Tuesday, December 1, 2009

RPG's I've played

Thought I would talk about some of the RPG's I've had the chance to play over the years. I've had a chance to experience quite a few, certainly not all, not even most, but a good array of what was out there in the 80's and early 90's. My group and I would experiment with a wide variety of game genres but we would always drift back to our old stand by...

The classic of all classics. The one game to rule them all. The Ayatollah of Rock n' Rolla

Dungeons & Dragons

I've played all versions of Dungeons and Dragons from the Basic Set all the way through 3rd Edition. When 3.5 came out, we were put off by the fact that an entirely new set of books needed to be purchased and we decided we had had enough. That and we were working on a new game system that I've been writing for way longer than I want to admit, so we just didn't see the need to go any further. And 4th edition isn't even on our radar. While I haven't actually played it, I don't like what they did to my memories of D&D and so I protest on those grounds alone.

This was always the game we would come back to. We would venture off and play other systems and other genres, but it always seemed like a short hiatus until we got back to our old faithful. It was always there for us and it always felt like we were coming home when we broke out the ol' Player's Handbook.

I'm not sure I'll ever stop playing some version or other of this timeless classic.


This was our first foray into a warm and fuzzy post-apocalyptic role playing game. Mad Max and the Road Warrior were still fresh in everyone's minds and a slew of cheap wasteland b-movies were being churned out faster than they could be yanked out of the theaters...and we had to be a part of it! Besides classic fantasy, post-apocalyptic is my favorite gaming genre.

If you've never tried this game, go back to school and get an engineering or mathematics degree before attempting this. I swear whoever wrote this game were realism fanatics. They really put in a lot of work to make this as realistic as possible, but unfortunately you lose a lot of game play feel with so many in depth rules. One sentence can sum up the whole Aftermath! experience: Two Page Combat Flow Chart.

Gamma World

Gamma World was our second attempt at post-apocalyptic role playing, and it was a bit more successful if not short lived. The game system is a lot more gamer friendly and easy to understand, but certainly no where near as detailed. That's not a bad thing. While we didn't spend a lot of time playing this game, it was enjoyable. I seem to recall a lot of killer robots and suped up muscle car chases.

Star Frontiers

This was Star Wars role playing before there was Star Wars role playing. It was enjoyable, but it seemed like we kept trying to make everything look like Star Wars.

Star Wars

We played both versions of Star Wars, the d6 version and the d20 version. Both were fun, but the d6 version got a little tedious when you had high level characters. It was like rolling a 12th level fireball every time you made a skill check. I'm still finding 6-siders in my carpet.

The d20 version was a solid system and had the benefit of being part of a universal type of system that we were already familiar with from playing 3rd Ed D&D. This made it much easier to pick up and play right off the bat and I think made it more enjoyable.

Cyberpunk 2020

This was a fun change of pace. It was a new system to learn and a new way of thinking for us too. We had to get used to playing in a near future world that was computer heavy...kinda like today. We made a few house rules for certain things because everyone wanted to be a Solo when it came to combat. The netrunning turned out to be pretty cool and certainly something new in gaming, kinda like an RPG version of TRON.

Marvel Super Heroes

 This game hold a special place in our gaming history. We spent many a night creating super heroes to battle villains and keep New York safe. It was almost as much fun to create a hero as it was to actually play the game. Unfortunately, we have since tried to go back and play this again and it just doesn't hold up like it used to. There are holes in the system that are hard to fill, and because the creation system is most fun when it is completely random, not all the heroes are created equal. It's very easy to wind up with Superman and Robin on the same team. You can imagine who's doing all the work in that dynamic duo.

Later on I'll talk about a couple of the games that I always wished I had a chance to play, but never got around to.


  1. Aftermath is the one game on your list that I've never played...and let me tell you, these days I wish I had, hust for the experience.

  2. Aftermath! is certainly one of the most 'realistic' games I've ever played. And the genre is one of my favorites. Who among us hasn't watched a post-apocalyptic movie and not wondered what they would do? Unfortunately, realism doesn't always make for good game play. But it is definitely worth the experience. When I started writing my own game system, that's the one that taught me that there has to be a balance between realism and playability.


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