Monday, April 27, 2009

You Decided: The Top 25 RPGs Results!

The Top 25 RPGs Project was a tremendous success in terms of participation. I had hoped to get 50 gamers, bloggers, RPG writers, etc., to send in their choices for the 10-25 role playing games that had brought the most entertainment, influence, and fun to their participation of our hobby. I ended up with exactly 150 entries, and over 420 different games mentioned or nominated! Thank you all for helping make this a clearer, broader snapshot of our tastes as a gaming community. Thanks especially to our great sponsors: Postmortem Studios, Crafty Games, One Bad Egg/Evil Hat, and RPG Objects.

First off, I wanted to post some honorable mentions. The battle for the last few spots was tight, and came down to the last few submitted lists. These 5 just missed the cut, but definitely deserve an honorable mention:

Honorable Mentions: Boot Hill, Castles & Crusades, FUDGE, Cyberpunk 2020, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness.

The first 7-8 spots were pretty solid, then there was a bit of a vote drop-off, then spots 17-25 were fiercely contest, as were the honorable mention. All of the honorable mentions missed out on the Top 25 by 40 points or less.

You voted, you decided. Without further ado, here's your Top 25!:

Top 25 RPGs Project Final Rankings:

1) Basic/Original D&D
2) Call of Cthulhu
3) Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 1st Edition
4) Traveller (Classic)
5) Star Wars (West End Games/d6)
6) Dungeons & Dragons 3.0/3.5
7) GURPS 3e
8) Tunnels & Trolls
9) Champions
10) RuneQuest (majority of 85% favored 2nd Edition)
11) Vampire: the Masquerade
12) Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Edition
13) Gamma World (1st/2nd Editions)
14) Shadowrun 3e
15) Pendragon (Chaosium editions)
16) Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing 1st Edition
17) Marvel Super Heroes (FASERIP)
18) Savage Worlds
19) Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition
20) Amber
21) Rifts
22) Hackmaster
23) Middle-earth Role Playing (MERP)
24) Star Frontiers
25) Risus

(If you want to combine the D&D entries into a single entry, you can move the Honorable Mentions up accordingly).

If a game you like (or dislike) made the Top 25, be sure to spread the word! This list is supposed to foster some good-natured discussion and community activity, so let's get to it! Questions, comments, concerns, put them out there!

(You can read more about the scoring/ranking system here. Of course, this isn't scientific by any means, but I do think it's a fun project/snapshot nonetheless. Oh, and 1st-2nd-3rd were separated by less than 20 points).

After I notify the prize winners, I'll also put that information up here as well. Thanks again to everyone who participated!


Scott M said...

Yay, T&T in the top 10. Happy days!

kelvingreen said...

Wow, I am honestly surprised to see D&D 4e in there.

Aaron said...

Okay, am I good or what?

Two versions of D&D in the top three (I said at least one) and one pre-established property (Cthulhu Mythos). Wow, I should figure out a way to make this my job.

Zachary The First said...

@Kelvin: Well, I pushed for votes from a wide array of readers from other RPGBN blogs as well. Time will tell, I think, if it moves up or down.

@Scott M: Yep. Lot of love out there for T&T! A late push probably moved it up 2-3 spots.

@Aaron: You figure it out, please let me know!

Frederic said...

Wow, never even heard of 9 of them. Which also points out that there's probably quite some people that, like me, didn't vote since they haven't ever played more than a few of rpg's. And those people probably play the big name rpg's. Still, it's an interesting list since "experienced" people voted.

Zachary The First said...

@Frederic: And in the end, that's all it is is a snapshot, meant to be seen all in good fun. It isn't scientific by any means, though we definitely got a larger and more diverse sampling than I'd have thought.

kelvingreen said...

Zachary, my group is playing 4e now, and we're quite enjoying it, but I wouldn't have thought it one of the top twenty-five of all time, by any means! A big surprise there, and it will be interesting to see where it places in future polls.

I've only played four of the top ten (based on edition; I have played other versions of them), which surprised me a little. I'm disappointed, although not entirely surprised, that Call of Cthulhu didn't come first, and I'm shocked that WFRP and Pendragon weren't higher.

Jonathan Hicks said...

A great and worthy result, but I'm very surprised to see that WFRP didn't rank higher (and not only because it's my favourite game of them all).

Great work, Zachary.

Bonemaster said...

Sadly, I didn't have time to vote, so I'm really surprised to see many of my favorites on this list. I've sort of shocked about CoC. Didn't know it had that huge of impact. It's one of my favorite games I can't run.

Zachary The First said...

I was a little surprised about a few of the results as well--I thought Warhammer would be a little higher, and I was surprised (though not displeased) games like Hackmaster and Amber garnered so many votes. I think the key was it was mostly people voting who have played a lot of RPGs, or have seen a lot come and go.

It really was neck-and-neck between CoC and D&D. I'd bet if we got another 150 entrants, the positions just as easily could have flip-flopped.

kelvingreen said...

Well that makes me feel a ltitle better. ;)

joeskythedungeonbrawler said...


Zachary The First said...

Twilight: 2000 garnered a respectable amount of votes. It was definitely in the Top 40, I know that.

Barking Alien said...

Amazing. Of my personal top 10, I think 2 are on the list. At the same time D&D is mentioned like 4 times. Its all one game guys, no need to keep repeating yourselves.

Hooray for Star Wars D6, Traveller and Champions! Boo for no mention of Ars Magica, Mutants & Masterminds, Paranoia or Toon. I mean seriously...Marvel over M&M? No Ars Magica at all? I'm not expecting to see Star Trek but no Ars Magica? Bizarre.

Barking Alien

Zachary The First said...

@BA: Ars Magica didn't get many votes. At all. But when it was voted on, it seemed to be one of someone's Top 3.

Ken St. Andre said...

Personally, I think all the different incarnations of Dungeons and Dragons should be considered to be the same game--different dialects maybe. That makes your top ten list look like this:
1. Dungeons and Dragons
2. Call of Cthulhu
3. Traveller
4. Star Wars
5. GURPs
6. Tunnels and Trolls
7. Champions
8. Runequest
9. Vampire the Masquerade
10. Gammaworld

Ken St. Andre said...

Now let's see the top 100 list.

Zachary The First said...

@Ken: That's why I said if people want to combine the editions of D&D, they can just slide the honorable mentions and everything else up.

The Top 100? People might feel *really* crappy if their game wasn't on that list. :)

Jay said...

I'm glad CoC made the top, and am very excited to see some vintage RPGs on the list. Gives someone like me, who didn't start role playing in this century, some good memories.

Jim said...

I've got a feeling D&D might have made such a strong showing because of the high number of games people had to rate in order to sumbit ratings. I reckon a lot of people might struggle to rate 10 RPGs and in order to get to 10 or more you're probably going to have to include most, if not all, rpgs you've ever played (and if you're an RPGer, chances are you've probably played D&D at least once).

I wonder how different the results would look if you could only nominate 3 games each? Having said that, I guess D&D would still probably come out top.

Zachary The First said...

@Jim: It could affect it, sure. For this project, I wanted folks who had a wide breadth of experience playing or reading various RPGs, so that their only experience wasn’t just 3.5 or 4e or somesuch. I’m not denigrating folks who haven’t had a chance to experience other games (I like to think of my blog as pretty novice-friendly), it just wasn’t really the focus I was looking for. I wanted people who could compare games against one another, and consider what had been the most influential over time.

Samuel Van Der Wall said...

Pretty sweet list man. I'm happy that your contest was so successful. To any detractors about the measurement of the poll, it definitely is not scientific. But I think it is a pretty good overview of games that I would agree with.

Oddysey said...

GURPS 3e? I'm not much of a GURPS junky, but I've played both 3e and 4e, and I felt that 4e was pretty much universally superior -- at least mechanically. I could see someone picking 3e on the strength of those softcover supplements. Anyone want to comment on what's going on there? Did 4e break something critical that I just never noticed?

Zachary The First said...

@Odyssey: I would have thought the same thing, but I haven't played GURPS in a while. It might be supplement strength--but we should definitely ask a GURPS Person. :)\

Hey, if anyone is on a board or forum for some of these games (especially the sleepers and older titles), be sure to let them know how they placed, and that they still have some love out there. :)

vulcanstev said...

Car Wars missed the cut completely? What gives?

aaron said...

@Ken, I don't feel as though all Dungeons and Dragons are the same. 4th Edition is obviously different from past editions, otherwise there wouldn't be such a divide in the forums. And so is 3rd/3.5 edition.

Calling them dialects of one another is like calling Mandarin and Cantonese different dialects of Chinese - the world at large thinks they are similar, but they actually have a number of major differences.

Scott said...

Car Wars, while a great game, was probably disqualified for being a war game instead of a roleplaying game.

Nine of my choices for top 15 games made the top 25 list. Who knew I was so mainstream?

mxyzplk said...

You can't count OD&D and Basic D&D as the same game! The grognards will keeeeeeellllll you!

Zachary The First said...

@mxyzplk: I live dangerously. Actually, a surprising number of entries had it down as something akin to that.

kelvingreen said...

This has a danger of descending into a loooooong argument, but I'd argue that D&D from Original up to 3.5 are recognisably closely related, but 4e is something quite different. You can take a spell from the d20 SRD and use it in BECMI with few, if any, changes, but the mechanisms of the new edition are very different. It's a divergent evolutionary path, a different branch on the family tree.

Still, a moot point at this stage. ;)

sharetheroad said...

Marvel FACERIP over Marvel SAGA? That's really a shame, but shows that the SAGA System wasn't given enough time to flourish before the licence was yanked. Did it rank at all?

Zachary The First said...

@sharetheroad: Marvel SAGA did ok, sort of middle-of-the-pack. I don't think it was out long enough to have the impact FASERIP did.

snikle said...

Yeah! Risus made the list, all in all a good list. I think D&D4e on there is merely a fact of it being released recently, but for the most part, I agree with most of the list. Think all of my past favorites are on there somewhere. Good job.

Helmsman said...

One White Wolf game... huh. I think this particular network has some pretty skewed preferences from the community at large.

Zachary The First said...

@Helmsman: Well, you can definitely tell it isn't the same as RPGnet. But yea, lots of D&D love--not so much for White Wolf.