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User: Martin Ralya: RPG Collection
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Plays
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9
Oct 2014
6.747
Owned
Plays: 1
From reading the rulebook (which is one of my favorite gaming books), I hoped that 13th Age would take the best parts of 3e and 4e, toss the things I hated about those editions, and mix in some things -- collaborative setting creation, player-driven story elements, etc. -- that I love...and that's what it does. It's brilliant.

One Unique Things are a fantastic resource and device. Ditto the icons and icon relationships. The default setting is compelling but malleable, giving the best of both worlds: a shared experience with other groups and a personalized one.

Mechanically, combat is interesting, entertaining, and not overly long. The classes are all interesting as well, and the spin the game puts on them, as well as the way it implements them mechanically, is -- again -- brilliant.

Particularly with d20 burned into my brain, it's an easy game to pick up. I can see why it's recommended for an experienced GM (and players of any experience level), as there are a lot of tools to play with right out of the gate and they all require some skill to implement.

13th Age scratches virtually every itch I wished 3e and 4e would scratch, but didn't, and does it in a way that's both deeply satisfying and uniquely its own. I love it.
2014-10-27
N/A
6.732
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.088
Owned
N/A
6.344
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
7
Feb 2013
6.894
Owned
Plays: 2
I got seriously into gaming with AD&D 2e, so I don't have any special nostalgia for 1st Edition. I've played a couple of short sessions of it at GenCon (Tower of Gygax) and found it an almost complete mismatch for my preferred play style at the time. It adds elements to basic D&D I'm not wild about, but doesn't go far enough in terms of creating a different play experience.

The more interested in OSR games I get, though, the more I look at AD&D differently. There's still stuff about the game I don't see myself enjoying today, but the core is strong, quirky, and interesting. I'd like to give it another shot and see how I feel about it now.

On the whole, though, I'd rather play basic D&D or another fantasy RPG than 1e.
2012-11-27
7
Feb 2013
6.732
Owned
AD&D 2e is the RPG I've played the most, and it will always be surrounded by a warm glow of nostalgia for me. I got my start with Lords of Creation and Mentzer D&D, but this was the first game I bought on my own (1989, Christmas money: PHB, DMG, Monstrous Compendium, Time of the Dragon boxed set), the first game I GMed with a real idea of what I was doing, and the game I played the most from age 12 until around age 23, when I switched to D&D 3e.

I had a ton of fun with it for many of those years. Despite its flaws, it has a lot going for it: quirky underpinnings give it character, the classes are nicely differentiated, the spells are fascinating and often pretty weird, and it was fun to play. It also taught me a lot about tinkering with rules, usually poorly, and about the nature of gaming as a DIY hobby -- with AD&D, you had to DI a lot of things Y. Few people I met played it the same way I did, or the same way anyone else did.

By the back half of my 12 or so years with AD&D, though, its biggest appeal was that everyone played it, so it was easy to find people to play it with. I didn't like the kludge factor, the way combat worked, or many other aspects of the mechanics, and I wanted something new. This being my primary game, that burned me out on gaming for a little bit.

For my first few years with AD&D, it was a 10 -- no question. A 7 is more realistic now. I get why it works the way it does now (which I really didn't back when I actually played), and there's a lot I think I'd enjoy about it if I played it again; there's also quite a bit I'd take out.

...but in some ways, regardless of the cold reality of a rating, it's always going to remain a 10.
2013-02-16
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.498
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
6
Aug 2011
5.879
Owned
Plays: 1
Based on one play of a terrible convention scenario, it's hard to rate the system -- it seemed okay. But the world and the books? Those are amazing.

The setting is really cool, and does things I've never seen a post-apocalyptic setting do before -- but without going so far as to seem unplayable, like Transhuman Space. AO seems very playable, and the world was clearly designed for gaming.

The books are fantastic as well, gorgeous, well-organized, and a pleasure to read. Their production values are some of the highest in the industry, and the landscape format is interesting (if somewhat annoying to hold at time).

AO has been on my shortlist since it came out, and there it remains.
2011-08-03
N/A
6.193
Owned
7
Aug 2011
6.713
Owned
I've only played Amber at cons, and never run it, but I loved every minute of the games I was involved in. What I've never found was the infrastructure to really make it hum as a home game -- namely a group of people who 1) want to play a diceless RPG, 2) are willing to read 1-5 novels before playing, 3) like those novels, and 4) like the idea of player conflict being baked into the game. That's an awfully specific set of ingredients, so Amber has languished unplayed for many years.

Which is too bad, because so-so production values aside, it's an amazing game. The way it managed to produce awesome gaming experiences without using dice taught me quite a bit about how little dice matter -- at times -- in other RPGs. It's also dead simple -- "Is your rating higher? Well, you win unless he changes the terms of the conflict" -- which is a plus.

The best part for me has always been the attribute auction -- it's a perfect mechanic. Not only does it get a large chunk of character creation out of the way all at once, and as a group, but it's also enjoyable in its own right -- and on top of that, gets the whole group in the mindset to play, and feeling like Amberites.

I wish I had more opportunities to play this one, but it's been many years since I last played and will likely be many more.
2011-08-03
N/A
N/A
Owned
8
Mar 2013
7.971
Owned
Plays: 3
AW is tilted enough from traditional gaming that it takes some getting used to, but not in a bad way; it's a really neat game. I like the mix of improv -- often forced on you, which is one of my favorite things about any game -- and shared creation with "hard" mechanics and constrained choices. I'm not sure I've played another game that combines those things in quite this way before.

The way the miss/hit/fantastico mechanic works is great at getting the PCs into trouble. I love being able to sit down at the beginning of the night and have no idea where things will wind up. With everyone creating as they go, it gets twisty quick. Lots of fun.
2013-03-05
N/A
6.021
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
5.799
Owned
N/A
7.058
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.721
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.273
Owned
N/A
5.787
Owned
8
Nov 2012
6.841
Owned
This was the second RPG I ever played (Mentzer/BECMI Basic Set), and the first one where I had the benefit of being introduced to it by someone else. It was magical. That sounds cheesy, but I bet anyone reading this who grew up with D&D feels the same way.

I still write my first character's name on the inside of the front cover of my most special RPG books, and have since age 10 or 11. That's the magic.

D&D opened up an entire new world for me. It's a hobby, sure, but only technically. I've met most of my best friends through gaming, and spent some of my happiest hours playing games with them. Gaming is awesome, and Basic D&D was the key.

Up until recently, I rated this a 4. It didn't seem like a game I'd ever want to play again; I felt like gaming had advanced and moved on. But in January 2012 I got nostalgic and started researching old school gaming, the OSR movement, and retro-clones, and I saw that this wasn't stale and old, it was just different. There's a mode of play at work here that I never experienced when I played D&D, and haven't experienced since. I want to try it again with fresh eyes.
2013-02-16
N/A
5.911
Owned
N/A
6.749
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.544
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.384
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
8
Feb 2014
6.259
Owned
Plays: 2
My rating is based on using Bulldogs! to play Mass Effect, using 95% of the Bulldogs! rules plus a considerable number of house rules for Mass Effect plus a touch of Fate Core. Bulldogs! is a lot of fun, and its proven to be a solid baseline for Mass Effect.

It's also my first contact with Fate as a system, and I like how things work. Aspects, while initially very difficult for me to come up with, work beautifully in play and neatly summarize a character in meaningful ways in just a few phrases.

I like this flavor of Fate. It's tight, concise, and effective -- not to mention a lot of fun in play.
2014-02-23
N/A
N/A
Owned
7
Aug 2011
5.886
Owned
I love Bunnies & Burrows, and haven't gotten a chance to play it in years. The GURPS version is a pale imitation of the weird and wonderful FGU original, which is one of the most charming games around.

Part of my love is tied up in the experience, which is one reason rating RPGs is so hard for me: ConnCon, early nineties, with Jonathan Heiles -- whose business card read "Storyteller" -- in the GM's chair. He made B&B magical, played it straight without ever being boring, and gave his table free reign to do fun things in a unique way.

I don't remember much about B&B's mechanics, except that they worked well. I loved the subsystem for Petals, which included rules for cheating (always the best part), and "fiver" -- the highest rabbits can count being four, with anything over that being fiver -- is one of my favorite concepts in any RPG ever.

If someone walked up to me today and said, "Let's play Bunnies & Burrows," I'd jump at the chance.
2011-08-03
7
Aug 2011
6.641
Owned
Burning Empires is a game I think is amazing, and want to love, but it's marred by one of the worst first-play experiences I've had in 20+ years of gaming.

The game is brilliant. It uses the Burning Wheel mechanics well, and iterates, and makes explicit something that is often done implicitly -- scene framing -- in a really clever way. But man did that clever way piss my group off. They hated the idea that they could only play X scenes, and felt that it took away their freedom as players; I can see where they were coming from.

There were other factors, too, but that was the biggie. Significant for me in terms of a rating, though, is that I love the setting and the big ideas I see in this game, and I want to play it again. I found some aspects of it awkward, but they seemed like they could have been awkward due to a bad session and lack of familiarity -- BE doesn't play like a traditional RPG in a lot of ways.

There's zero chance this will come out again with my group, so it's likely to stay on the shelf for years to come.
2011-08-03
9
Aug 2011
5.852
Owned
Everything I said about revised BW applies to classic; I've just played more revised.
2011-08-04
9
Aug 2011
7.099
Owned
Burning Wheel is one of the best RPGs I've ever played.

I should be GMing it, but it also intimidates the hell out of me as a GM -- for no good reason, really. The biggest bad reasons are that it would require more work than I have time for right now (creating or adapting a setting, and then digging into the related mechanics), and that my group has no interest in it.

But the times I've gotten to play this at GenCon, with Luke running it, have been some of the best gaming experiences in my life, bar none. Simply amazing.

I'm not a great player; I'm decent, and I can be great at times, but usally I shine as the GM. But not in BW -- this game, its mechanics, the way the rules dovetail beautifully with roleplaying -- and encourage it, even demand it -- combined with Luke's energy have pulled some of the best playing out of me that I've ever done.

I love the mechanics behind adding dice to your pool, or to someone else's, and the scripted combat is both challenging and a lot of fun. But the best part of BW is the Duel of Wits system, which not only resolves PC vs. PC conflicts like no other game I've ever played, but makes something that often isn't terribly fun in RPGs -- having a debate -- an awesome, unforgettable, and tremendously fun experience.

BW is the best RPG I'm not playing nearly enough of.
2011-08-04
N/A
7.239
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
7.331
Owned
9
Aug 2011
8.002
Owned
Plays: 3
Call of Cthulhu is one of my favorite RPGs, and one I'll never turn down a chance to play. I was introduced to it and to Lovecraft at the same time, in my sophomore year of high school, and it turned everything I thought I knew about gaming on its head. ("Wait, not only do I want to go insane and then die, but that's the best part about the game?")

The system shows its age when compared to sleeker games, but it also does its job without getting in the way of gameplay, and the core mechanic remains one of the simplest to grok -- especially for non-gamers. Everyone understands rating things by percentage! Mechanically, the sanity system is the best part of CoC, as it should be.

In terms of feel, CoC really nails its source material, making it easy to play wimps with questionable judgment and an unhealthy interest in the occult -- or ordinary folks surprised to learn what the world's really like. I especially like the fact that anything really cool and Mythos-related that you learn or acquire makes your character worse.

I've never played or run CoC as a campaign game, only in one-shots -- where it shines. It's almost always a satisfying experience, and it fires my imagination during and between sessions like few other RPGs. With a group that likes Lovecraft, or "gets" CoC, or better yet, both, playing CoC has created some of my best gaming memories over the years.
2011-08-03
N/A
5.653
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.037
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.167
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
5.987
Owned
5
Mar 2012
5.790
Owned
As a gateway to gaming, Choose Your Own Adventure books deserve more than a 5. But as an actual game, compared to the wealth of much more satisfying games that came before and since, they're a 5.

I love CYOA for being one of the things that helped get me into gaming. They gave me a framework for understanding Lords of Creation and D&D when I encountered them, though I'd probably be a gamer without CYOA.

Anyhoo: Fun concept, well-executed, a bit cheesy, and ultimately less enjoyable than actually gaming. I consider this kind of a borderline inclusion for RPGG, but I'll err on the side of listing my experience with it.
2012-03-06
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
5.535
Owned
N/A
5.947
Owned
N/A
6.655
Owned
7
Feb 2012
N/A
Owned
Cthulhu Live is the only non-homebrew LARP system I've ever played, and I love it. It's simple, does what it's supposed to do, and facilitates exactly the kind of gameplay it's supposed to facilitate.

It's a LARP, so a lot of what makes it great -- even moreso than with a tabletop game -- is the way actual sessions are organized. My experience comes from GenCon, with a good organizer and good GMs, and that's what I remember most about playing it -- not the rules. The rules are there for the few times a session when they really come up, as they should be.
2011-08-05
N/A
5.872
Owned
N/A
4.737
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
8
Nov 2012
5.591
Owned
Modern is the only version of d20 that I've played that I would ever play again for more than a session or two, and alongside d20 Call of Cthulhu it's one of the best things to come out of the d20 System era.

It's a tight system that strips away some of the annoyances of D&D 3.0, and the setting strips away the rest -- most notably the insane reliance on magic items that D&D 3e and 3.5 demanded, and which drove me away from that system. None of that is needed in Modern, and the result is a streamlined, reasonably simple, versatile system that's fun to play.

The "[Adjective] Hero" classes sound boring at first, but work really well in play. Like all d20 games, what I missed in Modern were any mechanical ties to roleplaying -- the system didn't discourage it (like D&D 4e seems to), but it certainly didn't facilitate it.

My experience with Modern is in the context of two years of Stargate play, and it was well-suited to that setting and play style. With it's small but excellent line of supplements, I can see it working well for all sorts of other campaigns, too.
2013-02-07
7
Jan 2014
5.709
Owned
I love this setting, but not everything about the system; it's crunchier than I'd like in places, particularly combat, but also quite clever in other places.

If I ran this today, I'd most likely convert it to another system -- but I suspect if I didn't, it would still be quite enjoyable using its original system.
2014-01-21
N/A
5.981
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.726
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
7.436
Owned
N/A
6.142
Owned
8
May 2013
7.008
Owned
Plays: 1
This is a light, loose game that captures the feel of the show and mechanically encourages everyone at the table to emulate the show -- a combination I enjoy in licensed property RPGs. It's got some things in common with Decipher Trek (and apparently even more in common with Buffy), which is a plus, and the rules are incredibly easy to learn. It's a blast to play.

What impresses me most is how it makes a group that includes one time lord PC fun for everyone. In my first session I played a companion (a psychic robot with a built-in teleportation device, which was pleasantly easy to create; character generation is also a lot of fun) and always felt like I had something interesting to do.

The way story points are implemented is fantastic, giving you lots of options and making it possible to achieve fantastic successes when all the chips are down. It's a great game overall.
2013-05-12
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
7.512
Owned
N/A
7.095
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
7
Jan 2015
6.869
Owned
Plays: 3
The AGE system is a neat and pleasantly light. Character creation is quick, but there are interesting options and choices to be made. I love how much the game does with the Dragon Die, and rolling 3d6 for things is a fun change of pace.

Combat is a bit bland if you rarely roll doubles, for stunts, but I suppose that's true of a lot of games. It looks like a game where combat will always have interesting mechanical stuff going on, but sans stunt rolls it's more like old school D&D: You have make things interesting rather than choosing from a menu of interesting options (like in D&D 4e, let's say).

On balance, I like it.
2015-01-04
8
Mar 2012
N/A
Owned
DragonMech is one of my favorite things to come out of the d20 System boom. It's a fascinating, unique, gonzo setting backed up by great products (disclaimer: I wrote a chapter in one of them, Almanac of the Endless Traders), and it's just plain fun.

Chunks of the moon are falling to earth, and the only way to survive is inside giant mechs -- including some the size of cities, hundreds of feet tall. Weird? You bet. But it works, and it's the only time I've ever bought mechs as part of a fantasy setting.

This is one of a handful of d20 games I'd love to play again, though I might swap out the d20 stuff for another system (Savage Worlds seems like a good fit).
2012-03-06
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
7
Aug 2011
7.374
Owned
Dread is The Sexy, and a great example of a system that perfectly weds mechanics to actual play to theme to mood.

You create your character by answering questions related to the kind of game you're going to play, like "Why do you get beaten up in school?" These serve as your stats, more or less. All resolution is done by making a pull from a Jenga tower; you only pull when something is important. If you topple the tower, your character dies or otherwise leaves play.

In practice, this creates a palpable sense of dread that mounts as the session progresses -- exactly like the source material, namely horror movies, and exactly as it's supposed. In the GenCon event I played, we were all pushed three feet out from the table halfway through, for fear of accidentally toppling the tower -- that's how tense it was!

Awesome game.
2011-08-03
N/A
N/A
Owned
9
Apr 2015
7.556
Owned
Plays: 8
City creation and some character creation: The DFRPG calls out character creation as play -- something I wouldn't have considered play a few years ago. But it is! And I consider city creation in the same light: It feels like, and is, play. The city creation system is beautiful.

We actually backed up a step and used Microscope to create the city's history, then Dresden to flesh it out according to the rules. Basically, most of the "chat about what sounds interesting" stuff from Dresden was already done, and then some -- and best of all, Microscope's organic, textured, surprising result made for a city that fascinated us and which was unlike what we would otherwise have come up with.

The DFRPG is flavorful and so, so tightly done. All of the many powers and options are interesting, and it all feels very Dresden.

Post-creation play: Beautiful. This game captures the feel of the series while giving us the tools we need to flavor it our own way. Playing it feels like the books.

From what I've seen, the powers and other major mechanical elements are also excellent reflections of the books -- while, more importantly, being fun and interesting in play.
2015-04-27
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
8
Feb 2013
7.395
Owned
Plays: 1
After one play -- Portal Under the Stars as an adventure funnel -- it's hard to judge this game on all of its possible merits. We never saw the magic system, mighty deeds, or any class abilities, for example.

What we did see was a hoot, and maybe more of one than I was expecting. The random character generation is great, and we grew quite attached to a couple of our scrubs (though, sadly, they died). Nothing went as I expected it to, which is a treat for me as a GM.

It's probably got a bit too much D&D 3.x in its DNA for my tastes, and a bit too little in the way of the operational rules I expect from an old school game, but it's a fine game overall -- and its quirks and unique features make it stand out in good ways.

I don't think my group will play it again, but I'd happily give it another try with 1st-level characters to see what the meat of the system feels like in play. What I saw produced a fun evening and a lot of laughs, which was what I hoped for.
2013-02-16
8
Nov 2013
7.849
Owned
Plays: 3
Like Apocalypse World, my start with DW was halting; it takes some time to get into the rhythm of the game, which is different than most other RPGs. That said, I like it and I love this style of improv-heavy gaming where you never know where things will go. Wedding that approach to dungeon crawling is a cool idea, and it leads to interesting places.

I like the self-contained nature of the characters, the ease with which a campaign can be spun up (and then spun off in surprising directions), and the "fiction first" core of the game.
2013-11-19
3
Aug 2011
6.752
Owned
Plays: 3
3.5e seemed like it would be an improvement over 3e, but in the end it was plagued by the same problems for me, primarily hours-long combats and an excess of number-crunching. It did fix 3e's "dead" levels, which was nice, but that wasn't nearly enough,

My group played a campaign that ran from 3rd to 21st level, which was the first time I've done that and the first time I've seen what high-level D&D could be like over a long period. Leveling was agony, and the dependence on magic items -- and the exact right ones, or you'd get screwed in fights -- drove me nuts, as did the painfully long and boring combats.

But the spells turned out to be cool (at least for the spellcasters), and by 21st level we were shaping the campaign world in wild and capricious ways in almost every session -- that was very cool, and a great way to round out 3.5e and put it to bed for good.
2013-02-16
3
Aug 2011
6.366
Owned
3e was like a breath of fresh air when it came out. Along with my friends, I watched Regdar announce it at GenCon 2000, lined up for my copy, and pored over it with great enthusiasm back in our room. It changed so many things about AD&D that needed changing, and improved it in so many ways, yet it still felt like D&D. Gary Gygax signed my PHB at the con, which I'll always treasure.

Then came 10th level. I've heard this from other folks, too -- it's a great game until around 10th level, when combat starts taking a billion hours and everything is complicated and un-fun. Below 10th level, it runs smoothly and everyone has a great time.

Once the bloom was off rose, it became pretty clear why I don't like this game: combat takes for-fucking-ever, d20 in general is too swingy as a die mechanic (though that can be fun, at times), there are dead levels with no new abilities, and the game does very little to encourage actual roleplaying. Previous editions of D&D didn't either, but they were faster, more freeform, and far less crunchy; you had more gaps to fill in.

D&D 3e is one of the few RPGs I've played that I never, ever want to see darken my doorstep again. Of course, as it ages and my tastes as a gamer change, I could see it getting another chance.
2013-02-16
3
Aug 2011
6.269
Owned
Plays: 37
After the disappointment that D&D 3.x became for me, I had high hopes for 4e. When I picked up the core books, it seemed like I'd gotten what I wanted: a sleeker version of D&D that dispensed with a lot of the cruft and bullshit in favor of purer fun. What I got was a combat miniatures game that could, if you had time, include roleplaying.

Combat in 4e takes way too fucking long, just like 3.x, but now it's the ONLY good thing about the game. Everything your character can do, with the slim exception of an underwhelming skill list, is about combat. Consequently, 4e delivers the best and most exhilarating combat I've ever played in an RPG -- it's phenomenal, and that's true despite how long it takes.

The synergy between roles and powers and abilities among party members makes almost every fight memorable and, with a good GM, a nail-biting thrill ride as well; "combat as sport" at very nearly its best. It's that good. But there's not much else there. The rest of the game is a hollow shell, and I like my RPGs to put some creamy goodness in the shell to go with the combat -- or, like basic D&D, to leave things loosey-goosey enough that we can fill the shell during play. 4e does neither.

I could play it again in one-shots -- which might turn out to be where it shines the brightest -- or in short bursts with infrequent-but-important battles, but that's about it. After 10+ years of D&D 3e, 3.5e, and 4e, I put 4e to bed feeling like a lifelong D&D player who no longer enjoyed D&D -- which brought me back to the early editions, funnily enough.

4e is a brilliantly executed game that really works for some folks; that's fantastic. Those folks aren't me.
2012-11-27
N/A
7.887
Owned
N/A
6.801
Owned
6
May 2013
6.176
Owned
Plays: 2
Durance is a challenging game, particularly when it comes to framing good questions as the Guide. I found it much less intuitive than Fiasco or Microscope, both of which are in its DNA and do similar things in some ways.

I like the core concept and the planet/colony creation, which impose constraints in interesting ways. I wish it was a bit clearer about its procedures (which Fiasco and Microscope are); as of this writing it makes me wish I had more experience with indie RPGs because I feel like it assumes I do.

---

A second session makes me more sure I want to try this with someone who knows it well. It's a challenging game and I don't quite grok it. It feels clumsy at times, and I often wonder if I'm doing things right because it's less fun than I'd like it to be. It does things I like, though.
2013-05-07
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.820
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
7.263
Owned
N/A
5.395
Owned
N/A
6.113
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
7
Mar 2012
N/A
Owned
Unlike CYOA books, you can't die in the Tenopia series. That takes away some of the pressure, but in exchange you get cooler things to do. You solve puzzles, figure out riddles, and need to make notes about things you learn, places you've been, etc.

Having only one ending (you escape or you don't!) and not being able to bie might bug some folks, but it's a spin on the formula that I like. These were fun to play as a kid, and I think I'd actually still enjoy them today.

Compared to actual gaming, these don't stand up quite as well, but compared to other CYOA-style books, they're really cool -- the best of the breed.
2012-03-08
N/A
6.370
Owned
N/A
6.014
Owned
N/A
5.800
Owned
N/A
6.900
Owned
N/A
2.870
Owned
N/A
6.654
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
7.632
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
6
Aug 2011
7.045
Owned
Based on one session many years ago, I'd play Feng Shui again. The biggest aspect of it that I remember is the mook mechanic, which is brilliant and easily dritfable into other games.

Apart from that, I remember it being silly, fun, and madcap, which looks like what it sets out to be.
2011-08-03
9
Aug 2011
7.886
Owned
Plays: 3
Fiasco is pure brilliance.

From substance to style, it's simple, flawlessly executed, infinitely expandable, incredibly well supported with free playsets and play aids, and an absolute blast to play. Everything in the book is there for a reason -- no cruft, no bullshit, just an amazing game in a small package. It also fills more of a boardgame niche than an RPG niche -- shorter, geared to single sessions, and with none of the trappings of a traditional RPG; I think that's neat.

I've only gotten to play this once, a casual game with friends at GenCon 2010, but it was one of the best and most fun gaming experiences I've ever had.

For some reason, my group has been very lukewarm about trying this -- which drive me nuts, because I think they'd love it.
2011-08-03
N/A
N/A
Owned
6
Mar 2012
6.440
Owned
I played one (maybe two?) of these back when I was a teenager, and it was fun. I like the concept, and when no actual gaming was available it was a nice diversion and a decent substitute.

These days, there are a lot of other alternatives for bite-sized entertainment that make the FF Gamebooks obsolete for me. I can see why other folks enjoy them, though.
2012-03-06
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
5.437
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.460
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
5.821
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.561
Owned
N/A
6.301
Owned
N/A
6.533
Owned
N/A
6.754
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
4
Aug 2011
6.472
Owned
GURPS is weird. It marries one of my favorite character creations systems to one of my least-favorite game systems, and the end product is a game I have no interest in playing.

Making a GURPS character is a joy. There are so many options, most of which encourage roleplaying choices, and the end product has always been a character I was happy with -- and one that felt pretty well-realized, to boot.

...and then I had to play. The core mechanic is okay, but combat is kludgy and un-fun; most other aspects of the game swing that way, too. If I knew someone who had a raging hard-on for GURPS, I would very reluctantly give it another shot.
2012-02-19
N/A
6.935
Owned
N/A
5.675
Owned
N/A
6.530
Owned
N/A
6.610
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.737
Owned
N/A
5.613
Owned
N/A
6.758
Owned
N/A
5.796
Owned
7
Aug 2011
6.717
Owned
I played HEX once, at GenCon 2009, with the creator of the game, and it was a fantastic experience.

The system is quick and punchy, and I love the core die mechanic and the use of poker chips. The setting encourages an over-the-top play style, which in turn feeds right into the setting, and it all just works together.

My group has never been interested in a pulp game, but if that ever changes this or Spirit of the Century will be what I break out. I'd also love to see this engine married to other settings -- similar in tone, different in the particulars.
2011-08-03
N/A
6.348
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.689
Owned
9
Apr 2013
6.006
Owned
Plays: 23
Hunter is a great game. Its spin on the World of Darkness is fantastic, as are the flawed and dangerous characters it encourages you to create. It uses my favorite version of the core system, too -- the one with the most levers for the GM to pull and the most reasonable chance of success for actions.

The world is nifty, especially the fact that hunters are all driven to a degree that most people would find disturbing, which makes them fascinating as characters. Without shackling you, it encourages you to create hunters who wind up acting like hunters; madness is always on the horizon, and things get dark fast.

My only complaint is the graphic design of the books, which can sometimes feature as many as four wildly different fonts on the same page. The orange I don't mind.
2013-04-14
N/A
6.790
Owned
7
May 2013
6.866
Owned
Plays: 2
It's hard to rate an RPG that states that it doesn't really come into its own until several sessions in, as this one does, after a single session, but: I like it.

The web of relationships is fun to build, the oracles are inspiring and extracting characters from them is fun, and I see much to look forward to.

---

Halfway through my second session the mechanic started to click with me. The head space shift required to go from conflict to thinking about that conflict in more meta terms is challenging but interesting. I want to see more of this game.
2013-05-28
N/A
6.385
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
7.024
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.530
Owned
N/A
5.440
Owned
N/A
6.611
Owned
2
Aug 2011
5.762
Owned
I feel bad rating this a 2 because it succeeds at being what it wants to be, but what it is isn't actually any fun to play. Sure, shouting "Kobolds ate my baby!" at the top of your lungs and pissing off the neighbors was fun for the first five minutes, but the rest of the time it felt like everyone was just playing because we'd started playing.

There isn't supposed to be much here, and there isn't much here; that's not a game I need to play again. One play around 1999 or so was enough.
2012-02-19
N/A
6.668
Owned
8
May 2012
6.840
Owned
Plays: 1
This is a fantastic retroclone clone: easy to reference in play, clear to read, and fun to play. I own B/X D&D, but chose LL because it combines both books into one, offers a hook-in for options through the AEC, and is simple to use.

It has excellent operational rules for the stuff players tend to do in dungeons, and it all works well in play. The index could be better, but at least there is one. Steve Zeiser's iconic art is both old school (and excellent) and establishes LL's brand as distinct from TSR's old trade dress, which I like.

All in all, this is a great go-to for old school fantasy gaming, and it feels like the right rules level for me. Not quite as loose as S&S WhiteBox, but not as crunchy as AD&D onwards.
2012-05-28
N/A
6.558
Owned
8
Oct 2013
7.344
Owned
Plays: 3
This game accomplishes a lot with half a page of rules, a page of setting, and some compelling characters. I can see how it would be very different every time, too, and there are plenty of reasons to play it more than once. Most importantly, it's a lot of fun.

The rules didn't click for me until my first session was underway, but after that things flowed well. The game encourages proactive, lively play to (or against) one's character's type, and it's easy to get into.
2013-10-15
N/A
6.651
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
7
Jan 2014
6.080
Owned
Plays: 2
I found this a bit harder to wrap my head around than I'd expected, but perhaps I was just tired. It's a fun game, and fun to GM. I love it when improvisation from all participants fuels further improv from all participants, and L&F accomplishes that nicely.

The adventure generator is fantastic, and produces interesting results. Ditto the simple yet evocative choices that players make about their ship and characters, and what all of that implies about the universe they live in. For fitting on a page, it's pretty damned impressive.

I was confused whether -any- die coming up exact means laser feelings and a possible reroll, or if they all needed to come up exact. We played it the first way, and it seemed fine.
2014-01-07
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.611
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
5.391
Owned
N/A
5.884
Owned
2
Aug 2011
5.200
Owned
This is the game that first exposed me to roleplaying in 1987, and I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for it -- but I never want to play it again.

Back when I was 10, I picked it on sale at Barnes and Noble -- I thought the cover was cool, though neither I nor my parents really had any idea what it was. Flipping through it at home, I latched onto the equipment lists (I've always been an equipment whore in RPGs); the first solo "sessions" with friends involved both of us getting a budget and picking out equipment, and then me narrating short...things...about what happened. It wasn't quite gaming.

Later on, when I had a vague idea what I was doing, we used some of the rules and I GMed while my friend played. The stories were weird, and the rules were terrible; we ignored a lot of them, which in retrospect wasn't weird -- I did that in AD&D, too. Once I played D&D for the first time, it wasn't long before LoC wound up on the shelf, never to be played again.

(Also noteworthy: I painted in the numbers on the dice and tried to seal them with a matte spray. It didn't go so well.)
2013-02-25
N/A
6.570
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
5
Aug 2011
4.759
Owned
MWWG smudges the line between "Stupid in a really fun way" and "Trying way too hard," and my high school group's one session of it featured both sides of that line.

The best part was creating characters, which involved a lot of inappropriate PC sketches and laughing at the powers. Actual gameplay was pretty meh, though, a bit like a Saturday Night Live sketch that went on too long.
2011-08-03
7
Aug 2011
6.919
Owned
I played a fantastic and memorable Mage campaign in college, and it instilled in me a love of this game and its freeform approach to magic.

It's a cool world with a cool vibe, and a lot of the traditions are pretty nifty -- though they never quite clicked with me as a player (I played a Bygone, instead). They always seemed designed to be self-consciously cool first, and playable second; never a good thing.

When Mage: The Awakening came out, I found the Mage game I really wanted -- but Ascension remains a nifty game with a lot of potential.
2011-08-03
8
Feb 2012
6.793
Owned
From the amazing backstory to the way it fleshes out the traditions and the world but leaves plenty of room to take it in your own directions, I love this game.

Despite many flaws -- introduced by me, not the game -- the year-long Mage campaign I ran for my group remains the second-best campaign I've ever run. A lot of that was due to the way the world fired my imagination -- it's just so damned full of potential, and cool corners to explore -- and the way the mechanics work and encourage roleplaying.

Like most White Wolf games, it's hard to sit still or stay neutral in Mage. That led to too much PC conflict in our campaign, but it's not a given; there are plenty of reasons for mages to work together, and if I run it again I'd do a better job of ensuring that we employed one of those reasons.
2011-08-03
N/A
5.846
Owned
N/A
4.865
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
8
Jul 2012
7.219
Owned
Plays: 8
This game is awesome. It captures the feel of supers better than any other RPG I've played, including my previous favorite, FASERIP Marvel. I absolutely love that it forces everyone at the table to improvise constantly, and that there's never a moment where the whole table isn't engaged -- opportunities can be considered, actions can involve other characters, the fluid initiative system fosters engagement, etc.

I also love that it's a very story game, indie, game-y take on a property that -- had they played it safe -- could easily have gone the stodgy and traditional route and still made money.

Making characters is a blast, too, and the flexibility that starts there is carried through the entire system and play experience. But, again, what it does best is capture the feel of supers -- and that's the most important thing.
2012-07-08
8
Oct 2014
N/A
Owned
Plays: 22
* Disclaimer: I worked on this RPG (additional design, proofreading). *

Fate and Mass Effect are pretty much a perfect marriage, and Bulldogs! (the framework for the MERPG) is a great foundation. The rules -- medium crunch, with a level of tactical complexity I enjoy but without any cruft or baggage -- work smoothly in play, and it's just plain fun.

Most importantly (apart from being fun), it feels like Mass Effect, something that can be hard to get right with games based on existing IP.
2014-08-12
N/A
6.069
Owned
N/A
6.162
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
8
Nov 2013
N/A
Owned
Plays: 1
What a fantastic little game. It's like a Choose Your Own Adventure or Fighting Fantasy book, only better written and more fun. You have a character and stats; you make choices and compete in contests.

But you're also asked to get inside your guy's head at different points, and those choices -- and the notes you made about them -- matter later on. My first session was 30 enjoyable minutes long, told a story (a rather depressing one; my guy was kind of a dick), and made me want to play again.

That might sound like a subtle tweak on the formula, but in combination with the tight presentation and writing, an alchemy occurs: There's roleplaying here that I've never experienced when playing a gamebook. I felt involved in a way that was much more like how I'd get into a non-solitaire RPG session, or a solo board game session when playing a board game that tells a story, like Arkham Horror or Astra Titanus. It's hard to explain, but: good stuff.

There are plenty of choices involved, and the stuff you make up on the fringes of the game space will be different every time, so I can see this having good replayability. It's also difficult to win; that's a good thing.

I've never played a game quite like it. I'm enamored of it, and I recommend it.
2013-11-08
N/A
5.810
Owned
9
Apr 2013
7.411
Owned
Plays: 3
Microscope: Holy fuckballs.

This game promises a unique experience, and it delivers. The combination of delicious anticipation ("My turn is next and I cannot WAIT to put X in the history") and constant surprises ("That is NOT how I expected that scene to go...") is superb.

I love improvisation, being in the hotseat, knowing I can't break anything, surprising the other players, being surprised, riffing and building and breaking down and driving the game in wild directions, and the pure acts of creation that Microscope fosters.

That all that comes out of such a slim book is doubly impressive. It feels intuitive after reading the rules; I feel like I could run it after just one session.

Brilliant game.

---

Having now also used it to collaboratively create the history of Boston for our Dresden Files game, I say again: brilliant game.
2015-04-04
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
7.419
Owned
N/A
7.527
Owned
N/A
6.429
Owned
N/A
6.249
Owned
N/A
7.415
Owned
9
Jan 2012
6.887
Owned
Plays: 1
This is a superb game. I used it to introduce Alysia to roleplaying (she played, I MCed), and it's a blast to play. It's got all the intimacy of solo roleplaying with the added juice that comes from creeping yourself out in the process. Making it explicitly a two-player game was a brilliant design choice.

It's essentially a Choose Your Own Adventure with roleplaying, as it uses Blackjack as its core mechanic and progresses according to entries -- self-contained cues, decision points, and scenes. That's a bit reductive, though, because it makes it sound like there isn't much potential for actual roleplaying when in fact there is.

It gives you good advice on what to do, but leaves actual decisions up to the players, and it can be creepy as hell. In fact, I can't imagine running this as written, with someone who's into horror, and not creeping yourselves out.
2013-02-25
N/A
6.768
Owned
N/A
6.661
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.746
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.779
Owned
N/A
7.008
Owned
N/A
6.039
Owned
N/A
6.824
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
5.302
Owned
N/A
5.892
Owned
7
Aug 2011
5.874
Owned
Og is all about the hook, which is a lot of fun: You can only say 16 specific words in character. The rest of the game is pretty much irrelevant -- at least 75% of the fun in a session is derived from that word list and the layer of lunacy it adds to every aspect of gameplay.

It's a game you know up front not to take seriously, and it's a lot of fun to play. Very beer-and-pretzels, light on rules and long on improvisation, and very easy to run with little or no prep.

I honestly don't know why this one doesn't come out more often -- it's a perfect last-minute one-shot game.
2011-08-03
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.267
Owned
N/A
7.454
Owned
N/A
5.528
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
5.881
Owned
N/A
6.932
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
9
Oct 2012
7.224
Owned
My Paranoia GM back in high school, Stephan, was so good that I think he ruined me for Paranoia in any other context. That's the only explanation I have for only playing this a couple of times since then, because I love Paranoia.

I love the setting, the clones, the ROYGBIV stuff, the names, the seething mistrust, the player conflict, the adversial GM-players relationship, and the lunacy. It does so many things that shouldn't work in an RPG, and makes them not only work but work well. And it's fun to play, wondering what everyone else's agendas are and trying to pursue your own -- all while trying not to get killed by the myriad crazy things that are out to kill you.

Solidly in the "This is fantastic, so why don't I play it more often" category. (To which question the answer is, as usual, "Time.")
2012-10-07
9
Oct 2012
7.257
Owned
I've only played Mongoose Paranoia once, but once was enough to determine that it seemed to be just as good as WEG Paranoia (2e).
2013-02-25
7
Aug 2011
7.674
Owned
Pendragon is a quirky game that does a lot of things I'd like to explore in greater detail -- I've only played a few sessions of it.

In particular, I love the system for passions and how those mechanics impact roleplaying; I love the seasonal gameplay, and the dramatic difference between winter and the other seasons; I love that combat is deadly and things are generally pretty Medieval; and I love the concept of generational gameplay.

I'd really like to try a Pendragon campaign, but it's never quite risen to the top of my group's list. It's the kind of game that you need to embrace without hanging onto too many preconceptions about how a fantasy game should work -- it's not a traditional fantasy RPG, and it's especially not D&D.
2011-08-03
N/A
7.089
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
8
Feb 2014
N/A
Owned
Plays: 3
This game is unlike any I've played before, which is why it piqued my interest: I loved the concept of 3 GMs and 1 player, and it's a fun challenge to put into practice. There was definitely some feeling things out and awkwardness in our first session, but once we got past most of that it got easier.

I love being able to introduce things as a GM and not have any part in their resolution, or even in determining what's going on under the hood. "Here's [a thing]" and then the ball passes to another GM, and then back to the third GM, and then the player rolls and someone else narrates the outcome. It's a cool dynamic.

I'm a sucker for light games, single-session games, self-contained games, games that mess with traditional dynamics, and the sub-genre of "superpowers with problems," so this one is pretty much laser-targeted at me. It's a neat game.

--- Second session moved this from a 7 to an 8. I'm not great at being the Monster, but this game is a lot of fun.
2014-02-25
8
Feb 2015
N/A
Owned
Plays: 1
The Plant plays just as quickly as the rulebook indicates, about 20 minutes including prep. The prep is simple and intriguing, because you prep things without knowing why.

The rules promise an emergent, surprisingly affecting story, and that's exactly what actual play delivered for me. I wasn't expecting the ending I got at all, nor the path I took to get there.

I kept a little journal, with a sentence or two about each room and outcome -- which the book recommends -- and none of my assumptions panned out. I prepped different things than I thought I would, distancing myself from the daughter in the story (I have a daughter, age 5, so I made my Plant daughter much older). In play, I went with what felt right and a poignant, bitter story emerged.

The ending I got was like a kick in the gut. Totally unexpected.

I'm very glad I played this. Knowing what one of the endings is, much like a Choose Your Own Adventure I'd want to see what the others are. Unlike a CYOA book, though, the prep and random room order would mean that my personal story would actually be different every time, and I bet that would color the ending -- even if I got the same one, it would feel different.

What a neat game.
2015-02-02
N/A
5.943
Owned
N/A
7.102
Owned
N/A
5.525
Owned
9
Jun 2014
7.163
Owned
Plays: 10
This is a neat game, and one that uses agency in interesting ways. As a common thread, "It's a show like [X]" is powerful, and in my first game while it took us a whole evening of circling around to arrive at a concept that gelled, we loved what we came up with. The game is good at getting everyone on the same page.

It's neat in play, too, though like a lot of games that play with and against the traditional model my first session was bumpy. But fun-bumpy, the kind of bumpy I want to play again to get better at it.

---

After a few more sessions, I fucking love this game. Once the series premise really sinks in, and everyone's feeling it, man does it hum along.
2014-05-06
N/A
6.343
Owned
N/A
6.470
Owned
N/A
5.948
Owned
9
Aug 2013
6.491
Owned
Plays: 3
Man, this is a fantastic game! The premise is lean and taut, the core mechanic is superb, and the structure of the game parcels out narrative responsibilities in a way that's fun and which all but guarantees full-tilt, wildly inventive action.

Character creation is fun and quick, as is GMing prep -- all of which can be accomplished in just a few minutes, plus a few more for an explanation of the rules. Little details provided by one player get picked up by everyone else, and the dice ensure that nothing turns out quite how anyone expects.

Every session is a gem, too, full of surprises, twists (PC questions are never answered how I think they will be), and fun for everyone. There's very little downtime, every roll matters and takes the game and the story in different directions, and by the end I care about everyone involved.

So good!

Nerd note: My first play on August 27, 2013 marked the 75th discrete RPG I've played.
2013-09-24
N/A
N/A
Owned
9
Mar 2015
7.111
Owned
Plays: 1
This game is so good.

The rules do everything they're supposed to do, clearly enunciating how to play and why you play that way. Sharing the reading responsibilities is a brilliant touch, ensuring that everyone is invested in the experience.

My first game sums up my feelings pretty well: Our seeds for our community in a mountainous region were dangerous winter runoff, toxic clouds in the lowlands, and mountain watchtowers.

When the Frost Shepherds showed up, they found us busily skinning and tanning our dogs to wear as winter clothing while guarded by an army of clones called Walkers Rangers, most of whom worship the Church of the Skywell, all of which made our mandatory breeding program seem pretty vanilla.

That play ran four satisfying hours, about an hour longer than I expected. I think it'd be faster the second time, and likely a bit tighter, too -- we got pretty zany and Fallout-y around the end of hour three.
2015-03-29
N/A
6.443
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
5.854
Owned
7
Oct 2014
6.157
Owned
Plays: 3
I like Risus. There's more under the hood than its minimal rules suggest (the Companion, which is fantastic, delves into just how much more), and it's as light and flexible as it's billed to be.

Based on my first session running it, zero-prep with some Microscope yes/no group setting creation and Story Cubes for inspiration on the fly, it's going to take some getting used to. How much of that feeling is Risus and how much is all that other stuff, I'm not sure.

But I dig it. I want to see what else it can do, and how I can use it in different situations. Something about it clicks with me.
2014-10-15
N/A
6.271
Owned
8
May 2015
6.527
Owned
Plays: 1
Executioner (2015): For a 200-word game that takes just a couple of minutes to play, this packs a wallop.

Upon finishing my first play, my reaction was, "That's it?" But I found myself thinking of it after I was done, and then returning to it to examine all the options, and then second-guessing my choices, and then thinking about heavy stuff. It stuck with me, punching well above its weight class, if you will.

(This game was available to the public for less than 24 hours, and was pulled by the designer.)
2015-05-02
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
7
Aug 2011
7.459
Owned
Plays: 1
With more play time, I could see Savage Worlds becoming my go-to system -- it's really solid, and unlike GURPS it seems like it can do a lot of things quite well straight out of the box, without need supplements.

The use of cards is unique and entertaining, as is the combat system, and it plays quickly. I also found it easy to learn, but with enough depth to reward study and mastery.

Two sessions weren't enough for me to see all of SW's potential.
2011-08-03
6
Feb 2012
6.335
Owned
Plays: 1
Scion has a lot of potential, and some really bright spots, but on balance it's like a lot of WW stuff: flawed enough to be pretty frustrating in some ways. As a blueprint for an ongoing campaign it doesn't grab me nearly as much as many other WW games.

I've played two sessions, one with the provided pregens running through the provided adventure and one I wrote for Legend 4/add 40 XP created PCs. The first was fun because we had a good GM and we as players made it fun, and secondarily because Scion provided a good baseline. The adventure was pretty meh.

The second showed me how hard it is to balance scions against opponents, how annoying it is to navigate the core book as a GM, and how little I would enjoy running it for anything more than a one-shot. Speed 1 guns break the game, enhanced attributes are too good, Legend is amazing -- scions should and do feel like badass gods in play, but it's a bit of a GMing nightmare.

More attention paid to mechanical details, plus more advice on scaling things and building adventures, could go a long way to making this a much better game than it is.
2012-10-21
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.237
Owned
N/A
6.697
Owned
7
Aug 2011
6.301
Owned
Shadowrun was the second RPG I really cut my teeth on (after D&D and Lords of Creation), and I still have a soft spot for it even though I haven't played a campaign in years. It got the feel of cyberpunk right, and then created a mess of a world that was crazy and wacky and weird but somehow worked around it. It's cool and dark and a lot of fun to play.

For the years I was heavily into it, FASA also produced some exceptional sourcebooks -- Street Samurai Catalog, Sprawl Sites, Seattle Sourcebook, and Biotech remain some of my favorite RPG books ever. I ate up every supplement I could get my hands on, even the one that was essentially just an economics textbook.

The system is kind of weird, but some of the bits poking out of it really shine -- like the damage codes and the way they make you think twice about getting into combat. I also liked being forced to prioritize during character creation, and I loved the cyberware, biotech, and the Essence system.

I'd love to get back to Shadowrun, but it just hasn't floated to the top for years now. Too many other good games!
2011-08-03
N/A
6.975
Owned
7
Aug 2011
6.908
Owned
Plays: 1
I've played one session of SR4, and I didn't like it as much as first edition -- though I still enjoyed it.

The core rules were fine -- streamlined a bit, less clunky in places; all good. But the wireless stuff seemed kind of annoying, and the rules for hacking were downright intimidating. I see what they were going for with wireless (solving the "decker problem"), but in play it was somewhat off-putting. Plus it seemed as though many runs could be accomplished by one hacker sitting in his apartment, which is no fun for anyone else.

All of that said, I'd happily play this again, even long-term. I love Shadowrun, and I could work around the aspects of the current setting that I don't really like -- much like so many people do with all of the magic/metahuman stuff anyway. More than that, I'm excited to play SR4; I think there's a really cool game under there.
2011-08-03
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.598
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
5.660
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
Plays: 1
* Disclaimer: I'm the designer of this game, and I don't rate or comment on games I've designed. *

6/11/13: First playtest of this Game Chef game was fun. I want to develop this further.
2013-06-12
N/A
N/A
Owned
8
Feb 2012
6.580
Owned
Plays: 13
This is a solid, fun RPG that does a faithful job of emulating the source material. The core mechanic is interesting (I love the use of bonus dice), I like how it incorporates age and the associated trade off between Destiny and build points, and the systems for combat and intrigues are excellent.

I wish the core book had fewer errors in it (and the pocket edition fixes them while introducing new typos...), and was better organized. Things like how Animal Handling impacts mounted combat are split between two sections, etc.

The important thing is that it's fun to play -- and playing it feels like being part of Westeros. The underlying Game of Thrones System was clearly built from the ground up to power this game, and overall it's one of the best licensed property RPGs I've played or seen in terms of how well it balances fidelity to the source material with being a game that's fun to play.
2012-02-19
N/A
6.355
Owned
N/A
7.324
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
9
Aug 2011
6.509
Owned
Plays: 26
CODA Trek is a nearly perfect RPG. The system is light enough to be easy to teach and simple to run, and it never bogs down in weird exceptions or gets in the way. At the same time, it's got enough levers to pull that you can create interesting characters and run mechanically interesting sessions.

As a licensed property RPG, it's perfect. It captures the feel of the shows while acknowledging the ways in which gaming differs from TV, and the books are well-written and packed with excellent advice on how to make your game feel like Trek. Some of the best GMing advice I've ever read comes from the Trek books.

There are some annoyances, like spreading starships and playable races across multiple books, but precious few. It really is the complete package.

The only reason this isn't a 10 is that it isn't my bread and butter RPG -- although it could be. In 20+ years of gaming, it's produced the best campaign I've ever run, and I'd love to keep running and playing it for years to come.
2011-08-03
8
Aug 2011
6.409
Owned
ICON Trek is excellent, but CODA Trek is great.

This version does most of what CODA does, but with its core books for each era and split product lines it's not as streamlined or GM-friendly. If CODA didn't exist, this would be my go-to Trek game -- it's a ton of fun to play, it feels like the show, and the rules are excellent.

Now I use the ICON sourcebooks as CODA sourcebooks. They're not hard to convert, and most of what I want them for -- inspiration and ideas -- doesn't require any conversion.
2011-08-03
8
Aug 2011
6.208
Owned
Surpassed by CODA Trek, but still a fantastic game.

(My longer comment is on the TNG RPG listing.)
2011-08-03
6
Oct 2011
6.678
Owned
Plays: 1
SAGA moves the dial too far from d20 Modern, which I like quite a bit, towards D&D 4e, which I don't. It has a lot of the streamlining of 4e, which is good in places, but adds tactical combat with minis -- one of the things I don't miss at all in Modern.

Force use is nicely implemented, and Modern's flexible class structure is just as nifty here as it was there. For needing minis, combat is pretty brisk, but d20 as a core mechanic is so inherently swingy that there's still too much "Roll, miss, wait five minutes to roll (and if it's a boss fight, likely miss) again, repeat ad infinitum.

The books are gorgeous, and the game captures some of the spirit of Star Wars. It's not where my head's at these days, though, especially not on the heels of a few years of overly crunchy D&D play. I can't help but feel like a lighter system would capture the feel of Star Wars even better than SAGA does.
2011-10-10
N/A
7.221
Owned
8
Nov 2012
7.066
Owned
My experiences with WEG Star Wars as a system have all been positive -- it feels like the movies, and I like the way it plays. I've always enjoyed it and would happily play it again.
2012-11-27
6
Jan 2015
7.075
Owned
Plays: 2
Like Edge of the Empire, this isn't my ideal Star Wars experience in RPG form, but I do enjoy elements of it. It's crunchier and fiddlier than I'd like, though handling time does of course go down the more often you play.

Unlike EotE I haven't run Age, only played it. It's much less of a mechanical burden as a player, although creating a character I was happy with was a surprisingly long and painful process.
2015-01-18
6
Apr 2014
7.450
Owned
Plays: 7
I had fun playing the Beginner Box, and based on that experience I'm optimistic about the full-fledged RPG.

I love that it ports most of the Warhammer FRP 3e dice system to Star Wars -- it's a great system that seems like a good fit for the SW universe and feel. It does feel like there are fewer story hooks built into the pool, though -- fewer variables for the group to use as the foundation for narration, which is one of my favorite things about WFRP 3e. (I could just be misremembering WFRP -- maybe they're exactly the same.)

The rest of what I saw in the BB looked sound: good skill list, some interesting ability tree stuff (nothing mind-blowing), and so forth. It made for a fun night of play, and it piqued my interest in the core game.

---

After running part of a campaign, which ended because none of us were loving the system -- at least not as we played it, once every few months (it was our backup game) -- I can safely say that this is too crunchy for me as a GM. With one caveat: As a week-to-week game, I'd forget fewer rules and enjoy it more.

But! We take the game we have, not the game we want. And the game I have here is lovely and fraught with narrative opportunities, but also too crunchy. I like my Star Wars leaner and lighter than this.
2014-04-13
N/A
6.165
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
6.354
Owned
N/A
5.779
Owned
8
Dec 2013
N/A
Owned
Plays: 1
This was one of the games that jumped out at me when I read Norwegian Style (the collection that includes it), and I was thrilled to finally get a chance to play it. It calls for four players and recommends playing face to face, but we played it with three over Google Hangout; it worked just fine.

As a lifelong gamer, my instinct is always to try to do the most interesting thing I can think of in a game, and to make things interesting for the other participants. This game turns that on its head in a fascinating way, and it's both fun and slightly uncomfortable to play.

It's challenging, too: I almost lost it when one of the other players made a pitch-perfect boring comment, and often had to consciously resist the impulse to say something entertaining.

We all busted out laughing when it was over; it was cathartic, and we'd earned it. For a 15-minute game that requires a whopping one minute of explanation, there's a lot going on here. It's fun!
2013-12-03
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
Plays: 1
* Disclaimer: I don't rate games that I designed. *

For New Game Day 2014 I designed an RPG for my daughter; this is that game. It was fun and did what I intended it to do, more or less, and I'd love to play it again -- as would she, more importantly.
2015-05-04
N/A
6.150
Owned
N/A
6.737
Owned
N/A
6.039
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
5.968
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
N/A
N/A
Owned
Plays: 1
* Disclaimer: I designed this game (for the 2015 200 Word RPG Challenge), and I don't rate or comment on games I've designed. *

You can download The Thief for free here: http://www.martinralya.com/tabletop-rpgs/the-thief/.
2015-05-02
N/A
6.344
Owned
N/A
5.767
Owned
N/A
6.411
Owned
N/A
5.021
Owned
N/A
6.723
Owned
N/A
6.485
Owned
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