Friday, June 13, 2014
Games to look at in the coming weeks: Remnants, In Flames, Mutant Epoch, Over the Edge, DCC and more
I've been accumulating RPGs (in print) at a dangerous rate over the last year or three. I once had a vast collection of games in the past, but various interesting bottlenecks in my life led to times when it just wasn't prudent to haul a metric ton of books around, and that left my collection fairly bare. These days, I focus on what looks interesting...and also what turns out to actually be interesting.
Anyway, I figure as a sort of "official unofficial" theme for the next dozen or so weeks until D&D 5E is officially a thing I plan on looking at these games and see what sort of blog posts they inspire. My list is focused mostly on games that have that ever important intangible that makes even considering this action possible: readability, close cousin to the number two requirement for a good game, which is accessibility. For me to enjoy the game it needs to be readable. For me to see the game as something I can play it must also be accessible. If the game's mechanics are baroque and obscure, hidden or convoluted in mechanisms that defy my preferred style of gaming...then it's probably not on this list. A few games I love won't make it for this reason: despite a keen interest in Hero System, I don't have the energy to devote to making that game work (though I am reading Star Hero and liking it).
A third requisite tends to be the unique/original/interesting spin factor for a game. There are games I like (anything by Sine Nomine, for example) which won't make this list because despite being good games they are still homages, creations designed to emulate or inspire others based on the memory of another, different game. Retroclones, in other words....the closest anything on this list gets to a retroclone is Dungeon Crawl Classics, which I believe is decidedly not a retroclone, although its core seven classes may confuse people into thinking so. DCC in recreating a vision of the past is extremely, weirdly modern in its own right (but more about that soon).
So over the next twelve or so weeks through August I'm going to focus on these games in no particular order:
Over the Edge
Dungeon Crawl Classics
Blood & Smoke
Cryptworld (okay, I'll make an exception for retroclones here)
...and possibly others if there's time.
I'll try exploring each in the context of a mixed bag of reviews, useful material and ideas. Who knows! It's another one of those "writer's exercises" I like to engage in to force myself to produce content outside my comfort zone. More to come...