[09/30/2002] [e-Samurai Editors]
The 6.1 rules revision contains many improvements to the game, but there are so many political jabs and unnecessary changes in it that it's sometimes hard to find them. Even so, the efforts of many of the hard-working 6.1 reps can be found if you search long enough. Leaving aside the corpora issues, which are detestable and will never be approved by any self-respecting kingdom, it's still hard to see why 6.1 took so long. A professional committee could have completed these revisions in less than a year.
The improvements to the magic system were definitely needed and are welcome changes to the rules. Iceballs and other killjoy spells were drastically weakened and clarified, making the game more fun for everyone. There are also classes to help new people learn, special abilities that excite old-timers, and a generally cleaner feel to the rulebook. Everyone can find something to like in the new rules. With a little editing, 6.1 could turn into a very slick, professional rules update.
On the other hand, several things that were broken weren't fixed, and several things that were fixed are now broken. Red weapons are so badly defined that everybody will now use one, making shields obsolete. The Shot-in-Motion/Atomic Clock compromise won't make anyone happy and will lead to more, not fewer, shot disputes. It will also generate a lot of ill will towards the 6.1 committee, since the compromise suggested is only used in a single park in the Kingdom of the Burning Lands.
The politics of 6.1 badly taints the project. Only Aramithris and his close friends have been allowed to work on the rulebook, and its release was timed to further Aramithris's political goals. The continued interference in the selection of 6.1 representatives makes people very leery of playtesting the new rules, too -- there's no guarantee that the playtest procedure will be any more fair than the past six years have been. The kingdoms have been given no incentive to bother playtesting. They've only been given evidence that their efforts will be mocked and discarded. Despite this, the kingdoms will work on figuring out the new rules and will submit their playtesting results to the 6.1 committee in the naïve hope that their views can be heard. And perhaps those hopes aren't so naïve, either. There are many hard-working and honorable people serving as kingdom reps, so there's always a chance one of them will speak on behalf of the people.
In general, the release of 6.1 is a good thing and playtesting should begin despite the clear problems the kingdoms will face. If the 6.1 committee is willing to listen to the concerns of Amtgard - and can see that the rulebook is no place to put corpora issues or score political points - 6.1 will be a great unifying force for our club. However, if the political thuggery and bully-boy tactics in forcing 6.1 through continue, there is a very real risk that the project that has taken so long to reach this point will founder and fail in a swamp of bitterness, resentment, and dirty politics, and Amtgard will have no choice but to move on without it.
[ discuss on forums ]