Let’s say, hypothetically speaking, that I obsessively check my website traffic statistics. Hypothetically. And every so often, when I happen across a search string that led someone to my website, I Google the string myself, to see about how high in the results my website appears. For purely academic reasons.

There’s actually a significant advantage to doing this. It gives me an idea of how and why people wind up on my website, and more often than not, leads me to some other interesting websites, which I can then blog about, further climbing in the results rankings in not only literally answering a search, but also in linking to other websites.

So, this morning I Googled “roguelike table top,” and found to my delight that my blog ranked pretty high, all things considered, probably thanks to my entry from earlier this month, “Roguelike for the Tabletop.” (Yes, I am a self-referential jerk, thank you.)

I clicked through to a couple of the other search results that interested me, and found one article on a blog called “Sword & Shield” that referenced yet another article about some rules for Roguelike gameplay design. There wasn’t a direct link to the original article however, so I had to go back to Google and look for it myself. *sigh*

The original article is called “The Eight Rules of Roguelike Design,” and is part of a monthly column by John Harris, which can be found at “GameSetWatch.”

The Sword & Shield article suggested that Roguelike design concepts can be applied to tabletop roleplaying games, but it didn’t really go into depth as to how, and after reading over both articles, I can’t really be sure that these specific design concepts can really be applied. Seriously, they’re about magic item identification.

Well, mostly about magic item identification.

I want to say is, “yes, I agree,” tabletop roleplaying games can learn from Roguelikes, but it’s going to take a little bit more than just saying it to make it a reality. I mean, you can say you were the first one to say it, but that won’t get you very far. First of all, it helps that many early Roguelikes were based on Dungeons & Dragons.

This means they don’t have very far to go in order to make good cross-comparisons, and a lot of ideas that exist in one can easily be translated over to the other. After all, the game master is, like, the ur-example of “The Dev Team Thinks of Everything.”

So, what concepts to adapt? Well, magic identification is important, I guess. But the one point from the list I think is the best (and should be the highest priority) for bringing over into tabletop roleplaying games, is anti-grind mechanics. They’ve gotten in the way before, but I think they can be made less obstructive and more fun.

And that’s one of the reasons why we game.