this stuff. Maybe limited edition, full service multimedia boxed sets for GURPS---GM screens, miniatures, dice, DVD's, software play aids, each on a particular genre/theme?

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Originally Posted by This Name is Taken
That's rather like curing the problem with the symptoms though.

See, saying D&D is more popular because it's well, more popular, simply states that it is...ummmm...more popular...

It's like if the Surgeon General said "Why are people eating so much McDonalds these days?" and the team of researchers he asked came back with "Cause lots of people eat them, see?"

The question is WHY had D&D reached such a massive scale and WHY do other systems not seem to really challenge it's dominance?

Last edited by GoodGame; 12-10-2005 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 12-11-2005, 05:08 AM   #18
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Default Re: Why isn't GURPS as popular as the D20 system and games

I believe one of the reasons my players like D&D is because in D&D character advancement is more visible. A D&D character starts life as a weakling, and fights his way to increasing levels of power. This advancement is noticeable and gives the players a sense of achievement. In GURPS, a character begins life as larger than life. Advancement comes slowly. The players feel as if they've gotten few "rewards" for play.

With that in mind, I could give my players more points after a GURPS play session. Though I don't know if it would even matter. My players don't even seem to care about advancing their characters when playing GURPS. Is that weird?

Oh! One other thing just came to mind! If I had been involved in GURPS 4th edition playtesting, I would've made a suggestion for one big change - increase the point values by a factor of 100! Why? The psychology of more is better. Which do you think appeals to more people, a 100 point character, or a 10,000 point character?

Just some thoughts... Your mileage will vary.
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Old 12-11-2005, 07:20 AM   #19
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Default Re: Why isn't GURPS as popular as the D20 system and games

I think that settings that provide a recognizable and shared imaginary space -whether provided by licenses or not - are very important. The following anecdote is meant to corroborate this:

Yesterday, I ran GURPS for the first time with three friends previously unfamiliar with the system.

Of these, one, female, 26, had tried a couple of uninspired D&D sessions, and found this rather unappealing. One, male, 26, has played and plays a lot of D&D, and is also the manager of Friendly Local Gaming Store. The third, male, 25, has played quite a bit of D&D and WoD. It had taken some persuasion to get them to give GURPS a shot. Promising to run a GURPS Discworld adventure helped a lot. My SO also played.

I spent 15-20 minutes explaining the rules to the players, focusing on the different attributes found on their character sheets, and the relative deadliness of the combat system. Then we were off on Hogwatchnight patrol (I had updated the characters and adventure to 4th edition, substituted Dungeonsnaps for Burfies, and made the whole thing a little less linear).

We played continuously for 5 hours, laughing all the while, and I think this may be one of the best sessions I have ever run. The female had her interest in role-playing games revived, and the FLGS manager remarked that GURPS seemed far better than he had been led to believe by the comments of various D&D enthusiasts.
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Old 12-11-2005, 08:16 AM   #20
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Default Re: Why isn't GURPS as popular as the D20 system and games

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Originally Posted by Martichoras
Of these, one, female, 26, had tried a couple of uninspired D&D sessions, and found this rather unappealing. One, male, 26, has played and plays a lot of D&D, and is also the manager of Friendly Local Gaming Store. The third, male, 25, has played quite a bit of D&D and WoD. It had taken some persuasion to get them to give GURPS a shot. Promising to run a GURPS Discworld adventure helped a lot. My SO also played.
I've recruited two women players to my campaigns who had uninspired previous gaming experiences and had given up gaming. Both of them are excellent players with a good sense of characterization and roleplaying; one of the two, in her first campaign, achieved one of the most brilliant performances I've ever seen. Running with a GM who wants to do worldbuilding, character development, and noncombat challenges as well as fight scenes can make the hobby a lot more appealing to such players. Which is good for gaming both because it makes the player base bigger and because it supports a greater diversity of play styles.

GURPS Discworld sounds pretty much ideal for that sort of recruitment.

I don't set out to recruit people to specific rules systems; the rules system is one of the last things I decide on when I'm working up a campaign concept for a prospectus. I'm willing to run any rules system that looks suitable to the campaign concept. Fortunately I have players who don't have system loyalty.
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