D&D crunch factor


For me, one of the biggest factors in whether to play a game is the amount of “crunch.” In thinking about the various editions of AD&D and why I like (or dislike) them, I have to admit crunch is a primary consideration.

That’s why I decided it might be entertaining to take a quick graphic look at how each of the editions feels. It should probably be noted that this is based on the core rules alone, as I have very little supplementary material for 3rd, and even less for 4th.

6 thoughts on “D&D crunch factor

  1. Heh. Not bad.

    But, don’t forget the number/crunch/?-fest which was the whole “kit,” thing in the latter days of 2nd edition (if one decided to go that route, that is; the word optional did appear in the titles, if I recall).

    Saying that, I miss my Wild Mage and his awesome wrasslin’ skillz, yo.

  2. Hah, you commented after I loaded the graphics and before I finished the text! Yeah, 2nd did develop some crunch in all those handbooks, but because I have so little supplementary material for the others, I thought it best to limit myself to the core rules. Even so, taking the kits into account doesn’t leave you with the heavy lifting of 3rd or 4th.

  3. I’m just the opposite, I prefer less crunch. However, your graph accurately predicts which editions I like best based on my preference. 🙂

  4. Yeah, you’re right about that, but at the time and to me, it looked as if D&D was sliding over into Rolemaster territory. The only thing missing was the critical hit / fumble charts for the variety of weapons and spells.

    The unified mechanic of 3rd edition was nice, though.

  5. RandallS, I completely agree, I prefer a game that my players can dig into with little effort and has a minimum amount of crunch. It’s one of the reasons I prefer True20, Cortex, Savage Worlds, and any number of old school games over d20 and their ilk.

    Scott, as you know, I tend to agree with you, and my favorite edition of AD&D is actually 2nd with almost no handbook material; just a stripped down core rule system with a few kits for flavor.

    I would agree with you that the unification attempted in 3rd (and carried forward into 4th as well as the Star Wars Saga Edition which I’m going to be blogging about a bit in the near future) was a sweet idea, but the end result is a combat-oriented, bonus-driven algebraic equation that could suck the fun out of any well designed game. On top of that, the munchkin-factor seemed to take hold with a vengence on the system itself. In fact, that was my first impression when I looked at 4th Edition…this is the kind of game(er) we were always trying to avoid in the 80s and 90s.

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