Tuesday, January 8, 2013

On The Table: Gaming Aspirations.

As I've mentioned in the past, one of my gaming groups alternates games. D&D 4e one week (run by moi) and something else in the weeks between. Really, we haven't started that scheme yet and so far, we've just been playing board games, card games, non-board-based Euro games and other stuff. Now, thanks to my group realizing that I'd like to play sometimes, too, we're stretching our gaming legs and playing some of the stuff that's been on our collective gaming "bucket lists" for some time or stuff that we have a volunteer Guest DM to handle. Here's some of the awesome that we're cooking up on our gaming table right now:


  • FFG's Edge of the Empire: I ordered the starter box a little bit ago and once it shows up, I'm ready to tear this thing open. Whether I'm playing it or running it, I know I'll have a blast because it's Star Wars and Star Wars is my first fantasy love (as I've already said at least once this week... man, I've got to stop repeating myself). 
  • Amber Diceless: Yup. I said it. +Rad DeLong dragged this one out of some closet somewhere and dropped it on the table in the middle of the "hey, how about?" conversation this past Sunday. I've never read the Zelazny books (don't hate, please) and as far as I can tell, this is a game about folks who are members of a family who rule the whole of the universe, right? How could this go wrong? A big plus for me on this game is that Rad would likely run it and our Guest DM for Savage Worlds (see below), Mr. Matt Woodard, would be totally down for joining us for this one, too.
  • Savage Worlds Zombocalypse: Matt Woodard (no G+, I can't link) offered to run a Savage Worlds zombie apocalypse homebrew something or other for us. One session, maybe two at the outside. I'm not sure what he's planning, but he did say something about there being justification for having firearms skills and also creating our characters at the end of the first session (I guess that would make it more than one session, eh? Man, I'm a real genius sometimes). Neat ideas, smart DM, I'm down.
  • Shadows of Esteren: I have to be really careful when I say the name of this game because half the time it comes out "Shadows of Estrogen," which the group decided sounds like "Menopause: the RPG." In reality, SoE is a low fantasy, dark medieval game with lots of shadowy horror stuff going on in the background that smacks of Guillermo Del Toro's art, books and movies. Really, all I had to say to this gaming crew was "story game," "low fantasy" and "Del Toro" and it was starting to sound like a good idea.
  • Shadowrun: Rad & I both have fond memories of this game, but apparently our experiences were vastly different. Sure, I remember my street samurai getting mowed down by enemy fire (Rad's experiences seemed to be more on the deadly side, too), but I also fondly remember my decker hiding in relative safety while the rest of the party takes the hits. Or my physical adept slinking around the battlefield and striking from the shadows only to retreat to them immediately after the kill. Reminiscing aside, Shadowrun was always a favorite and I'd love to see how a new edition handles some of the advances in tech we've had since then. My one worry is the state of Catalyst Game Labs because this happened
  • Traveller: Turns out, all of the young-uns that I play with haven't ever even heard of Traveller. This one might wait until Traveller5 comes out this year, or I might just grab my MGT LBBs and see what happens when these folks roll some dice. Ending up with completely random characters can be a refreshing experiment and the "character creation as mini-game" aspect of Traveller (along with "every aspect of the goddamn game as a mini-game" aspect) is one of my favorites.\
  • FATE Core Wizard School: FATE Core is already a runaway success on Kickstarter (as of this writing, it has $232k of its 3k goal and I'm writing this well in advance of posting it) and from what I've seen, this looks like a super-simple story game that focuses on pulp-ish cohesive story telling. When I was thinking through a game that I could create and run in very, very short order, I came up with the idea for a Wizard School game. The fun thing is that nearly everyone I say "Wizard School" to comes up with the Harry Potter style of Wizard School. Me, I come up with Mage: The Ascension meets the one-hour action dramedy (read: Joss Whedon) meets Doctor Who meets Discworld all mashed up in the 16th century, with lots of stuff based on real history, except where that gets changed by the stuff the players do. Every player gets to be the best at something and the whole group works together to define a "syllabus" (read: a rough outline for the story) for the "semester" (however long the story arc lasts). Fun, easy and one-shot-ish.
  • Woodland Warriors: The wife suggested that we run this one and a few people in the group seemed to like the idea. While the Mouse Guard RPG does the "cute little animals acting like heroes" thing from a story game point of view, Woodland Warriors takes the opposite tack and is actually an OD&D retroclone that has some simple and elegant solutions. Sure, it may be designed as an introductory rpg for younguns, but I think we could get some serious mileage out of it, particularly since at least one of our players grew up on the Redwall stuff. +Tim McMacken Jr, I'm looking at you.
  • Malifaux: So, this one is (a) not an rpg, (b) requires at least a $50 buy in from players participating and (c) opens us up to the slippery slope of wargaming. I dig the minis, though, and if Rad is willing to go in on the terrain, I'll go in on at least one squad (maybe two so we'll have an extra for other players who don't have a squad already). I've already signed on for one Outcasts squad and I think Rad's planning on a Neverborn squad, so we'll see what if anyone else adds something killer to the mix.
  • Rad's Brother's Homebrew Game: Apparently, Rad's brother Andrew has been working on different iterations of the homebrew game system for the last fourteen years ( I got the actual count on Sunday night) and, although Rad swears that the system is very complex and more suited towards campaign play, Rad also suggests that it might be suitable for a one or two session adventure. I'm optimistic (and am looking forward to yet another Guest DM).  
For now, there's our list. Well, the short list for the time being. I'm sure that we'll add some stuff to it and that I'll have things to say about the stuff we try out. I'm especially looking forward to Shadows of Esteren and Edge of the Empire (enough to invest a small chunk of change in them and to run them on my off weeks). I'm really excited to see how this tour-des-joues goes and to learn what games we all like and why.