Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Discussion: The Best RPG Of The Past 5 Years

Another week recorded in the Great Book of Blogging, and another Friday where the majority of the RPG Bloggers Network descends into a strange malaise, seduced into a drowsy half-slumber by the siren call of the weekend.

Well, here at RPG Blog 2, we aren’t quite ready to call it a week. Fridays are Discussion Days. Nothing too serious, nothing too heavy, just some gamers talking about a single RPG topic.

Today’s topic is a simple one:

What do you think is the best RPG of the past 5 years? If you’re trying to define best, here it means “the one you and your group had the most fun with, or that has inspired you the most”. But like pretty much everything else here, you can make up your own definition, too.

I look forward to the responses below. Have a tremendous weekend!

26 comments:

Bartoneus said...

Actually we're going to have 3-4 posts in the last two days, though I will admit this being the last day for ENnies voting does have something to do with our compressed schedule. :)

I have to say over the last five years my gaming groups have mostly been influenced by (not suprisingly) D&D, both 3.5 and 4E. For me as a DM/GM, I actually think my short-lived Mage: The Ascension game has been one of the more enjoyable games to create a world in and plan for.

Bonemaster said...

I have to say this is hard one to answer. In the last five years, I've mostly been playing DnD (3.5 to be exact) and a bunch of older systems. Still, I would call any of them the Best RPG in the past 5 years. I could say Savage Worlds, but that is simply the current system that we are using and having fun with.

I guess at the end of the day, I really can't call it.

Ryan said...

Geez. Just one? I'm going to name 3.

1. Duty and Honour (and the forthcoming Beat to Quarters) by Neil Gow is a Napoleonic War RPG. The mechanics of D&H amaze me anew every time I crack the book. I provides some great play in a "story-games' kind of mode. I'm a fan of historical games in general and this period specifically, so it hits me in a very sweet spot, but even the guys at my table who are not Napoleonic War buffs really enjoyed the kinds of stories we created. It's the "best game you've not read."

2. Lacuna: The Creation of the Mystery and the Girl from Blue City (second attempt). Is hands down the best integration of rules, setting, and book design that I've seen. It is a very layered game that provides a skeleton of a setting rife with mysteries and leaves the rest up to the players to flesh out.

3. Savage Worlds. SW hits the John McClane setting on the action/realism dial and that's exactly where I want to spend most of my RPG time. The rules are complete and flexible and, so long as you want that cinematic but not over-the-top level of realism, it can run damn near anything. The SW Community is the best around. Our group has played Deadlands, Savage Goonies, Modern Horror, Star Trek, Necropolis, and fantsy and had a great time with all of them.

John said...

Promethean: The Created is my vote for the best RPG of the last five years: the premise and setting are thematically very coherent, but nevertheless manage to integrate some wonderfully weird and disparate elements: Paracelsan alchemy, hobo signs, and nuclear horror. And the goal-oriented play style, structured as it is around both the milestones of a personal (and collective) quest for humanity and the inevitable rejection and alienation characters will face on their pilgrimages, is as clever as anything the storygames crowd has come up with (and more variably playable, in my eyes). Plus the art and the writing are tremendously atmospheric: creepy and mournful all at once. State-of-the-art horror gaming, and no, I'm not forgetting Call of Cthulhu.

Chgowiz said...

Hm. I would have to say, for me, the microlite20 and microlite74 games come in first.

Why them over Swords & Wizardry, which is my 2nd favorite? Simply because they reopened my eyes to original edition style of gaming - m20 for it's brevity and ability to houserule and m74 for showing me the path back to the style of gaming I loved.

Swords & Wizardry is my 2nd place choice. It completed the journey back to the original edition gaming for me and brought a modern look and telling to a simple and fun style of D&D play. It's also served as the basis for all the solo gaming that my wife and I do now.

Shortly after S&W is OSRIC - I pick that one because it completed my journey and served as the basis for getting over 15 people to play in my sandbox. That, to me, is fantastic!

Olman Feelyus said...

Phew! This is not an easy one to answer. I will qualify my choices by saying ultimately, my relationship with games is so dynamic, that I can't truly say any one (from the many that I like) is the best, because it really depends on the situation. That waffling disclaimer aside, here are some of my favorites:

Savage Worlds - What Ryan said. My go-to action game.

Spirit of the Century - While I'm no longer totally enamoured with it (it's not so great for long-term play for my playstyle), I still owe SotC for opening my brain to empowering players to take some control of what was traditionally the GM's domain in a game. Plus, chargen is an absolute blast. Let's just say that I have made a lot of SotC characters!

Cartoon Action Hour: Season 2 - I still haven't had a chance to play this and I'm not even a huge fan of the saturday morning cartoon, but this game is so fun to read, so well laid out and so elegantly designed that it lept to the top of my list of appreciated games. It was made to be played.

Barbarians of Lemuria - A victory of light, focused, elegant design. A tiny minority (which I ignored, at my peril) have been screaming about the free 1st edition of this game for years. It wasn't until the Revised Edition came out, in a pay format that it finally hit my radar and wow am I glad it did. It's extremely light, but somehow doesn't sacrifice the sword and sorcery flavour.

Gaming has been good these last 5 years I realize. Great idea, Zach.

Tim Shorts said...

I would have to go with GURPS 4th edition just because its what we play and I find the system suits the style I like and has the versitility become any genre.

Badelaire said...

I'd lean towards Castles & Crusades, because it was the first "Pro Old School" game, and to me, is what D&D 3rd Edition really should have been.

I'd also give a nod to Savage Worlds, because it seems to really be pushing the vibe (and winning) at being "the game for people who don't have a lot of time on their hands".

I NEED to find this "Duty and Honor" game. Napoleonic gaming is one of the first Campaign Starters I want to develop for the Tankards & Broadswords RPG, and it's such fertile, but unused, ground I really want to see what someone other than the GURPS folks have done with it.

Mountzionryan said...

@Badelaire
Duty and Honour can be found here:
http://www.omnihedron.co.uk/dutyandhonour/

Badelaire said...

On the website right now, actually...

Matt said...

I have to go with Castles & Crusades. We've been playing it since it came out and everybody at the table is satisfied.

Alex Schroeder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex Schroeder said...

I got back into roleplaying via Greywulf's Microlite20 (m20) in 2006 and even though we ended up playing D&D 3.5 for most of the time, I kept looking back, trying to get back to the simplicity in terms of tactics and chargen of m20. I think this also motivated my interest in old school games like Labyrinth Lord and B/X D&D. It all started with m20 in 2006. Thanks, Robin.

Frost said...

My vote is for Castles & Crusades. I love D&D 3.X (and still play it), but if C&C had come out first, I doubt I would have moved on to D&D 3e.

C&C has all of what is great about D&D 3e, but drops the clutter.

JB said...

Wow, there have been several good ones in the last 5 years. Slickest looking and coolest intention would have to go to Hollow Earth Expedition. Most inspirational goes to Labyrinth Lord for pointing me back to pre-BECMI B/X D&D (which I've been playing exclusively the last month or more). Does anyone know which year Godlike came out...?

Bartoneus said...

JB: Godlike first came out in 2002, it's always been one of the RPGs that sits at the top of my "really want to play it but haven't yet" list!

rainswept said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Olman Feelyus said...

Oh crap, I forgot to mention Mutant Future!

DNAphil said...

In the last five years, I would say Iron Heroes, by Mike Mearls. It was a great expansion of the martial rules to the 3.x ruleset.

It was one of the most successful campaigns I ran during those 5 years, and made for some very memorable moments.

fewilcox said...

GURPS 4e. Partly because GURPS 3e Basic Set is the very first RPG book we purchased and partly because anytime I'm thinking about starting a new campaign I always look to GURPS first.


And I like only needing to learn one fairly simple ruleset to play any game I can imagine.

Joseph said...

Let us hope that Barbarians of Lemuria gets a real website soon. Geocities is going bye-bye.

And the "terrain" of "nonsenseword" thing is sigh-inducing on the map. How's the actual system?

d7 said...

From way in left field I'm going to pull The Window into the spotlight. I know it was published ages ago. I discovered it half an age ago too, but I only finally got to run it properly a few years ago. The first session was dynamite none of us (me as GM, or the players who grew up on 3.x) could believe.

It also taught me the most about scene framing and pacing of any game I've played. I can also credit it as my "gateway" game into storygaming, then gaming theory, then eventually becoming a blogger.

So yes, it's had a pretty big impact on my last five years of gaming. I think that qualifies it.

Fiona Fairhame said...

GURPS 4th edition. It's my favorite system to play, and to run. ^_^

I like that it can be simple, cinematic, or completely realistic depending on how many of the rules you use (or ignore ^_-).

Rogerdeen said...

Gurps 4.0 fantasy. I like playing a game where it is extremely possible for something catastrophic to happen to my character. This ruleset definitely gets my heart thumping when I am gaming.

Anonymous said...

Thousand Suns.

While not perfect, (in terms of presentation), it has done more to make me want to get out and play than aything else in a long time. I love its unabashed toolbox nature.

Anonymous said...

Most fun game I’ve ever played: http://cubgerzz.mybrute.com