Thursday, December 11, 2008

Letting Your Group Choose The Game

We're a little bit away from our gaming group's next campaign (pregnancy and winter hiatus for everything but one-shots), and its time for us to choose what we'll be playing. We have some Pathfinder Society adventures planned as well as some other one-shots (Two-Fisted Tales, Aces & Eights, Risus), but it was time to put to a vote the sort of game we wanted for our next campaign.

The first choice had to be our continued adventures in the homebrew of Irrin, but after chatting with everyone, we decided to take a look at a few game pitches: some by me, some on the ideas of others. We're having the group rank their preferences based on a short description, planned system, key features, and the previous discussions we've had on these. Here's this campaign season's final five (with Irrin still the prohibitive favorite):

1) The Irrin Campaign--5 Years Later
System: Castles & Crusades, with a few add-ons
Synopsis: We return to Irrin, this time on a new adventure in the wild northwestern frontier. Very much a zero-to-hero campaign! (Combat, Exploration, Dungeon Crawling, possible Mass Combat)

2) Traveller: Imperial Directive
System: Classic Traveller
Synopsis: A lone, decimated Imperial Navy starship crew must figure out a way to fight, think, and maneuver their crippled vessel across an entire sector of rebellious frontier space. Unexplored planets, rebel warlords, inscrutable aliens, and trying to keep their crew together will ensure the remaining naval officers have the fight of a lifetime on their hands... (Space Combat, Diplomacy, Exploration)

3) Greyhawk: The Bandit Kingdoms
System: Castles & Crusades, with a few add-ons (Rules Cyclopedia D&D has also been suggested)
Synopsis: The Bandit Kingdoms may be garrisoned with the inhuman troops of Iuz the Evil, but the Bandit Kingdoms are still the place for mercenaries and bandit kings to try to carve out their own lands. And it may be that one warlord, along with his lieutenants, can carve out a domain worthy of challenging Iuz himself... (Combat, Mass Combat, Intrigue)

4) Traveller: Space Station Xerxes
System: Classic Traveller
Synopsis: It isn't easy running a small space station in Border Space. Outlaws, smugglers, and every kind of crazy seems to dock here at some time or another. There's organized crime to keep happy, the sabotage efforts by your competitors, and every once in a while you have to fend off porate attacks. Don't make enough profit to fix the space station, and you can be looking at catastrophe... (Intrigue, Problem-Solving, Diplomacy, some Space Combat)

5) Civil War Spies
System: Undecided, but likely rules-light to light-medium
Synopsis: Raids, intelligence, daring midnight rides, destroying railroad, capturing key Rebel personnel, escorting dangerous prisoners--your fellow agents do it all and now its your team's turn. But be careful--the Confederates have agents, too, and from Vickburg to the Canadian border, they never rest. For the Union! (Intrigue, Problem-Solving, Subterfuge, Hand-to-Hand Combat)

This is just one part of our ultimate decision process, of course. The biggest part is still just talking things over and deciding what's thebest fit for our group. Some things shouldn't change.


bonemaster said...

I'm all for any Traveller stuff, but hey that's just me. I like to switch things up. I don't like to do just one genre all the time. Fantasy, is just the one with the easiest buy in for many people, and I'm going to make a prediction that your option #1 or #3 is likely going to win out.

In general, all very cool ideas.

Rob Lang said...

I don't let my players choose what game to play. Because it's always Icar. It's more a choice of what Setting to run. And even then 90% of the suggestions are insane. That's what you get for a roleplaying group made out of comedians! :P

sirlarkins said...

Very cool--I'd have a hard time deciding!

Do you use a system for mass combat, or do you just go with the narrative approach and have the battle's outcome match the PCs' fortunes in single combat?

Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't nominate BRP as a perfect fit for your Civil War spy campaign! ;)

Badelaire said...

I'll back Sir Larkins 100% on the BRP/Civil War idea. That'd be my choice out of the five, with the struggling starship as runner-up. I've wanted to run a Napoleonic version of Civil War Spies for years, but never had the right mix of people. It'll be interesting to see what shakes out from these choices.

Zachary The First said...

I've had two votes for my group thus far, and Civil War Spies is in the lead!--well, tied!

I'm REALLY, REALLY interested in BRP, as it sounds like a good fit, but funds are a little dry (like the Mojave) right now. I'd love to try it out and report back, but Christmas gets tighter every year. :)

(I know there's GORE, but I personally feel a little weird about choosing a simulacrum product when the company still has the original in print).

@sirlarkins: For d20-based (such as C&C), I use the mass combat rules over at Farland World, which I suggest folks google. :)

clash bowley said...

Hi Zachary!

You have Sweet Chariot 2. That system would be a nice match for your civil war game, plus most of the equipment would also suit nicely. I use SC for most anything historically victorian/western.

Zachary The First said...

@clash: Not a bad idea! Well, you've given me something to reread this weekend. :)

I think I'm going to do a post on some of the options out there. That's got to make the short list.

Scott said...

My vote would be for Greyhawk.

When I let my players choose our campaign, about two years ago, we wound up with a 2nd ed. AD&D Blackmoor campaign.