Tuesday, August 22, 2017

RPGaDay Challenge 2017 - Day 22

I like this one.

Star Trek (Especially the Last Unicorn Games version) and Star Wars (West End Games's D6, 2nd Edition) are by far the two games I find easiest to run. 

The reasons for this are manifold, but some of the key elements include:

First, and foremost, I have a love and preference for Science-Fiction gaming, and Space Adventure style stories. I especially love exploration oriented games, which is why Star Trek beats out Star Wars a bit. 

The episodic nature of Star Trek, and Star Wars lend themselves to well paced 'world' building as you add new planets, species, and other things each session.  Eventually, I can create a unique, personal version of these two well-known IPs over the course of a campaign that feels special to my players, as well as myself. It's not just the Star Trek, or Star Wars universe, but our Star Trek, or Star Wars universe. 

My familiarity with the established settings, the tones, and the styles used to tell game appropriate stories in these settings is also a major boon. I never require my players to have a deep familiarity with these universes, but I feel that having one myself helps me make them seem more 'real' when I GM. 

That said, a passing familiarity helps a lot, and these are the two most universally well known Space Adventure properties in the history of geekdom. Its extremely easy to run a game in which the players are Starfleet Officers pinned down by Klingon disruptor fire on an ice planet when you don't have to explain what Klingons are, why they might be shooting, and what an ice planet looks like. Sure, you want to describe the features that make this ice planet unique, but the popularity of the setting makes your overall attempt to paint the picture much less stressful. 

Both the aforementioned games feature fairly simple systems, without too much crunch, or at the very least they can be run with the crunch turned down a bit. That's important to me, as I prefer the rules of a game to fade into the background as much as possible. 

While I can run either Star Trek, or Star Wars with minimal prep (virtually none for Star Wars actually), these are games in which I very much enjoy the prep work. 

Other games I find easy are...

Mutants and Masterminds, 3rd Edition
A campaign set in the Silver/Bronze Age DC Comics universe.
Teenagers from Outer Space. I don't even need the book to run it. I can do it from memory.
Faery's Tale Deluxe. It's a simple, rules-lite game, and I'm well versed on the subject matter.

So in conclusion, rules-lite, low crunch games that revolve around specific genres, or properties are among my favorites, and the easiest to run for yours truly.

Next question!

Barking Alien

Monday, August 21, 2017

RPGaDay Challenge 2017 - Day 21

I am starting to lose my enthusiasm for this year's RPGaDay Challenge. 

Many of the questions so far can easily be answered with the same reply of 'Who Cares?'.

Best writing? I don't know. If I read it, and then I want to play it and can, it has good enough writing. Best cover? Seriously? Best interior art? Is this an award ceremony, or an RPG challenge?

This next one is almost intriguing, but only almost.

As I've stated in the past, it is my humble opinion that most RPGs are over-written. 

Too many unnecessarily complex rules, too many rules no one will use because they slow down the game, not enough examples of how gameplay works, but tons of uninteresting game fiction. Ugh. Save me. 

Asking which games do the most with the least amount of words sounds, to me, like a misunderstanding of how games should be written. The question should be, 'Which RPGs have just the right amount of words?', or 'Which RPGs use an economy of words to achieve the best results?'

I would have to say InSpectres is at the top of that category. Golden Sky Stories, the English translation, is another that uses what I feel are the right amount of words to get its point across, no more, and no less. 

I like to think my own game, The Googly Eyed Primetime Puppet Show, does a pretty good job of this, though it is by no means perfect. In fact, it may be a tad underwritten. I hope to do even better with my next product.

That's it. That's all I have to say on the matter.

Can we get an interesting question now please?

Barking Alien

Sunday, August 20, 2017

RPGaDay Challenge 2017 - Day 20

A bit more practical a question.

Not sure what the best source is, but some sources I use include DriveThruRPG, and RPGNow for pdfs, Noble Knight Games, ebay, and used bookstores.

Yes, used bookstores. Especially here in New York City, out-of-print RPGs often turn up at used bookstores. Rarely do you see the hard to find early stuff, but you never know, so it's usually worth your time to check in you're in the market for such things.

Besides, who doesn't love used bookstores?

Barking Alien

RPGaDay Challenge 2017 - Day 19

Long, good weekend.

What do we have here?

I don't know.

Seriously, I do not know. I'm not sure I've ever really considered which games have great writing as opposed to being great games. Yes, I have read games with great writing, and others with poor writing, but I never made a list of the best and worst in my mind. I also don't know that I especially separated the 'writing' from the games that they're in. 

Some of these questions are difficult to answer, not because the question challenges my sensibilities, or makes me think, but because they ask questions I don't really think about the answers to.

My favorite games are games I've read, and re-read many times. I suppose that had great writing. If not, I guess I love crappy writing. 

Whatever works.

Barking Alien

Friday, August 18, 2017

RPGaDay Challenge 2017 - Day 18

In the 'Easy question that's actually hard to answer' category we have...

I would have said this question was a no-brainer, but if I'm being honest, it's not that simple to answer after all. 

I can name the games I've played most often, in no particular order as to which was played more than another, but picking one as tops is pretty hard.

I play a lot of different games. I modify practically all of them. I kitbash games, and merge parts together. I invent my own. That said, there are a number of games I repeatedly come back to, and run with minimal alterations (see Question #16).

Which was played most is difficult because I might say Star Wars D6 by West End Games, and then a week later run a game of Champions 4E. I hadn't played Ars Magica in forever, then ended up running a game for one group, only to start another campaign with a different group two months later.

The games I've played most in my 40 years in the hobby are (in no particular order - er, besides alphabetically):

Champions, 4th Edition (ICE/Hero Games)
Star Trek, Role Playing Game, TOS and TNG (Last Unicorn Games)
Star Trek, The Role Playing Game (FASA)
Star Wars, The Role Playing Game, Second Edition (West End Games)
Traveller, Classic/MegaTraveller hybrid (Games Design Workshop)

Honorable mention goes to Ars Magica, Mekton I & II, Mutants & Masterminds 2nd and 3rd, Teenagers from Outer Space, and Villains & Vigilantes.

I play a lot of different games.

Barking Alien