ndrpvr reviews will consist of the following format:
All scores will be between 1 and 5 stars.
Integrity: How well the system goes together, how fun it is to play and how easy the rules are to grasp; how integrated the system is and how unified its mechanics. Games will be penalised for having too many tag-on rules that don’t represent a core mechanic. This is, effectively, a measure of how easily a reasonably experienced DM can assume rules rather than having to look them up; in other words, versatility.
Combat: How smoothly the combat system works. Grappling rules will have a particular mention here as they are the bane of many a roleplayer and every designer; it’s something that’s very difficult to get right in a game, and how designers handle it says a lot about their overall approach.
Speed: How quickly the rules allow you to resolve situations, particularly combat. This is not necessarily a measure of complexity, as complex games can be as fast to play as basic games if written well.
Games will also be catalogued based on a number of verbal scores, none of which represent game quality but merely player preferences:
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror etc.
GNS: Gamist, Narrativist or Simulationist. These categories are inspired by but don’t necessarily fully map with GNS theory.
Gamist RPGs tend to focus on creating a unique experience where the goal of the game is the game itself, usually character advancement but sometimes storytelling. Games of this type are usually not realistic and admit abstractions. DnD 4e is an example, as is the Burning Wheel. games of this type are usually self-contained and not generic.
Narrativist games tend to be rule-light, keeping the rules out of the way of the story. A game that sees rules as tools rather than laws falls under this category. Narrativist games may become the frustration of gamist or simulationist players as they may provide less tactical choices in combat, for example. Advanced Fighting Fantasy is an example of this.
Simulationist games tend towards reproducing the feel of a certain genre, or of real life. Millenium’s End, Mongoose Conan and Call of Cthulhu fall under this catagory. DnD 3.5 seems to have attempted this.
Rules Weight: Heavy, Light or somewhere in between. This doesn’t necessarily correlate with speed or complexity as a well-written rules-heavy game may have a well-integrated system that plays very quickly.