Thursday, January 1, 2009

RPGnet Game Index: What I Like (Apparently)

RPGnet's RPG Game Index is a great resource, don't get me wrong. The biggest issue I have with it is that it's pretty clear that the core populace of Big Purple and I often don't like the same RPG systems and supplements (I wince every time I see the murky Nobilis at slot #5 in the "10 Best Entries" classification, and scowl at Keep on the Borderlands--friggin' KEEP ON THE BORDERLANDS--in the "25 Worst Adventures". Clearly, the latter alone must prove there's something rotten in Purple Denmark.

Still and all, the Game Index is useful for looking up information on nearly any gaming product. There's also the User Index feature, which will tell you (if you've bothered to rate any products) what and who your top four rated settings, contributors/authors, and systems are. I've rated 340+ products now on the scale from 1-10. I think you have to rank 4-5 products on any classification showing on the list. Let's see how close my RPGnet ratings to my actual preferences (all scores are an average on the 1-10 scale), courtesy of my user page:

My Top 4 Backgrounds/Settings, According to the Game Index:
1) Greyhawk (8.05)
2) Palladium Fantasy (7.71)
3) Traveller (7.14)
4) Erde (6.89)

Anyone who's read my blog for an extended period of time know Numbers 1 and 3 are no surprise. I'm a big Greyhawk fan and I love the Imperium. Palladium Fantasy was one of my first RPGs, and the later sourcebooks for it are especially chock-full of gaming ideas that have really influencing my fantasy gaming, which likely explains such a high rating.

Erde is the odd man out. I imagine the in-house setting from Troll Lord games made it on here due to me rating Castles & Crusades products highly. They are classified as having Erde as a setting, even though I'm buying C&C for the system. A lot of other setting I like only have a few products out, so they may not have qualified for the list. I'd have thought Middle Earth would make it, but looking things over, I've hardly rated any MERP stuff.

My Top 4 Contributors/Authors, According to the Game Index:
1) Erick Wujcik (8.80)
2) Brent M. Bernstein (8.00)
3) Gary Gygax (7.83)
4) clash bowley (7.75)

The Wuje takes the top spot, and I can't begrudge the man behind Amber Diceless and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG for it one bit. It is well-deserved. Brent is the head honcho at Precis Intermedia, and since I really like games such as Two-Fisted Tales and Coyote Trail, this isn't a surprise.

Uncle Gary clocks in at #3. I esteem highly many of his adventures, even as I shun Cyborg Commando, and it is well and proper that he be on here. The infamous clash bowley rounds out the Top 4, no doubt thanks to Starcluster, In Harm's Way, Book of Jalan, and Cold Space. I thought Bill Coffin might sneak in there due to his Palladium Fantasy work, but he did not--likely due to a few Rifts books I didn't care for.

My Top 4 Systems, According to the Game Index:
1) Casltes & Crusades (8.13)
2) Palladium Fantasy (8.09)
3) Generic (7.77)
4) Rolemaster (7.75)

OK, this one is a bit screwy. I'm down with C&C being up there--it's pushing all the right buttons for me right now, I've really enjoyed the core book and Troll Lord's recent products, but Palladium's system definitely wouldn't be in my Top 4. Again, this is likely a consequence of me rating the product overall so high.

"Generic" is what is listed for many system-neutral products--I'm heavy into a lot of things that can be used easily with multiple RPGs, so this one is pretty spot-on. Rolemaster got in there--this is a system I love to play, but also gut the snot out of. I tweak, fiddle, and toss out rules left and right to streamline it. There's enough goodness in there to keep the core concepts and remove what we don't want and simply what we don't want to mess with I wouldn't play it as written, but love the basics nonetheless. I know for a fact there are numerous RM products I rated poorly--the really good ones must have compensated. For this category, I can think of many great systems--Rules Cyclopedia D&D, Burning Wheel, True20, Amber--that just didn't make it for whatever reason. This list was likely the furthest off-base of all, but still not bad.

Well, all in all, not far off the mark, but marking the product overall instead of by system/setting did cause some anomalies. But it was still interesting for me to look back and see what my highest-rated items were. I wonder it will be if I rate another 100 products, and fill in some of the gaps I'm sure I've overlooked. I'm not 100% reliable with it, but as my perceptions and experiences change, I try to update my ratings, to keep them as honest and useful as possible. We'll see where things are at then.

Do any other Game Index users have a link to their stats or wish to share their rankings?


thanuir said...

I have entry there; ratings spuriosly updated when I play or read new games, meaning that there are bound to be relics of old thinking in effect.

The ratings are very random, overall, not reflecting my tastes at all. A cause for this may be that I have much emphasis on rating free products, not owning many commercial ones.


Norman Harman said...

Regarding streamlined Rolemaster. Have you looked at HARP? Which I gather is ICE's streamlined Rolemaster.

Back when I started hating on D&D magic I really loved RM. I also dug the greater freedom variety of buying skills/stuff compared to rigid D&D classes and levels.

But I never found any players and I've since been convinced Vancian magic is awesome.

Zachary The First said...

Yeah, I dig HARP ok. RM has a little more meat on it's bones, and I worked with it before HARP, so I'm more comfy with it. Sort of an add to this or take from that scenario.

What convinced you on Vancian magic? :)

gleichman said...

I don't use the index, but thought I'd toss my personal choices out because I can :)

My Top 4 Backgrounds/Settings:

Middle Earth
Morrow Project

My Top 4 Contributors/Authors

George MacDonald
Steve Peterson
Bruce Harlick
Ray Greer

All for their work on Champions in 1981 (which became HERO System). And maybe not much else...

My Top 4 Systems
HERO System

And that's the end of that list as far as published systems go.