Sunday, May 24, 2015

Games I'd like to play

There's a thing about pen-and-paper RPGs -- They take A LOT OF TIME to play. Even a one-shot convention game is going to take 4 hours to complete, and that's if the DM has his shit together. (My one-shots usually take about 6 hours for the party to complete, because I do not.) When you are a teenager this amount of time doesn't really matter, because after school the alternative to gaming is staying at home and talking to your parents or doing chores (or play sportsball, but who wants to do that?) Neither of which are going to be able to compete with playing RPGs with your friends in the fun department. 
Ah, those were the days. All the time in the world.

However as adults we somehow have less time on our hands, even if we valiantly attempt to shirk our other responsibilities as much as humanly possible. So when we get to play RPGs we don't like to have our time wasted, and therefore end up playing the same RPG system over and over. Because why risk learning/teaching/trying some new RPG system you bought as a PDF when its already 7:30pm by the time everyone arrived and you need to be home by 9:30pm?

"What? You've got to go already? But we only just finished rolling stats... yeah, I guess I should get home too..."

This ends up meaning that we see books/pdfs released for systems we never end up playing. Yet those systems look like they could be fun, and you might like to try them out, but we end up just maybe reading the books on your own and never end up running them. But that feeling of lost opportunity for new systems never seems to leave, and while I don't have the confidence to try and learn a new system so well that I could explain it to/run it for my players (in those allotted ~2 hours we end up having available to game once every three weeks), I instead try and sign up for them with complete strangers at a third-party location. This way if the game is terrible then I don't have a lasting feeling of wasted effort, or that I've wasted the time of my friends trying to make them play in some setting only I think is cool (I'm looking at you, Ravenloft).

"What's that? Is the Mist coming again to Railroad us to another Haunted Castle? Yawn."
So now I look for at least one weird or unusual system game at Conventions to sign up for, rather than playing in games I'm fully comfortable with and would know I'd have a good time (like O/D&D or Pathfinder), because time is precious and I need to waste it carefully. Conventions are perfect places to do this. There isn't enough time to try everything you're interested in at a convention though, because each attempt takes at least 4 hours. So you have to make a short list of games you want to play in.

Here are the three non-D&D systems that I will be looking to join a game for at this year's Conventions. If you're thinking about running one of these at Nexus or GameHole Con this year, you can be assured that you'll have at least one guy looking to join your game who brings his own dice, pencils, and snacks:

  • End of the World RPG (by Fantasy Flight Games)
    • From the FFG Website: "Enter the end times with Zombie Apocalypse, the first book in The End of the World roleplaying line! The dead rise and stalk the earth, hungry for the flesh of the living. All that stands between a zombie and your brain are your skills, wits, and talents. Life as you know it is about to end, and one way or another, you’ll experience the apocalypse and make your way through the aftermath… if you can survive that long! If you’ve ever wondered how you’d cope with an endless onslaught of flesh-hungry undead, you can find out in Zombie Apocalypse.
      This roleplaying game offers you the chance to play as yourself during the tumult of the apocalypse, using an elegant, narrative ruleset. Zombie Apocalypse contains five unique scenarios, each offering a different take on the rise of the undead. Each scenario also contains an apocalypse and a post-apocalypse, allowing you to survive the initial panic and make your way in life after the world's ending."

  • Hollow Earth Expedition (by Exile Game Studio)
    • From the Exile Website: Explore one of the world’s greatest and most dangerous secrets: the Hollow Earth, a savage land filled with dinosaurs, lost civilizations, and ferocious savages! Players take on the roles of two-fisted adventurers, eager academics and intrepid journalists investigating the mysteries of the Hollow Earth. Meanwhile, on the surface, world powers and secret societies vie for control of what may be the most important discovery in all of human history. Set in the tense and tumultuous 1930s, the action-filled Hollow Earth Expedition is inspired by the literary works of genre giants Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The subterranean action is powered by Ubiquity, an innovative roleplaying system that emphasizes storytelling and cinematic action.

  • Call of Cthulhu 7th edition (by Chaosium)
    • From the Chaosium Website:  If you have ever been enthralled by a ghost story or spellbound at a horror movie, you are in for a treat. Part the veil that separates frail humanity from the terror that lurks beyond space and time. Investigate forgotten ruins, haunted woods, and nameless menaces. Call of Cthulhu is a horror roleplaying game using the Basic Roleplaying system and based upon the writings of Howard Phillips Lovecraft and a few others. Lovecraft wrote during the 1920s and 1930s, and he became a cult figure before dying in 1937. Since then his stature as an author has grown, and now he is generally recognized as the major American horror-story writer of the twentieth century.

There are a lot of games out there that are probably better, but these are the ones I'm personally looking to risk an accumulated 12-18 hours of Convention gaming on this year. What games are you looking for?

Game On!

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