Saturday, December 30, 2017

Death Bat's Top 5 RPGs of 2017

2017 was a flood year for new RPGs, as well as the year in which many big Kickstarters finally saw fruition. Here's my list, as best as I can manage it....too many games this year to ever play!!!

5. Best New Fantasy RPG of 2017: Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of

This game is gorgeous, the character generation mechanics are impressive and provide an elaborate character for you to play, it has loads of support on the way, and the entire game is a very smartly designed tribute to Robert E. Howard's character and world. Even if I never get to play the game I am very much enjoying reading it. Modiphius is doing very good work here.

Runner Up: Zweihander RPG, the OSR retroclone of classic Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. It's a beast of a tome and the most comprehensive new RPG I bought in 2017.

4. Best Universal RPG System of 2017: Genesys Core RPG

The funny-dice system by Fantasy Flight Games which previously powered the Star Wars RPGs is an amazing design and despite a toolkit approach is really accessible and easy to work with. I definitely look forward to trying this game out in  depth in 2018.

Runner Up: FATE Core Adversary Toolkit is a great resource for FATE GMs who would like more tools for building opponents.

3. Best Comeback: GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Boxed Set

The GURPS Kickstarter for Dungeon Fantasy bore delightful fruit, in the form of a meaty boxed set, Companion book, GM Screen and pretty much everything you need to stealthfully teach your players GURPS without them realizing it. DF demonstrated beyond a doubt that GURPS has a bright future, especially in the form of focused "all in one" titles.

Runner Up: Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea 2nd edition released in 2017 and this monstrous tome is a fantastic package and easy way to introduce your players to a dark, alternate-reality swords & sorcery themed version of AD&D 1E.

2. Best Sourcebook: Xanathar's Guide to Everything for Dungeons & Dragons

This was a much needed sourcebook for the D&D 5th edition system, with content split between useful new class options for players and tons of delightful DM content. And not a moment too soon! Everything in this book has already proven invaluable to my gaming table. More like this WotC, please!

Runner Up: World War Cthulhu: Cold War is already one of my favorite tomes of this year even though I've only had a few days to read it. Check it out for a great in-depth take on Cold War spying, Mythos style.

1. Best New Science Fiction RPG of 2017: Cold & Dark RPG

This deep delve in to the dark and horrific blend of science fiction and horror provides a fantastic experience, one which I have many plans for in 2018. Excellent art, a robust setting with plenty of details to customize and make it your own, and an excellent all-in-one book design makes this one of my favorite RPGs of 2018. Thanks again to Modiphius for bringing this amazing game to print.

Runner Up: this was a tough choice, as a lot of SF RPGs were released in 2017. In the end, I had to go with Starfinder, even though it's arguably "science fantasy" and not straight SF. That said, it's streamlined Pathfinder rules, excellent focus and design and beautiful art make it a very distinguished game and one I suspect a lot of people (including myself) will be playing more of in 2018.

0. Game of the Year Award: Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of

I was very tempted to give this to Dungeon Fantasy, which gets runner-up, but the Conan RPG is really a masterpiece, and easily one of the nicest designs and most carefully developed books I've seen. Even if you never play it, this book remains worth owning for any fan of Howard or sword & sorcery in general.

Runner Up: Dungeon Fantasy Boxed Set is an amazing all-in-one purchase and an excellent gateway drug to GURPS proper. Even if you never touch another GURPS product, Dungeon Fantasy will serve you all on its own just fine, though.

Honorable Mention: Star Trek Adventures RPG is, like all other games produced by Modiphius, pure gold. Alas, I have found myself having a hard time "returning" to the Star Trek universe once more after all these years and so it has been neglected.

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