You can game every day for a week. Describe what you’d do!
There have been weeks that I played four games, but those are an exception. Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the frequency and, above all, the quality of my gaming.
If I could game for a whole week, I’d try to do “Fub’s Dungeon Week” once more: every day a Dungeon World one-shot. Returning players could play their own character or a new one, and new players would create a new character. With the power levels in Dungeon World not being so steep as they are in, say, D&D, you can easily mix a 3-level character among a group of 1-levels and still give everyone the same opportunities for adventure.
But the time is not the problem. Finding players who are willing to play online and, above all, are willing to commit to a particular timeslot, seems to be impossible. At least, turned out to be impossible when I tried it. And because of that, I’m not sure I want to try again, honestly.
Which RPG cover best captures the spirit of the game?
I think that in general, RPG covers are pretty bad at showing all the nuances of what the game is about. Most often it’s just some of the iconic/example characters in a fight with a large enemy and that doesn’t tell you anything. If you look at the D&D5 Player’s Handbook, you see a character fighting a monster with magic. Yes, D&D5 is very much ‘about’ that, but the trope is now so pervasive that also the cover of The One Ring shows the iconic characters fighting — and yes, you will have fights, but TOR is very much not ‘about’ fighting endless hordes of orcs. In fact, I think the cover for The Darkening of Mirkwood shows the spirit of the game much better: crawling through ruins to find out who is pulling the strings from behind the scenes, and definately not seek a direct confrontation with just your little group to back you up.
One I like is the cover of Star Wars: Age of Rebellion: We immediately recognise Leia and Luke, with a space battle in the background. This immediately evokes Episodes IV to VI, and that’s precisely what the game is about. But this is dependent on knowledge of the source material — so it’s kind of cheating.
The cover of Dungeon World does a good job of showing what the game is about. It’s not a fight — there are, in fact, multiple fights going on, and everybody has to use their abilities and wits to survive in the ruins they are exploring.
But for sheer quirkiness, I will have to go with the cover of Ryuutama. It shows the travellers in the center: practical clothing, travel gear, pets, dragon shrine at a signpost in the background. The backdrop is a map, and at the bottom is another pile of travel gear. In the corners are the four seasonal dragons, and in the middle of the edges are the four types of ‘world dragons’. It gives so many little details, and there is no action going on whatsoever, which gives you time to take in everything there is to see. And that’s what the game is about too: taking the time to travel and see the world.
Which RPG have you played the most since August 2016?
I log almost all my plays on RPGGeek, with a short session report in the weekly “How did your RPG session(s) go this week?” threads. This means I can offer a detailed count!
Pathfinder: 12 sessions, because of nathreee‘s Guildfinder campaign. We ended the campaign, and I think that may have been the last Pathfinder I’ll ever play.
Dungeon World: 10 sessions. This started out with a campaign streamed through Twitch, now defunct. I am running a campaign for friends with DW and I’ve done some one-shots.
The Sprawl: 9 sessions. This was the (again, defunct) “Ashes to Ashes, Chrome to Rust” campaign which was also streamed live on Twitch. Of all the new-to-me games I’ve played, The Sprawl is my favourite, hands down. I’m really sad that the campaign ended, but that’s how these things go.
The One Ring: 8 sessions. I ran two friends through Tales from Wilderland, but in the end there was not enough momentum to continue and I ended the campaign. 2 hours every 2 weeks is too little.
D&D fifth edition: 5 sessions. Some one-shots, but also the start of nathreee‘s Zilversluizen campaign.
Star Wars: Age of Rebellion: 4 sessions. This is a mini-campaign, and we expect to go on for two more sessions. I like the system more than I thought, and the scenario is fun.
I was surprised to see Pathfinder take the top spot: it is by no means my favourite RPG. But pretty much everybody I know has converted to D&D5 or other things, so…
If we’re looking at game system families, then the Apocalypse World Enigine comes out on top with 19 sessions, whereas the D20 family (Pathfinder and D&D) have 17 sessions. I must say that the AWE is my discovery of the last year. The focus on ‘the fiction’ and both the versatility of the system and the niche protection of the playbooks really ‘click’ with me.
How do you find out about new RPGs?
That would be through RPGGeek. Specifically, the GeekList with new RPG Kickstarters — the subscription mechanism is super convenient to get notifications of new things added to it. And there is the What’s New? articles that keeps me up to date on things that reach distribution.
What is an RPG you would like to see published?
I would pay good money for a Macross RPG.
The mecha RPG space is dominated by Gundam — not in terms of actual licenses, but in terms of the types of stories told. Lots of focus on detailed mecha construction and mecha combat, etcetera. Very ‘militaristic’, and even though Macross always features a military squadron, it is not a military series. To me, Macross plays out on three levels:
– The story level (“During the initial attack, we accidentally jumped to a Jupiter orbit, now we need to get back to Earth”);
– The fleet manoever level (like how supply ships and support cruisers support the Macross-class main ship, or how enemies bring their main guns in position);
– The mecha combat level (which is traditionally the level that all mecha RPGs focus on exclusively).
And there’s a fourth dimension: there are always civilians, and their stories always mix in with those of the mecha pilots.
The system should allow for cinematic combat (no detailed hit locations or 25 different things to track!) and great social interactions, focusing on archetypes and their role in the story — something with Apocalypse World-style playbooks would probably work quite well.
Of course, the swamp that is the licensing of the Macross TV series will ensure that the RPG would never be released in the US, which basically kills any prospect of making it even remotely a commercial success…
It’s August, and that means a new list of #RPGADAY questions! In contrast to last year, I’ll try to keep up with the questions each day.
What published RPG do you wish you were playing right now?
Toss-up between Monsterhearts 2 and Blades in the Dark.
Monsterhearts 2 because of the clarity with which it establishes its setting and themes. It should be easy to play with a good GM who knows their way around the themes and genre tropes, and I’d like to experience that.
Blades in the Dark because I’m reading it right now, and while the setting is really cool, I’m not so sure about the rules. It can’t decide whether it’s a Apocalypse World Engine game, a FATE-based game or using the Shadowrun dice pool mechanics. I know all three, and seeing it all mashed together is confusing to me. But, as these things go, playing a session with a GM who knows their way around the system always really clears things up for me, so that would be nice.