Product review – Murphy’s Rules

Happy holidays readers.

I want to keep posting even over the holiday season, but in giving respect to my family and household it will be a short one this time.

This is the first time I have set something up as a Product review and not a Game review. Depending on how it goes I may do more in the future.

This particular product is a collection of material that Steve Jackson Games published between 1980 and 1998 in various media that they had been producing like the Space Gamer magazine and Pyramid. Quite frankly I have heard rumors that there was a sequel published but I have never been able to find it, in person or in a PDF format online. Steve Jackson Games website does not list it as something they have ever created, so my hopes are low that it exists.

This book is 80 pages of taking pot shots at stupid rules in role playing games, board games, card games and computer games. Each one is given a little bit of art to illustrate the silliness, and the art interpretations are just as funny as the rules themselves. This is one of my favorite examples…

Image result for Murphys rules

The book also contains a few pages of random tables, small art projects, and it closes with a written article that reads like something out of a Readers Digest advice or letters column from the 80’s.

Now then given that this material is from 1980 – 1998 originally you may think it is strange to still be amused by all of this. Personally I think it is a great way to look back and be able to say that games have always had issues. Strange rules, stating the obvious, or just plain weird. And the fact that game designers have had to put things like that in their games means that players have always had issues too. I mean if you feel it is necessary to put a rule in your game that states that a dead character can take no action… how many players during your play test sessions tried to actually have their dead characters do something?!?

It is also for me a great way to look back at games I have played for years and see how far they have come, or not come in some cases. It also reminds me of games that I have not played in years and lets me quietly flashback and go… I wonder what heck I was thinking playing that mess… or … I wonder if I can find a copy of that now… 🙂

If I have to give something like this a review rating by the numbers there is only one category that it really should have…

Overall Fun – 5/5 – Funny, well presented, cute art, and a ton of flashbacks, the good kind, make this little book something that I am determined to always have in my collection.

I hope that everyone out there has a great holiday season, keeps gaming, and thinking for themselves in regards to everything they enjoy.

Ok so gimme the dice, I need to roll on the random pole-arm generator to see what I am getting the neighborhood orcs for the holidays.

 

  1. #1 by dantherpgman on December 31, 2018 - 5:44 pm

    Oh man, I had forgotten what this was called, but I still think about it once in a while. “Parry, parry, oh la la la, parry…” I also loved the one where the game world’s population was increasing by 1% a week, meaning every female had to be pregnant with 5 kids at all times or something like that. Good stuff. Do you still have your copy?

    Like

    • #2 by authortao on January 1, 2019 - 2:23 pm

      I do still have my copy. And you can even get it in PDF sometimes from SJG itself. Aaaand that one you are talking about there are two like that. One has a growth rate that is every female pregnant with 5 at a time and the other is pregnant with 12 at a time.

      Like

      • #3 by dantherpgman on January 1, 2019 - 7:51 pm

        Damn, that was a pretty good memory on my part, I haven’t seen that book in at least 20 years, probably a lot longer!

        Like

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