Fine cuisine (and more plebeian fare) is quite often a mixture of ingredients & flavors that coalesce to produce one final flavor. RPG’s are no different. Change one part of the recipe, and the flavor is different. If you’re like me very often you open up a menu and the overwhelming variety can be paralyzing and you choose the regular. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Not so long ago I mentioned that there is a game for everybody. well this is certainly true, it is just as true that there are many flavors or experiences out there waiting to be tried. Sometimes you discover that you like this new flavor, and other times you discover that it’s not for you. The RPG banquet is enormous!
When I branched out of my preferred group of games & play style I discovered how big the menu was, and just how different the flavors could be from one another. Some of the ingredients have such a strong flavor that they resist attempts to make the game taste different. Sometimes that’s the genre or idiom of the particular RPG. You CAN alter the ingredients to a degree that that flavor is changed, but then you realize it’s no longer the dish you intended to try. Other times the system & mechanics are so powerful that they produce a certain feel or flavor no matter what you do (unless you choose to ignore them, and once again you’re not playing the game you set out to play. Then of course there are the people at the table and how they play. I have friends and acquaintances where I know the flavor they’re going to bring to the table. The overall flavor of the experience will be greatly affected by their contributions.
I found that very often I will be in the mood for one flavor of experience or another. Sometimes I want an old reliable comfort food type RPG, sometimes I want spicy & thrilling, and sometimes I just want to try that new (to me) RPG that looks so intriguing.
It’s very rewarding to be able to know just what sort of experience I’m hankering after at a given moment, and also knowing the recipe needed to produce it. Even then, the chef always manages to surprise me.