System Avoidance is when you either aren’t confident in your own mastery of the rules or are worried about what the rules will tell you if you go to them.
I totally did this last night. I was just this side of exhausted, two really interesting conflicts came up that would have been well served by two of Diaspora’s mini-games – the Social Combat and the Space Combat and rather than engage the system, I went with a few limp rolls and left it at that.
The game wasn’t terrible but as a result but as Pete said in an IM this morning, it didn’t pop. Without a solid system to back up the play, there is a lack of accomplishment in the results and also a lack of really surprising elements in the resolution.
There was a scene where the players were mediating a contract negotiation between the clones they had liberated and a clone-owned silt-sea mining company and I would have been really curious to see where the Social Combat map led us.
There was a second conflict where a ship was on auto-pilot through a complicated A.I. and the players had to catch it, connect, do a zero-g walk, open a hatch and get in to shut it all down before it got to the slipknot. It was hot stuff and would have rocked with the Space Combat as written. I tend to have a pattern, where I read the rules, play the game and then re-read the rules again and I think it is time for my re-read. The holidays are upon us and I do not think we will get in another game of Diaspora in 2009. Ah well…next time.